On November 25, 2021 another live training workshop “Transforming Sustainability into New Business Opportunities. Enhance Kyrgyz small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) capacity to access sustainable public procurement and broaden their markets” was held under the project “Enhancing sustainable public procurement (SPP) for the regional transition to inclusive green economy in the Eastern Europe, Caucuses and Central Asia (EECCA)” funded by the United Nations Development Account.
The seminar was initially designed to inform its participants about the importance of SPP for the target countries within the Eastern Europe, Caucuses and Central Asia (EECCA), as well as help master the potential of enterprises capable of supplying products and services that meet sustainability criteria. Such a powerful potential as public procurement encourages product manufacturers to innovate, produce environmentally friendly products and use the energy of renewables. The experience of countries that have implemented green public procurement shows that the introduction of environmental criteria can lead to such positive results as: reducing air pollution, removing the most harmful substances from production, increasing the percentage of waste recycling, reducing the amount of waste in production, increasing the share of renewable energy, etc.
The event’s participants included the representatives of SMEs interested in the issues of SPP, circular economy and resource efficient and cleaner production, as well as, the representatives of the Ministry of Finance, UNEP and national experts.
Ms. Asel Isakova, Head of Public Procurement Methodology Division, Department of Public Procurement, Ministry of Finance of the Kyrgyz Republic, was the first speaker in the welcoming remarks of the event. She spoke about the work done by the Department on public procurement since 2019 under the flagship of UNEP. The Department is implementing a project to introduce the principles of sustainable development into the public procurement process as part of the Kyrgyz Republic’s commitment to promote the priorities of Green Economy. Kyrgyzstan announced it at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development back in 2012. To date, three phases of the project have been implemented. Stage 1 – review of the current status in Kyrgyzstan on the implementation of sustainable procurement; Stage 2 – consideration of the highest priority areas of public procurement (goods and services in terms of their compliance with sustainability principles); Stage 3 – development of technical specifications for the goods selected during the second stage (LED lamps and lights, tree and bush seedlings, personal protective equipment and disinfectants). “I am sure that our first steps made in this direction will help move the development of our country to an environmentally friendly, economically and socially oriented path of development,” summarized Ms. Asel Isakova.
Mr. Farid Yaker, Programme Officer, Economy Division, UNEP, spoke next and noted in his speech that Kyrgyzstan, under the flagship of the Ministry of Finance and the Promotion and Development Centre, is a leader in its region in public procurement. He marked that UNEP very much appreciates Kyrgyzstan’s efforts and aspirations in this direction and hopes that the republic will join other countries that comply with these standards. There are already 33 countries worldwide actively working on the implementation of SPP, using this potential, increasing their GDP, applying the principles of sustainability to their natural resources and the environment. It is very positive that government agencies are establishing fruitful communication and dialogue with producers and vendors of goods, which, in turn, enables the market to adapt to the new realities. “If even a small fraction of that 5-10-15% can be made green, we will have a significant impact on the climate and environmental crisis,” summed up Mr. Farid Yacker.
The next speaker was Mr. Andrii Vorfolomeiev, Director of the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Centre (RECP Centre). He thanked the Kyrgyz Ministry of Finance for its active position on the issue of SPP, noting that the government of the country has done a great job in adapting and promoting SDGs according to the National Development Strategy of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan until 2040. Sustainable procurement is one of the components of sustainable development and an effective tool to achieve it. Consistent work on the part of the Ministry of Finance in the development of this direction and the procurement portal will greatly help the country. And, the achieved effect in recent years is already visible on the portal, where you can trace a constant increase in the volume of public procurement. Mr. Vorfolomeiev also thanked the UN Environment Program for providing comprehensive support to the Kyrgyz government and the businesses (SMEs) that need it most. “On behalf of the RECP Centre in Ukraine, I would like to say that we are happy to apply our experience in promoting sustainable procurement in the region under the project” Enhancing sustainable public procurement (SPP) for the regional transition to inclusive green economy in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA)” funded by the UN Development Account”, said Mr. Vorfolomeiev. Summarizing his speech, he announced the follow-up work with the enterprises of Kyrgyzstan on the project in the form of advisory services delivered by the RECP Centre, a multi-stage online communication to determine the current situation at the enterprise, the proposals for further development, which will subsequently help to obtain a certificate, will ensure the compliance of enterprise products with sustainable development criteria to enter new sustainable markets.
In the core part of the seminar Mr. Johannes Fresner, the international technical expert of the RECP Centre, made a presentation “SPP as a modern approach to efficient production and consumption”, in which he elaborated on the SPP services, products and criteria and, importantly, focused on the prospects of public procurement in the future. A very important component of Mr. Fresner’s speech was information about the circular economy practices and their benefits. The speaker also spoke about the environmental management system, how SPP provides enterprises with an attractive position in the market and demonstrated examples of eco-labelling.
In his presentation, the next speaker Mr. Kubat Kanimetov, Director, Promotion and Development Centre of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, complemented Ms. Asel Isakova’s presentation by mentioning 3 more steps for the implementation of the SDGs, namely the legal and regulatory framework of sustainability principles, trainings for buyers and suppliers, and PR activities. He also presented the UNEP-based formula for product prioritization methodology, announced the bilingual (Russian and Kyrgyz) manual on the development of technical specifications of the SPP goods and services, named the pilot tenders and introduced the draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan based on the outcomes. For the three selected areas of SPP (LED lighting, green seedlings and shrubs, personal protective equipment), social promotional videos are being developed in Kyrgyzstan, which should contribute to the promotion of SPP and sustainable development of the country as a whole.
Mr. Ivan Omelchuk, the RECP Centre’s expert, concluded the main block of the seminar with his presentation “Enhancing SME’s SPP readiness: possibilities, applications, and procedures”. His presentation was one of the key ones among others. He provided the results of a survey of manufacturing companies about their attitudes towards SPM, the factors for selecting sustainable suppliers, the criteria for evaluating a product or a service, familiarized the audience with comprehensive information about the product life cycle and how it can be calculated, etc.
At the end of the event, Mr. Andrii Vorfolomeiev offered another presentation on “Introduction to free expert advisory service to help SMEs improve their SPP readiness”. He informed about the UNEP, which is actively supporting countries in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia in developing their national capacities for sustainable public procurement, about the project “Enhancing sustainable public procurement (SPP) for the regional transition to inclusive green economy in EECCA” funded by the United Nations Development Account. Among other things, he mentioned about the RECP Centre (Ukraine) which will assess the enterprises in Kyrgyzstan. The assessment will analyse various aspects of your company’s sustainability level in relation to its production processes (environmental, social and economic factors) and products (ability to meet sustainable procurement criteria) to measure the preparedness for the criteria of sustainable public procurement.
Overall 30 participants attended the seminar.
*The workshop was carried out within the frame of the Project “Enhancing sustainable public procurement (SPP) for the regional transition to inclusive green economy in the Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA)” funded by the United Nations Development Account.