According to the United Nations -Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) address the root causes of poverty and pledge to leave no one behind, including vulnerable groups. They also emphasize the need to tackle climate change urgently and protect the environment through a shift to sustainable consumption and production. The SDGs are intended to be universal, applying to all countries rather than just the developing world. Furthermore they recognize the key role of the private sector in pursuing and financing sustainable development, in partnership with governments and civil society.
On 4th April 2019, the Ministry of Environment of the Government of Rwanda (GoR) and GGGI Rwanda organized a workshop in drafting of the green procurement guidelines. The project aims to integrate the guidelines into existing procurement policies in order to place a greater emphasis and prioritization on issues of sustainability in public procurement practices.
The workshop included multiple stakeholders from government entities including the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the Ministry of Justice (MINIJUST), the Private Sector Federation (PSF), and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MINECOFIN). Representatives from University of Rwanda and the World Bank were also in attendance and provided input into the development of the guidelines. The aim of the workshop was to develop a common understanding of green procurement guidelines, areas for prioritization, and to identify next steps. The workshop introduced examples of the successful green procurement guidelines and best practices of policies from other countries such as Korea and China. The workshop organizers emphasized a need to engage multiple stakeholders to ensure that the guidelines reflect the priorities of the GoR and that they are aligned with existing policies.
SDG 12 ensures sustainable consumption and production patterns, and SDG target 12.7 specifically aims to promote public procurement practices that are sustainable in accordance with national policies and priorities. The Government of Rwanda’s National Strategy for Transformation (NST) prioritizes the use of online platforms, digital literacy, and digital services as well as good governance in line with sustainable development. Sustainable management of natural resources and transitioning towards a green economy are also goals of the NST. The green procurement guidelines will expand on the ability of the GoR to integrate sustainability in its purchases and procurement of goods and services aligned with NST1 and GGCRS.
The Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) currently operates an electronic government procurement portal (e-GP) called umucyo, which means transparency in Kinyarwanda, as part of the World Bank Public Sector Reform Program. The portal has resulted in increased efficiency and transparency of public procurement processes. The Government of Rwanda aims to provide all government services online by 2024 (up from 40% of services in 2017). The green procurement guidelines would enable increased emphasis on sourcing sustainably manufactured and sourced products with an emphasis on locally produced goods.
Several existing initiatives have been incorporated into public procurement at select institutions. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has carried out a cost-benefit analysis of its service-based IT system that aggregates and monitors printing practices and delivers increased efficiency in the use of resources. The transition to a service-based IT procurement system resulted in a 70% reduction in the purchase of office equipment. Currently Rwanda has in place a digital land registry system that is also machine readable, which has improved transparency and efficiency through the digitization of government services. These efforts are part of the Government of Rwanda’s broader aims to streamline government processes aligned with national policies.
Globally, government procurement represents 15-25% of national GDP. In Korea, the establishment of green procurement guidelines resulted in an estimated reduction of CO2 equivalent emissions is 3.1 million tonnes, which can be translated into KRW 54.5 billion (48 million USD) of economic savings. GGGI has supported national and municipal governments in the development of green procurement guidelines in Peru and Indonesia and will aim to leverage national best practices and lessons learned from global examples that can be adapted and customized to the Rwandan context. The Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) will lead the development and implementation of the guidelines with input from a multi-agency task force and technical support from GGGI Rwanda.