Commitments to action
Food Procurement Officer Network
Betina Bergmann Madsen, UN Food System Summit
The Danish Ministry of Food and Environment established a network of food procurement officers from all cities and towns, regions and state in Denmark when adapting the European Green Public Procurement Guidelines to the Danish context.
At the beginning very few officers tried to incorporate sustainable criteria and the SDGs in their tendering process, due to lack of knowledge. The procurement officers often work alone. They are rarely exposed to the food systems global debates and are therefore not oriented on the changes that can and need to be implemented through their procurement work.
Now, just 3 years after the network was established, the knowledge-exchanges that our national government has fostered through the network has led to great improvements.
In a collaboration between the Danish Government and the Municipality of Copenhagen on a European Joint Action Program – from DG SANTE- called Best Remap, one of the tasks is to establish a European procurement officers’ network, encouraging all EU countries to create their own national network. Due to language barriers, it is not possible to establish one large international network, but we need to share procurement knowledge cross borders.
Led by an EU food procurement ambassador each chair of these national networks will meet regularly, so that the different countries can learn from each other. This is an example of working together and sharing important knowledge both horisontical and vertically. Local and national governments can work well together, and this is just two of the Danish examples on how it can be done.
Final note – to implement global actions like those of the SDGs more quickly, it would be useful to connect these national networks at the UN level through the procurement ambassadors.
The ambassadors would be able to inform as well as adapt and test inputs from global debates before bringing them to the national networks, where procurement officers from around the world can be helped to understand why it is important to know that a potato is just not a potato, and how we all can help creating a more sustainable and climate friendly food system.
Public food procurement
UN procurement ambassador