Human Rights and Public Procurement – International Learning Lab Hits Its Stride

The International Learning Lab on Public Procurement and Human Rights was launched last year and is co-organised by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), the Harrison Institute at Georgetown Law, the Public Procurement Research Group of Nottingham University, and several other people and organisations, including our friend Andy Davies of the London Universities Purchasing Consortium.

This is a hot topic in public procurement, and only likely to get hotter, we suspect. Stories about conditions in electronics and garment factories for instance have hit the national press. Citizens and taxpayers are rightly horrified to think that ‘their’ money, being spent by contracting authorities via public procurement, may be helping support human rights abuses in those and other areas.

So the Learning Lab aims to be a platform and mechanism for:

–  experience-sharing among procurement actors on approaches to integrating respect for human rights;

–  generating knowledge about public procurement law and policy and human rights;

–  producing and disseminating tools and guidance to build capacity to integrate human rights issues among procurement professionals; and

–  promoting coherence between procurement and human rights in international and regional frameworks and initiatives.