Procurement for governmental purposes constitutes a significant share of public expenditure, approximately 10-15 per cent of the GDP of an economy. As such, governments are expected to conduct procurement following high standards that ensure open competition, transparency and the integrity of the process. Government procurement can also serve as an instrument for internal policy reform with a view to improving good governance in the procurement system.
The Legal Transition Programme (LTP) of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) focuses on the development of legal rules and the establishment of legal institutions that create a transparent and predictable investment climate in the economies the Bank operates. A key focus of the LTP activities is helping governments improve the way they manage public contracting, making procurement systems more transparent, efficient and competitive so that taxpayers get better value for money. An important step in achieving these goals is accession to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement (WTO GPA). The fundamental aim of the GPA is to mutually open government procurement markets among its Parties, while ensuring open, fair and transparent conditions of competition.
Since 2011, EBRD’s LTP has been actively supporting countries pursuing accession to the GPA by working in cooperation with the WTO Secretariat. The re-negotiation and subsequent adoption of the revised text of the GPA in 2012 motivated a gradual broadening of its membership as a number of countries considered accession to the Agreement as a step in their internal reform process.
As such, the growing interest in GPA accession in the EBRD’s countries of operation demanded a more structured and ongoing cooperation between the EBRD and the WTO Secretariat. As a result, the EBRD GPA Technical Cooperation Facility (EBRD GPA TC Facility) was launched in May 2014.
The EBRD GPA TC Facility provides significant support to countries seeking accession to the agreement by providing (1) capacity building activities, (2) country-specific technical cooperation projects and (3) accession negotiation assistance to countries wishing to accede to the Agreement. Moreover, the Facility supports governments in overcoming any institutional, legal and/or trade challenges related to GPA accession they may face.
Besides providing ongoing capacity building and technical assistance in matters related to the GPA, the Facility contributes as well with the coordination, planning and delivery of key outreach activities, focused on the needs of interested Parties, ensuring effective institutional and professional relationships as well as facilitating liaison and coordination with other relevant international and regional organizations, NGOs and academia in the area of public procurement.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is an international financial institution that promotes transition to a well-functioning market economy. The Bank, active in 38 economies across three continents – from the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, to Central and Eastern Europe, to Central Asia – helps countries develop commercial laws and institutions that create a sound investment climate and promote sustainable economic growth.
The World Trade Organization is an intergovernmental organization whose primary purpose is to open trade, ensuring that it flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. It acts as a forum for its Member governments to negotiate trade agreements while operating a system of trade rules. At its core are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations. These agreements provide the legal ground rules for international commerce.
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