• Date: Dec 2015

A High Level Seminar on Green Public Procurement (GPP) was held on 10th December 2015 to present the findings and recommendations on implementing GPP in Bhutan as well as to catalyse discussion among policy and decision makers on how procurement can be used as a strategic tool for green growth, in line with the country’s Gross National Happiness (GNH) philosophy. The seminar resulted in the formation of Parliamentary Forum to champion GPP in the Parliament. Her Excellency Lyonpo Dorji Choden, Minister for Ministry of Works and Human Settlement (MoWHS) graced the seminar as the Chief Guest. Participants in the seminar included the Leader of the Opposition Party, Parliamentarians from both the houses, Judges, Attorney General, Thrompon (Mayor) of Thimphu, and CEOs of the corporate agencies.

There was a general consensus among participants that GPP would be a worthy pursuit for Bhutan and is in fact a manifestation of the GNH principle. However, lack of easy and practical tools to practice GPP, lack of capacity and institution for GPP, lack of ownership, corruption and a general trust deficit were cited as few critical factors that could impede the implementation of GPP in Bhutan.

It was noted that close collaboration between the different stakeholders is a must in order to create a right ecosystem for implementation of GPP. In addition, it was noted that political commitment, capacity building (of both procurers and suppliers) and ownership of the GPP concept at all levels would be important for successful and sustainable implementation of GPP in Bhutan.  The participants also proposed solutions to improving procurement in Bhutan such as implementation of e-procurement, initiation of performance-based budgeting, and formulation of incentives for local and green industries.

All in all, the participants agreed that green public procurement has the potential to create sustainable economy and society in Bhutan. Bhutan also can set an example in SAARC region and beyond. GPP, defined as “procurement where public authorities seek value of money across the life cycle of asset”, places emphasis on consideration of environmental and social factors when making purchasing decisions. In Bhutan, public authorities spend around 21% of the GDP or around 60% of annual government budget on procurement, thus making procurement an important function that can be used to influence what and how we buy so that public money is used in the most efficient, cost-effective and responsible manner. 

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