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Driving change through public procurement, New Toolkit from the Danish Institute for Human Rights

Driving change through public procurement

28 February 2020

In recent years, public procurement has increasingly been recognised as a means for states to fulfil their human rights obligations and as a means of realising sustainable development. Including requirements within public procurement that suppliers respect human rights can help prevent human rights abuses including modern slavery, child labour, human trafficking, and excessive working hours from occurring within state value chains and promote the rights of persons with disabilities, women and children, and economically disadvantaged minorities, for example.

This toolkit is designed to be a practical tool with a range good practice examples. It is structured as follows:

The introduction addresses why we are talking about human rights in the context of public procurement.

Chapter B is primarily designed for public procurement planners and policy makers and

  • Explains the legal basis for states to include requirements within public procurement that actual and potential suppliers respect human rights;
  • Explains how to frame human rights as a policy objective;
  • Identifies what system-wide planning is necessary to include requirements that actual and potential suppliers respect human rights.

Chapter C is primarily designed for public procurers and contract managers undertaking procurement exercises and:

  • Explains how requirements that suppliers respect human rights can be included at each stage of the procurement process and provide examples of how this has been done in practice;
  • Highlights the advantages and limitations of including requirements that suppliers respect human rights at the different stages of the procurement process.

Chapters B and C can be read independently of each other. Therefore, if you are interested in practical ways to incorporate human rights in to procurement exercises, you could move straight from the Introduction to Chapter C.

GRAPHIC: The relationship between human rights and public procurement.

The graphic shows the relationship between human rights and public procurement. It shows the state duty to protect human rights (pillar 1 of the UNGPs) flowing to rights-holders and business, and the business responsibility to protect human rights (pillar 2) flowing to rights-holders. It highlights the value chain moving from sub-suppliers to suppliers, to the state, and to the end user. It shows different types of rights holders, including workers, communities and potentially impacted people in addition to end-users. It finally shows the focus on human rights due diligence flowing down from the state to suppliers, and from suppliers to sub-suppliers with a focus of the human rights due diligence being on the rights-holders


Craig Zelizer

Craig Zelizer

Dr. Craig Zelizer is the Founder of PCDN.global, which connects a global community of changemakers to the tools, community and opportunities to build careers of impact and scale change. He has strong experience in the development sector, academia and social entrepreneurship. From 2005 to 2016 he served as a professor in the Conflict Resolution program at Georgetown University (where he still teaches). He has led trainings, workshops and consultancies in over 20 countries organizations including with USIP, USAID, CRS, Rotary International and others. Craig is a recognized leader in the social sector field. He has received several awards including George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s alumni of the year award and an alumni career achievement award from Central European University. Dr. Zelizer spent two years in Hungary as Fulbright Scholar and was a Boren Fellow in Bosnia. He has published widely on peacebuilding, entrepreneurship, and innovation in higher education.
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