CEDARE, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, held a roundtable meeting with the government’s officials responsible for procurement and quality on 24 May, 2017. The meeting was intended to discuss the challenges facing sustainable public procurement (SPP) and the mechanisms required to integrate it in Egypt’s governmental procurement system and further pave the way for it as a norm. Being the main buyer, the government is expected to include the green and sustainable products in the rules and regulations of governmental procurement system according to SwitchMed Demo Project implemented in cooperation with the UN Environment under the umbrella of the SwitchMed Programme & the European Commission.
During the meeting, CEDARE experts defined the concepts of public and green procurement, and sustainable consumption and production and explained the objective of the SwitchMed Demo Project in hand. Case studies and success stories in other countries have been also demonstrated. Participants interacted on how to achieve such a transition according to short, medium, and long term plans, considering the readiness of local products and Egyptian market at large to adapt.
Discussions were wrapped up in a number of recommendations:
- Increase local products’ competence as per the international green standards and specifications and encourage local products to meet the demand for green sustainable products
- The Need for a national awareness campaign to introduce the concept of SPP
- The need for further dialogue among community stakeholders, especially governmental institutions to put a policy framework for SPP
- The need to train and provide capacity building for procurement and technical government decision-makers and executives
- Include SPP mainstreaming in the new procurement legislation
- The need to study local market readiness to produce green products
- Unifying the definition and understanding of SPP among government institutions
- Development of informative publications, flyers, toolkits and manuals for SPP
- The need to prioritize products that could be purchased as green without jeopardizing local competition and Egyptian goods.
In turn, Dr. Hossam Allam, Sustainable Growth Programme Manager, CEDARE, emphasized the importance of sticking to resource efficiency as well as the inclusion of sustainable consumption and production policies in the state’s plans and programmes. “CEDARE, the Ministry of Environment, and UN Environment had partnered in preparing and launching Egypt’s National Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production in April 2016, within the framework of SwitchMed regional programme funded by the European Commission”. “Consulting with stakeholders in governmental organizations and institutions puts us on the right way to identify the road map enabling Egypt’s transition to the SPP model, i.e., health, economic, and environmental progress towards resource efficiency, and also to assess the opportunities and challenges”, added Dr. Allam.