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Czechia

Supply chains and conflict minerals [page 20-21]

“One solution lies in certification schemes proving the origin of raw materials. The certification authority guarantees that workers’ rights have not been infringed during mining or production. These certificates are issued by state and international organisations on the one hand, and private issuers on the other. Current legislation allows the public sector to take into account or to demand this certification in the course of procurement, in which case it is only necessary to comply with the conditions of transparency, equal treatment and non-discrimination. …

Tasks: …

  • In the public sector’s procurement of high-risk products and raw materials, consider giving preference to suppliers participating in recognised certification schemes.
    Coordinators: All ministries
    Deadline: Running”

Public procurement [page 22-24]

“Implements Principle 6

In OECD states alone, public procurement accounts for 12% of GDP. Worldwide, public contracts are estimated to be worth more than EUR 1,000 billion. [footnote – http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/accessing-markets/public-procurement/] On some markets, contracting authorities are so prominent that they can influence standards and practices throughout a sector by flexing their market strength. This is why numerous states have legislated the requirement of certain human rights standards among their suppliers. Other countries enable these standards to be incorporated into contracts. In addition, certain international standards, such as ISO 26000, contain criteria recommended for human rights risk assessments. EU law [Recital 75 of Directive 2014/24/EU and Recital 85 of Directive 2014/25/EU] initially expressly refers to “labelling”, making it possible to incorporate labels and certificates attesting to the environmental, social and human rights properties of products or suppliers into procurement evaluations.

Aspects of human rights protection can be encouraged in public procurement after weighing up the nature of a public contract and the deliverable; specific human rights requirements must reflect these aspects accordingly. In practice, human rights protection requirements can be factored into the conditions for participation in award procedure or into rules for the evaluation of bids and must be verifiable, for example, in the form of a label. [Section 94 of Act No 134/2016 on public procurement] It is always advisable to reflect these requirements in the contract between the contracting authority and the supplier. The protection of and respect for human rights should also be taken into account in public procurement. In their public procurement, contracting authorities should know how to reflect and evaluate environmental and social requirements and the protection of human rights correctly in relation both to the supplier and, as far as practicable, the supplier’s subcontractors. In this respect, guidance should be drawn up for award procedure in accordance with human rights. This guidance should encompass specific practical examples, including model contractual provisions and/or a model tender dossier. The guidance should be accompanied by an overview of international platforms and initiatives sharing experience and information on socially responsible public contracts. This guidance should be preceded by consultations and should be produced in collaboration with business associations.

Current state of play:

  • The recitals of the Public Procurement Directive [Directive 2014/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on public procurement] expressly provide that, when selecting the most appropriate participant in award procedure, it is not always necessary to limit the assessment to the price. Requirements concerning environmental protection and the support of sustainable development can be set, and social aspects can be incorporated. This forms a framework for the interpretation of Czech law.
  • ECJ case-law makes it possible (subject to compliance with the conditions of transparency, non-discrimination and equality) to demand, in public procurement, various certificates and labels attesting to the environmental, social, human rights and other similar impacts of the goods. [Judgment of the EU Court of Justice of 10 May 2012 in European Commission v Kingdom of the Netherlands (C-368/10)]
  • Under the Public Procurement Act, requirements relating to the environment and social consequences of a public contract may be applied to participants in the award procedure. [Section 37(1)(d) of Act No 134/2016 on public procurement]
  • A number of local government authorities are involved in voluntary initiatives for socially responsible public contracts, such as Fairtrade Town.
  • Guidance on a responsible approach to public procurement and purchasing is being drawn up.

Tasks:

  • Incorporate human rights issues into the guidance that is being drawn up.
    Coordinator: Ministry of Regional Development
    Co-coordinators: Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Human Rights
    Deadline: 31 December 2017
  • Incorporate information on the social and human rights context of public contracts – and on basic opportunities to take these issues into account – into training courses for contracting authorities.
    Coordinator: Ministry of Regional Development
    Deadline: 31 December 2018”
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