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Ecological public procurement with weak adherence, says Court of Auditors

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Ecological public procurement with weak adherence, says Court of Auditors

The Court of Auditors (TC) says that there is a “weak adherence” to ecological public purchases, both in terms of the number of procedures and contracts, and in terms of the relevance of the criteria used, indicates an audit of ecological public purchases.

According to the audit results, this Thursday released by the TC, the weak adherence to ecological public procurement is linked to the non-recognition of its benefits and difficulties in the application of environmental criteria, especially due to the lack of skills and training of human resources for this purpose. .

“Part of the entities does not have systems for monitoring compliance with contractual clauses of an environmental nature, which compromises the benefits of the application”, says the TC.

The audit assessed the implementation of the National Strategy for Ecological Public Procurement 2020 (ENCPE2020), taking into account that given the large volume of purchases from the State, it is an important instrument related to the goals set for sustainability, for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse gases and waste production, while being taken into account can stimulate the appearance of environmentally friendly companies and products.

In the analysis, the TC considers that ENCPE2020 is aligned with international commitments and recommendations, but that “the objectives were not fully defined”, which were not, as they should have been, “set the goals to be met” by entities not integrated in the National Purchasing System Public, nor the goals in the scope of public works contracts.

We still need to define and adapt to reality, the document says, the environmental criteria for most categories of priority goods and services.

“The definition and adaptation is completed and disseminated only for four of the 21 categories, and it is expected that at the end of 2020 it will not cover more than 12 categories, which conditions a good execution of ENCPE and leaves out important areas of public contraction ”, Says the TC.

But it also says that the follow-up and monitoring of the execution and results of ENCPE2020 are not ensured under the terms provided for, that the entities do not provide the expected annual information and that this information is not even required, and that data are not collected, which are not presented progress reports and that data on the results are not even released.

“The way of measuring financial, economic and environmental impacts has not been defined either”, says the TC, adding that there is a lack of sufficient and reliable information to monitor the execution of ENCPE2020, and that there are delays in the records and inaccuracies in the data.

It is even said in the document, to which Lusa had access, that “the dissemination and training are practically nonexistent”.

The TC recommends the Government to promote the continuity of ENCPE in conjunction with other public sustainability policies and to consider ways of monitoring compliance with environmental conditions for the execution of contracts. And to apply measures that encourage the use of environmental criteria in public procurement.

Among other proposals, the TC suggests the reinforcement of financial and human resources involved in ENCPE2020. (The period of analysis was July 30, 2016, when ENCPE2020 came into force, and July 30, 2019).

The audit report was sent to several ministers and the prime minister, who did not speak. The Minister of the Environment and Climate Action, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, and the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) replied that the audit was of “great opportunity and usefulness”.

The audit offered a “very positive contribution to the revision of ENCPE, within the scope of which the recommendations issued by the TC will be answered”, it is said in the document now released, citing the minister and the APA.

The European Commission estimates that around 250,000 public entities across the Union make purchases of goods, works and services in an amount of approximately two billion euros each year.

The National Energy and Climate Plan (PNEC) calls for low carbon requirements to be incorporated into a wide range of public purchases, from energy goods and services to equipment and buildings, from vehicles to road construction works.

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