Transferring Experience with Green Public Procurement in Slovakia to Ukraine – results and achievements of the two-years international project

The project “Transferring experience with GPP in Slovakia to Ukraine” comes to an end: the organizers and the project participants have met to share the final results and achievements during the final conference held on September 25.

The representatives of the key stakeholders who made this project so momentous and valuable, were the main figures of the conference. We talk about representatives of the Government Office for European and Euro-atlantic Integration, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, “PROZORRO” SE and the Kyiv Regional State Administration. The results of the project itself were presented by both teams – NGOs GoLOCAL (Ukraine) and Slovak center for communications and development (Slovakia) – who have started the joint implementation of the GPP project about two years ago.

And of course, we send our special gratitude to the Slovak donor – the Slovak Agency for International Development Cooperation (SlovakAID), whos financial support made the project realization possible.

Approximately 60 employees from different state institutions – PP officers directly responsible for procurement – participated in the event.

“The obligations in the field of public procurement are one of the largest blocs of our commitments under the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU and one of the service areas where integration into the internal market of the European Union is envisaged,” said Olga Stefanishyna, Director General of the Government Office for European and Euro-atlantic Integration. She noted, that the compliance of the UA legislation with the EU law is indeed a key matter, but creating a public procurement culture is even more important.

Mrs. Stefanishina also congratulated the GoLOCAL team on the fact that their joint project with the Ministry of Economic Development “Non-Price Criteria for Public Procurement” won the EU Association Lab Semifinals. Thanks to the final, the project team got a chance to work on the implementation of its idea in a semi-annual incubator. “We are glad that your team has become a finalist of the EU Association Lab – a breakthrough ideas incubator. It means that your work, ideas and actions are really efficient and important within the framework of the Association Agreement with the EU, “ she added.

Lilia Lakchtionova, Director of the Department for Public Procurement Regulation of the Ministry of Economic Development, noted that the green procurement has had a significant impact on technology and on energy saving, which is why GPP tool is so important in Europe nowadays.

“Ukraine is also moving in this direction according to the economic roadmap, which envisages the implementation of the GPP Reforming Strategy. This Strategy was adopted in 2016 and should be completely implemented in 8 years. A few words about the results we have today: a new procurement law has been adopted two years ago and we already see what are its shortcomings, what needs to be corrected and what are the positive aspects. We are also guided by the commitments set out in the Association Agreement with the EU. In particular, I’m talking about the harmonization of Ukrainian legislation with European GPP standards. Two relevant laws have been developed, one of which has already been submitted for consideration to the President. The second document is almost completed and, by the way, it provides the introduction of an important GPP concept – the product lifecycle,” Mrs. Lakchtionova said.

She added that the Ministry also pays great attention to education in this area: “Some universities have already launched a special procurement discipline. Thus, approximately in two or three years, we will have experts who know how to apply environmental criteria and will use and promote this concept in their everyday work.”

The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources is another important GPP stakeholder. Natalia Trofimenko, Acting Director of the Department of Strategy and European Integration assures, that the non-price criteria for procurement are one of the main priorities of the Ministry today.

“The topic of sustainable procurement today is extremely actual. The first step was made in 2010 when the Strategy of the National Environmental Policy of Ukraine for the Period until the Year 2020 was adopted. This Strategy foresees the development of a sustainable production and consumption methodology, but probably at that time, public authorities and society were not yet ready for these changes. But now this issue has already become quite crucial. At the same time, in 2017 Ukraine joined the ministerial green economy initiative, which foresees a GPP formation policy. Keeping in mind that fact, as well as Ukraine’s commitments under the Association Agreement with the EU, a new Strategy of the National Environmental Policy until 2030 was developed, where the course on the green economy still remains the key.”, – noted Mrs. Trofimenko.

 

All speakers also agreed that new Ukrainian legislation provides an opportunity and freedom to develop a culture of sustainable procurement. At the same time, civil servants, responsible for procurement are lacking the relevant knowledge and competencies in this specific area, which is still new for them. That is why such a project as “Transferring Experience with GPP in Slovakia to Ukraine”, which has developed an online course for training civil servants on a sustainable procurement approach, is extremely important as a part of the economy reformation processes.

Svetlana Berzina, the expert on the project “Transferring Experience with GPP in Slovakia to Ukraine”, spoke about Ukraine’s positive experience in applying the Green Procurement tools.

