Meeting of SELA analyzes in Quito public procurement systems in Latin America and the Caribbean

July 15 to 17, 2015

The meeting is organized with the support of Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry and National Public Procurement Service (SERCOP) and takes place at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

Caracas, 15 July 2015.- With the aim of analyzing the various public procurement systems used in Latin America and the Caribbean, both at the national level and within the framework of regional integration schemes, and their use as a tool for economic development, the Permanent Secretariat of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA), in compliance with its Work Programme for 2015, organized the Regional Meeting on Public Procurement Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean, being held today and tomorrow in Quito, Ecuador.

The meeting is organized with the support of Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry and National Public Procurement Service (SERCOP) and takes place at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). Invitations to this event have been extended to authorities of Members States of SELA responsible for national public procurement systems, representatives of regional and extra-regional organizations, and international experts in the field.

The main objective of the meeting is to identify the possibilities and procedures for public procurement systems – which in Latin America and the Caribbean represent approximately 15% of the gross domestic product – to be used as tools for economic development, not only within countries but also in the context of regional integration processes.

The base document for the event is a study prepared by the Permanent Secretariat of SELA entitled “Public procurement as a tool for development in Latin America and the Caribbean,” which will be presented by Dr Telasco Pulgar, Coordinator of Relations with Regional and Extra-Regional Organizations. In addition, the two-day event will include presentations, panels and roundtables with authorities from the region and outside it.

First, the study identifies the potential economic and social effects of public procurement systems, highlighting the process of modernization of the respective regulations, as well as their role in the development models of the countries in the region. Secondly, emphasis is made on the characteristics of such systems within the different regional and subregional integration schemes of the countries in the region. Thirdly, the study highlights the role that public procurement systems could play as instruments for structural changes, generation of value added, competitiveness, and technological innovation. And, fourthly, it analyzes the major international public procurement systems, describing their effects and adjustments according to each Latin American and Caribbean country, as well as the rules and procedures at the national level in selected countries.

According to the study, the design and implementation of modern, efficient and transparent, and properly targeted public procurement systems should be part of policies for sustainable development in Latin American and Caribbean countries, in particular of policies for diversification and structural transformation of industry and trade. To that end, a debate is expected to take place among participants to identify successful experiences in the region and the world, concerning negotiation and public procurement, in order to contribute to the strengthening of existing public procurement systems in the region as tools for sustainable economic growth and diversification of the current economic and social development in the region.

In this regard, the different national experiences in the region have shown some regulatory and administrative progress in core principles and international standards governing purchases and public procurement, such as: efficiency and transparency in the use of public resources, non-discrimination, advertising of offers, and inclusion of potentialsuppliers.

In particular, the various reforms in laws and procedures related to public procurement in several Latin American and Caribbean countries – particularly extensive in the last decade – have prompted a series of changes, such as the incorporation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the main supplier of the State, the adoption of environmental standards and the use of new technological tools, such as e-Government, in acquisition of goods and services.