UN Forum on Sustainable Development: Germany draws attention to sustainable public procurement

30.07.2018 - Article

Ministerial conference reviews progress on implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Germany's role at the UN Forum
Germany's role at the UN Forum© BMU

This year, Germany placed the focus on sustainable public procurement at the ministerial segment of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The German government emphasised the duty of the state as a role model for sustainable consumption through an event on June 18. Each year, the ministerial segment reviews the progress on implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 global goals (SDGs). The event took place from July 16 to 18, 2018 in New York. The German Government was represented by the German Environment Ministry and the German Development Ministry.

Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Environment Ministry, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, remarked in New York: “If the world continues to consume as many resources as it currently does, we would need two planets. This shows that we urgently need to change course. Public procurement is an important tool. In Germany alone, the public sector buys products and services valued at around 300 billion Euro. If we align these public investments with sustainability criteria in Germany and around the world, we will take a major step forward towards a more social and ecological world. The state is a role model in the area of public procurement and has the ability to develop new markets through its buyer power and to help innovative products to achieve breakthroughs. In Germany, we can do much more and, as the German Government, we can lead the way. We are already well positioned in certain areas such as timber and energy-efficient devices; in other areas, however, there is still room for improvement, for example as regards the demand for recycled materials.”

State Secretary at the German Development Ministry, Martin Jäger, commented: “Global resources will not last if everyone produces and consumes the way rich countries have been doing so far. Therefore, it is crucial that the Sustainable Development Goals apply to all countries. The industrialised countries, in particular, have to live up to their global responsibility to a greater extent. This is the only way to enable sustainable development. Sustainable public procurement has an enormous leveraging effect, resulting in more sustainable consumption and production patterns and promoting environmental and social standards in global supply chains. Sustainable procurement also holds great potential for developing countries. It can contribute to greater transparency and good governance. Last but not least, improved standards contribute to the inclusion of the poorest and most vulnerable population groups.”

Since the reform of public procurement law in 2016, aspects of sustainability can be given greater attention when awarding public contracts. In several selected product groups, the German Government is already setting its own procurement goals, for instance as part of the Sustainability Measures Programme, the Timber Procurement Policy and the General Administrative Regulation for the Procurement of Energy-Efficient Products and Services.

One of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the establishment of socially- and ecologically-compatible public procurement practices. The aim of Germany’s event on July 18 was to encourage increased international exchange of ideas on this topic and to contribute to help make sustainable public procurement an integral part of good governance around the world.

This year’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) also marked the beginning of the preparations for the UN Sustainable Development Summit at the level of heads of state and government in September 2019. The objective of this high-level summit will be to stress the urgency of implementing the SDGs for social justice, prosperity, environmental protection and climate action worldwide.

This year’s HLPF focussed on sustainable management and consumption, water management, energy policy, biodiversity, variety of species and sustainable urban development. Three mayors, Michael Müller of Berlin, Ashok-Alexander Sridharan of Bonn and Peter Kurz of Mannheim, were also part of the German delegation.

Germany already presented its review of the national implementation of the global SDGs in 2016. Germany’s next review is planned for 2021.


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