Call for Proposals: Consultancy on Open and Sustainable Procurement

October 8, 2020


Public procurement plays a central role in sustainable development.  The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened attention for its critical function in ensuring availability of critical supplies and services to communities. Contract transparency and public oversight is essential to preventing the loss of billions in public funds through corruption and mismanagement.  Smart and strategic public procurement can act as  a lever to boost opportunities for local business, increase inclusion in service delivery and to achieve sustainability.

Two related movements are advancing reform in this area: Sustainable Procurement is increasingly recognized in policy and practice, e.g. by UNEP, the EU and within SDG-related strategies of local governments. Open Contracting is a priority area within Transparency, Accountability and Participation (TAP), open government and anti-corruption reform processes. There are already isolated collaborations between open contracting  and sustainable procurement advocates, and there is an increasingly strong recognition of the need to link TAP reforms with specific policy objectives. 

Yet, overall, the potential for mutual reinforcement of open and sustainable procurement is still underexplored. Potential tensions (e.g. between competitiveness and sustainability goals) must be seriously considered and answered. Both sustainable procurement and open contracting advocates and practitioners need greater political and technical support to transform culture and practice. 

This pilot will deliver a synthesis of the ‘state of play’ of the open & sustainable procurement fields, highlight existing examples of collaboration  and bring together stakeholders from both fields to discuss & evaluate challenges and opportunities for deepened collaboration, e.g. pilot interventions, further research and advocacy.


  1. A discussion paper on Open & Sustainable Procurement as a key priority to advance the SDGs, and for a transformative recovery after Covid-19
  2. A stakeholder meeting, bringing together open contracting & sustainable procurement practitioners


Hivos is looking for an international consultant to lead the production of the Discussion Paper (no more than 10 pages). It will synthesize existing evidence, supplemented by a set of 10-15 key informant interviews, including on:

  • State of the sustainable procurement & open contracting fields 
  • Key ways in which open and sustainable procurement can reinforce each other
  • Existing examples of collaboration/links of open & sustainable procurement
  • Key tensions that need to be resolved
  • Challenges and opportunities according to open & sustainable procurement practitioners
  • Roles for civil society, local & national governments, business

Organization of the stakeholder meeting will be led by Hivos and potential international partners, with the contribution of the consultant. There is an opportunity to collaborate on this effort with key open and sustainable procurement advocates.

Resourcing and Timeline

Estimated time requirement for this work is 20 consultancy days, at a day-rate to be agreed upon between the consultant(s) and Hivos. The assignment needs to be completed before 15 December 2020

Expressions of Interest: 

We invite interested individuals and organizations (non-profit organizations, social enterprises, or similar) to send us a brief Expression of Interest by 23 October of no more than 5 pages, including: a brief outline of their proposed approach, relevant experience/track record, and estimated work effort and day rate.

Contact: Conrad Zellmann,