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Green Public Procurement (GPP), one core Low Emission Action

Blog post contributed by Mr Yeshey Penjor.

The National Environment Commission Secretariat (NECS) invited the Green Public Procurement Project in Bhutan (GPPB) to attend a brainstorming seminar on the development of a Low Emission Development Strategy (LEDS) with the relevant government, private and Civil Society Organization (CSO) agencies. More than 50 participants were present at the opening session graced by the Minister for Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA), Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuk. The first half of the day consisted of presentations on various related issues: the background information of LEDS, legal and policy context for climate change (CC), draft report findings of ongoing Energy Audit in industries, Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) for CC report, perspectives of industries on CC, Clean Technology & Environment Management (CTEM) and Clean Production practices in the industries, and the MoEA’s national priorities and policy context for sustainable & green economic development. The afternoon session started of with a group work to discuss the different perspectives of three groups; te government, CSOs and the private sector. Afterwards, findings were presented and deliberated in the last plenary session of the day, facilitated by Mr. Thinley Namgyel, Director, Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC). ^

Developing the LEDS for the Industry and Transport sectors is one of the objectives of the Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Project with NECS supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with the European Commission (the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)), and the Australian Government (AusAID and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency). The UNDP urged the national governments through the LECB progamme to mainstream climate change in the developmental policies and plans to prepare for the risk of adverse impacts of climate change. Bhutan is one of the 25 countries who managed to avail a project from the worldwide programme.

Currently, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is preparing to seal a new Climate Deal at its 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) towards the end of November 2015 in Paris, France. President Obama’s recent “Clean Power Plan, setting achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030” with a slogan “Climate Change is not a problem for another generation” has prompted even more to all other UNFCCC Party governments, CSOs, City Authorities, Industrialists, Environmentalists and especially the Energy Sector promoters to develop commitment and way forward strategies for submission to the UNFCCC.

This LEDS is not necessary to be submitted to the UNFCCC, but, issues and points taken in for it will contribute meaningfully in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of Bhutan to be submitted soon to the UNFCCC. Additionally, the United Nations General Assembly will adopt a new post-2015 development agenda, including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of which some focus specifically on climate change adaptation, mitigation and a shift towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns. Countries like Bhutan can benefit from this momentum and jump on the bandwagon to put in place strategies and reforms that work towards sustainable development.

The GPPB made an intervention in the discussion session of the LEDS seminar and requested the stakeholder participants to understand that GPP is a core action in combating climate change risks. It is therefore crucial to carefully consider GPP in the LEDS formulation. The point has been well taken by all the participants including by the session facilitator, the GNHC Director. The final decision of the seminar/workshop has been that the stakeholders send their interventions and points to NECS within 21 August 2015 and NECS to come up with a draft LEDS by 27 August 2015. The draft document will contain comments from the stakeholders for a period of one week. Finally, another half a day consultation and validation workshop will be held in the 2nd week of September 2015 to finalize the LEDS. GPPB will continue striving to ensure that procurement is reflected in the LEDS.