Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
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Public Procurement is a highly regulated process ruled by a complex legal framework. It comprises not only national but also, increasingly, sub- and supranational regulations, giving rise to a multi-level regulatory governance of public procurement. The integration of sustainability aspects into public procurement, as called for in goal 12.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030, needs to take this multi-level character into account. This reports focuses on social considerations, which are a central part of sustainable procurement – whether with a domestic focus or along international value chains. Social considerations have been somewhat neglected in Europe, whereas they feature prominently in procurement regulations in many countries of the Global South, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The advanced process of regional integration in the European Union (EU) and the progress made towards integration in some regional economic communities in Sub-Saharan Africa call for deeper analyses of the influence of the higher levels of the regulatory framework on the lower levels. The question is whether public entities, from the national down to the local level, are required or at least have the option to integrate socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) into their procurement processes and tenders, or at least have the option to do so.
This report is conducted as part of the project “Municipalities Promoting and Shaping Sustainable Value Creation (MUPASS) - Public Procurement for Fair and Sustainable Production”, implemented by DIE in cooperation with Service Agency Municipalities in One World (SKEW) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and compares public procurement in Germany and Kenya. In both countries, the multi-level regulatory frameworks allow for SRPP regulations and practices ar the national and sub-national levels of government. There is, however, an implementation gap for SRPP in Germany and Kenya that appears to be independent from the specifics of the respective regulatory framework. To tackle this, supportive measures, such as capacity building, are key. Furthermore, Regional economic communities, such as the EU and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), can play a role in promoting SRPP, even without introducing mandatory provisions. At the other end of the multi-level regulatory spectrum, municipalities in the EU had and have an important role in SRPP implementation, that might be replicable by sub-national public entities in Kenya and other contexts.