United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with Health Care Without Harm (HCWH), officially launched its new program Sustainable Health in Procurement Project (SHiPP) with an inception workshop that took place on 17th-19th April, in Istanbul, Turkey. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), SHiPP aims to reduce the harm to people and the environment caused by the manufacture, use and disposal of medical products and by the implementation of health programs.

SHiPP is a four-year project aiming to promote sustainable procurement in the health sector, in the United Nations Agencies, and in key project countries through the reduction of toxicity of chemicals and materials in health products, the reduction of greenhouse gases in the supply chain and the conservation of resources. The program began its implementation in January 2018.

The project aims to work in a group of lower and middle-income countries to develop and pilot a set of sustainable health procurement practices and policies that synergize with the Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector (SPHS) initiative of greening the global health sector through UN Agencies and other international organizations, multilateral agencies and bilateral donors. Project countries include Guatemala, Moldova, Ukraine, Tanzania, Vietnam, and Zambia. Work in these countries, together with regional components in Latin America and South-East Asia will be designed to replicate success in neighboring countries in a future phase of the project.

The project will also work in fast-growing economies, China, Brazil, India and South Africa, whose health sectors present a significant opportunity to impact the global supply chain. They can also provide South-South technical assistance to other countries in their regions thus promoting sustainability of the project.

Why Sustainable Procurement in Healthcare

Sustainable procurement can drive positive health impacts for patients, communities and the environment. Public procurement has been identified as a key entry point for promoting more sustainable production and consumption patterns. The role of procurement in influencing the environmental impact of health sector operations is well acknowledged, and sustainable procurement practices have the capacity to reduce a significant proportion of the health sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. For example, supply chain-related emissions account for at least 65 percent of the carbon footprint of England’s National Health Service and 82 percent of the carbon footprint of UNDP-administered Global Fund for HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis projects in Tajikistan.

By adopting sustainable procurement policies, strategies and practices, health systems, governments and international development actors can, therefore, be drivers for a significant shift towards inclusive, green economies by requiring products and services that are compliant with environmental and social standards throughout their lifecycle.

Orientation and planning inception workshop for project countries

Officially opened by Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye Assistant Secretary-General UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme, the SHiPP inception workshop marked the official launch of the project and was delivered to the Ministries of Health, procurement officers, UN Agencies and Health Care Without Harm staff from 16 countries. Participants learned about the UNDP and HCWH Sustainable Procurement approach and discussed what opportunities and entry points exist to increase synergies with SHiPP. Participants also gained knowledge on an evaluation of health procurement policies, tender documents and processes, as well as effective engagement with suppliers and manufacturers of health commodities.

During the event, Mandeep Dhaliwal, UNDP Director HIV, Health and Development Group, highlighted that the inseparable link between human health and environmental change is something we can no longer ignore. She invited the participants to contribute to the attainment of SDGs and ultimately build a resilient and sustainable global health sector.

Josh Karliner, International Director of Program and Strategy for Health Care Without Harm presented on the importance of sustainable health procurement, while Susan Wilburn, Director of Global Projects for Health Care Without Harm presented SHiPP, its next steps and how it is being implemented.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Rosemary Kumwenda at rosemary.kumwenda@undp.org and Susan Wilburn at swilburn@hcwh.org

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For more information on sustainable procurement in the healthcare sector, please visit the Procurement section of the HCWH website, and the UNDP online engagement platform on sustainable health procurement www.savinglivesustainably.org