The Lao Government has made major progress in finalising the roadmap and action plan for green public procurement (GPP), increasing institutional capacities and raising awareness among key stakeholders. A regional project funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) supports the country in moving ahead by learning from the Thai experience in implementing GPP.
What is GPP?
GPP refers to the purchase by governments of goods, services and works with due regard to reduced environmental impact. According to a recent publication on GPP[i]: “Total governmental spending has a very high share of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Governments in countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Bhutan spend between 20 and 40 % of GDP. Thus, public procurement has a substantial economic and market power that creates a significant demand and shapes production. This market power and transformational potential make a strong case for embedding public procurement policies in high-level policy documents.”
The road to the Roadmap
The 8th Five-Year National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2016-2020) (8th NSEDP) put an emphasis on establishing concrete environmental protection and sustainable natural resources management and laying the foundation for clean, resource-efficient, and resilient growth. To support this transition, the Lao Government has recognised the role and potential that GPP can play. This is where the work begins.
To enable procurers to make such purchases, a review of the national regulatory framework and development of a national roadmap, strategies and action plan for the implementation of GPP which remove barriers is necessary. Consequently, Lao PDR has expressed its need for technical assistance and to learn from international experience. Through the Proliferation of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Asia – the Next 5 Countries (SCP Outreach) project, representatives from the government of Thailand, namely the Pollution Control Department (PCD), which is the focal point in developing and implementing GPP, shared its implementation experience with the Lao officials.
A series of meetings and planning workshops have taken place over the past two years. Some of the recent highlights included a workshop on “Finalisation of the GPP Roadmap and Action Plan for Lao PDR” and “The Development of a Communication Strategy for Promoting Green Product/Services” from 31 May – 2 June 2022 at Amari Vang Viang Hotel. The workshop was attended by participants from various key ministries, such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce. For the next step, the project will support Lao partners to draft the communication strategy to support the promotion of green products and services.