Succesful closing of the XII Annual Conference on Government Procurement in the Americas of the INGP


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The XII Annual Conference of Government Procurement in the Americas was held for the first time in an English-speaking Caribbean country – Jamaica (Montego Bay) – from November 29 to December 1. The conference centered around the theme of “Public Procurement – a Tool for Economic Development,” emphasizing the importance and complexity of the public procurement function in light of the sizable market share it commands (anywhere from 10-20 percent of a country’s GDP).
The Government of Jamaica led the organization of the conference with support from the Organization of American States (OAS), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada, the Strategic Public Sector Transformation Project of the World Bank, European Union, PetroCaribe Development Fund, and the National Works Agency of Jamaica. The event drew over 350 participants, including representatives from all 24 INGP member countries, as well as representatives from new and prospective member countries, experts from international organizations such as IDB, OAS, OECD, UNEP, USTDA, IISD etc., academics and civil society. The conference provided an important platform for the exchange of knowledge, experiences and lessons learned in the ongoing effort to modernize public procurement in the Latin America and Caribbean region and beyond. 
The Opening Ceremony was followed by the signing of a Technical Cooperation Programme “Promoting the Participation of Women in Public Procurement” between the IDB and the INGP Working Group on Promoting Women in Public Procurement. This programme aims to support governments in the region in the development of policies and the adoption of good practices for increasing the participation of women in the public procurement market.

Open Sessions

Hope Blake, Deputy Financial Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Public Service of Jamaica, opened the conference with an overview of Jamaica’s journey in modernizing its public procurement system. Blake highlighted that modernization efforts, largely driven by the Economic Reform and the Public Sector Transformation Programs, have led to Jamaica ranking among the top ten most improved countries worldwide, according to World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2016. Remarks were also made by Fayval Williams, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Public Service of Jamaica; Trinidad Inostroza, President of the INGP and Director of Chilecompra; James Lambert, Secretary of Hemispheric Affairs for the OAS; Douglas Fraser, Head of Procurement at the CDB; and Therese Turner Jones, General Manager of the Caribbean Department at the IDB.  
James Lambert from the OAS highlighted the recognition of the INGP as a Regional Cooperation Mechanism of the Inter-American System through an OAS resolution consolidated at the General Assembly of the OAS held in June 2016, in Dominican Republic. “The aforementioned recognition re-legitimizes the role of OAS as the INGP Technical Secretariat, highlights the INGP as the best regional channel to exchange experiences, and identify priorities for future technical assistance among its countries. And represents a “big push” to scale up INGP activities and broaden its membership besides it 32 active member’s countries”.  
The first two days the event were organized around plenary sessions on topics of high importance and relevance to the modernization efforts of public procurement in the Latin America and Caribbean region, selected by the INGP member countries themselves. Presentations were carried-out on the following topics: lessons learned and challenges in public procurement in the Caribbean, governance of public procurement systems, sustainable public procurement, e-procurement, best practices and the evaluation of public procurement systems, open data and the strategic use of statistics in public procurement, professionalization of public procurement, new tendencies and innovation in public procurement.

Closed Session

During the session, the OAS, as technical secretariat of the INGP, presented the annual activity report of the INGP. Also, the authorities of the Executive Committee will maintain its current structure for 2017: Chile with the Presidency, Puerto Rico (North America), St. Lucia and Belice (Caribbean Countries), El Salvador (Central America), Colombia (Andean region) y Paraguay (Conosur).
During the session Chile was determined to be the host country for the next XIII Annual Conference of the INGP to be held in October 2017.

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