Policy Analysis

Sustainable Procurement in Fragile States

By Samuel Colverson, Oshani Perera on August 16, 2012

IISD has undertaken a preliminary assessment of the value of sustainable procurement in fragile states.

It finds that governments as well as development partners spend large sums on relief and reconstruction, peacebuilding and nation building. As is the case with public procurement, such purchasing power can be used to create markets for green industrial development. A stable, long-term demand shows a serious commitment to domestic industrial development and can thus contribute to sustainable development as well as stability. Through SPP, risk management can be made an enabling and capacity-building process. It can also serve as a precursor to more broad-based reforms on public finance, which is often needed in fragile states.

Challenges related to getting started on SPP in fragile states mostly relate to the political economy and institutional capacity of the public sector. The introduction of SPP could, for example, threaten the vested interests of certain sectors within the domestic economy. The integration of SPP in national reconstruction plans could be a first initiative to ensure spending priorities. Another potential challenge is that the long-term goal of embedding social and environmental safeguards into procurement policies may run counter to the highly urgent short-term needs of many fragile states. Also, the interaction of domestic systems with donor-funded and managed procurement can either pose serious challenges or serve as a catalyst to introduce SPP.

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