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The 2nd High Level Seminar (HLS) on Green Public Procurement (GPP) was held on 22nd April in Taj Tashi Hotel, Thimphu. It was graced by His Excellency Dasho (Dr.) Sonam Kinga, Chairperson of the National Council of Bhutan.
The seminar was attended by parliamentarians from both the upper and lower houses, Thrompons (Mayor) of Phuentsholing and Gelephu, officials from Government ministries and corporate leaders. The huge participation indicated the growing interests and understanding of GPP and the vital connect between the GPP and the national development philosophies.
The half day seminar acknowledged value-for-money across the lifecycle of an asset was the principal foundation of GPP. It was identified to be an important element in the pursuit of sustainable development in Bhutan. Participants were particularly interested in the social and economic benefits of GPP which was reflected in the group discussions. GPP as a tool for economic self-reliance, job creation and local enterprise development were recurring themes discussed by all groups. Further procurement of local building/construction materials, agricultural and renewable natural resources based products, resource recovery from waste were identified as low hanging fruits with which Bhutan could start implementing GPP. Some challenges identified were: higher costs, lack of standards for (and understanding of) GPP and lack of incentives to go green.
Participants agreed that coherent government policies assisted by collaborative implementation mechanisms among all ministries and agencies would be important to move forward with a GPP strategy that could address many of the economic bottlenecks that Bhutan currently has. It was also noted that shared understanding and ownership of GPP concept at all levels would be important for successful and sustainable implementation of GPP.