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Fragile States 21 January 2013

Sustainable Public Procurement in the nexus of peace building, nation building and sustainable development.

The message of sustainable public procurement still has value in fragile contexts. While institutional capacity and processes may be weak and the development of the private sector still in its infancy, both the message and activities of sustainable procurement can contribute greatly to a region’s recovery. It can be used to demonstrate a commitment to industrial development, not only supporting domestic markets through its spending, but also providing leadership that is inclusive of environmental and social stewardship. Not only are environmental and social issues frequent causes of instability and conflict, but they are also pathways to future growth and stability when cared for responsibly, something that an integrated sustainable procurement strategy can support. Additionally, procurement can be a good agent of stability and progress as it cuts across, and is implemented by nearly all, government sectors, taking advantage of an already active and necessary government operation without the need to introduce entirely new apparatus. In terms of public finance management reform and development, sustainable public procurement is especially relevant, as it demands a higher level of transparency, dialogue and accountability.

Recognizing the value of sustainable procurement to assist regions on the pathway to recovery and peacebuilding, IISD began expanding its activities in 2012 to include a focus on sustainable procurement in fragile states.


  • Rebuilding After Disasters: Why sustainable public procurement can be a practical policy
    IISD has developed a preliminary consultation paper that is designed to foster stakeholder discussion on if and how sustainable public procurement can be deployed to promote development and cohesion in a post-disaster situation. Generally government spending goes up following a disaster, in order to rebuild the economy and guarantee the livelihood of a country’s citizens. The World Bank has estimated that, on average, natural disaster-related recovery and rebuilding costs can consume up to 15 per cent of the affected countries' GDP.

  • Sustainable Procurement in Fragile States
    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.

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