“Slovak colleagues have a very interesting experience in applying the environmental criteria for the selection of various goods and services, but Ukraine already has something to demonstrate as well. Today, we have 25 successfully conducted pilot tenders, where special requirements for environmental protection were applied. Sustainable (green) procurements are more than real in Ukraine under two main conditions: the customer’s desire, guided by the Art. 22 of the Law on Public Procurement, to apply environmental criteria for selection, and available competent experts capable of applying such criteria. That is why the project “Transferring Experience with GPP in Slovakia to Ukraine” was launched. As a project expert, I am grateful to its team for cooperation and I hope that, by uniting the efforts of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, ProZorro and the Government Office for European and Euro-atlantic Integration, we will achieve significant results in order to make public procurement in Ukraine more efficient, as well as more environmental and social oriented “, – said Mrs. Berzina.

General Director of State Entreprise “PROZORRO” Vasily Zadvorny noted that the electronic tender platform of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade is probably the most convenient tool for procurement. It is transparent, easy to use and absolutely democratic. This year, the ProZorro team plans to add a “life cycle of the product” criteria to the platform options, which is probably the main criteria for GPP:

“The key to success in our work is the formula “government – business – community “. In my opinion, this is an ideal formula for the efficient implementation of any reforming and economic development, including GPP. After all, the balance of interests of all three groups is the basis for the prosperity of the country. “

Green procurement not only improves the environmental background but also saves local budgets. This opinion was confirmed by Vladislav Lytvyn, deputy director of the Department of Economic Development and Trade of the Kyiv Region State Administration, based on specific figures he presented to the audience:

“In 2018, the Kyiv region concluded contracts totally worth 4.2 billion UAH. The huge part of procurements was held at ProZorro online service. It saved regional budget 206.2 million UAH. And if these contracts were conducted under the “green” criteria – we are convinced that we could save even more money. In my opinion, the most promising areas for the application of GPP mechanism are the construction and reconstruction of social facilities. They must be both ecological and energy-saving. I’d like to share with you some results that we have already achieved in this direction: the first social building in Ukraine that was built according to the “passive house” standard, was recently put into operation in Kyiv region. This is a paramedic station in the village Podenki of the Vyshgorodsky district. Ut is not only equipped with modern medical equipment, but it also has an extremely high level of thermal insulation and ventilation – thus, it’s fully energy-efficient “, – said Mr. Lytvyn.

“But I think that the core task is not only the budget saving but the change of the civil servants’ approach towards tender procedures. Training is an important part of the economy reformation, that is why the online course developed by Ukrainian and Slovak experts (GoLOCAL and SCCD), is extremely topical for us. I believe that it can qualitatively change the approaches of existing managerial decisions.”

Igor Komendo, director of NGO GoLOCAL, who initiated a GPP project, told about the results achieved by the project team in two past years:

“In 2017 our NGO together with Slovak experts started an international educational project to promote green procurement in Ukraine. The main goal of the project wasn’t only to promote the idea of green procurement in Ukraine but to give PP officers practical skills and knowledge. Today I am proud to say that we have succeeded in achieving this result. We created guidelines on the GPP principles and methods implementation under Ukrainian market conditions, translated into Ukrainian the criteria and recommendations of the European Commission regarding the procurement of certain categories of goods. Our experts also developed the online course for civil servants and conducted training on green procurement. At the result – 24 civil servants of Kyiv region, empowered with new knowledge and skills, are ready to put them into practice. I believe this is a small but very important victory on the way to building a sustainable economy of the country.”

SCCD experts, who have become GoLOCAL’s reliable partners in the implementation of the GPP project, presented to the conference participants the experience of implementing the green procurement culture in Slovakia.

“We are well aware of the difficult situation at which you are at present time – because Slovakia was in the same transitional period a couple of years ago. But at the moment, we have a well-established GPP culture, many positive cases and tangible results for the environment. Such cases as the replacement of vehicles for diesel fuel by electric transport, thermo-modernization of social buildings or the replacement of traditional street lighting for energy saving in Slovak cities have significantly influenced the preservation of the environment and helped to save big amounts of money on local budgets, “said Yuri Revitsky, the Slovak GPP expert.

He noted that at the beginning of reformation the lack of awareness of civil servants was also a problem in Slovakia, but after a number of training programs, the situation has significantly changed for the better.

The second part of the conference was practical. Participants of the conference were invited to take part in imaginary public procurement cases. Civil servants were divided into two groups, each of which had to make a nominal purchase of a specific category of goods. One group was buying detergents, another one was ordering design for the construction of social facilities. The work within groups was facilitated by experts of the Center for Environmental Certification and Labeling. All the participants have perfectly coped with the task.

The GoLOCAL team wants to express its sincere gratitude to all those involved in the project “Transferring Experience with GPP in Slovakia to Ukraine”: stakeholders, partners, donor, online course students, media and citizens who have expressed interest in the green procurement concept. We thank you for your support! Although the project is at the finish line, our work on promoting a sustainable procurement approach is not over. We are moving further. The next step is to develop and improve with our partners the project “Non-price criteria for GPP” within the framework of the EU Association Lab incubator. We will keep you updated!

 

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