2. The State duty to protect human rights

2.5 Public procurement [page 25]:

“The sixth principle deals with public procurement:

  1. States should promote respect for human rights by business enterprises with which they conduct commercial transactions.

Since the UN Guiding Principles and the OECD Guidelines do not distinguish between public-sector and private-sector business conduct, it is important that the state should have high standards. It is not logical to have high expectations of private companies if the state does not set the same expectations for itself. The state is also Norway’s largest purchaser, a fact that was emphasized by companies and organisations in their input to the action plan. For example, in 2013 the public sector purchased goods and services worth NOK 432 billion. The state’s procurement practices should therefore reflect the UN Guiding Principles.

The Government has held a public consultation on a proposed amendment to section 6 of the Procurement Act to include a provision stating that contracting authorities should have adequate procedures for ensuring social responsibility in connection with public procurement. The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (DIFI) provides guidance on such matters.


  • continue the efforts to develop measures to promote respect for international human rights in public contracts.