Capacity development for procurement officers and broader stakeholders is a critical element of procurement reform and becomes a particular concern in the context of accession discussions for membership of international procurement systems such as the WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA). It is an even greater concern when considering the steps taken to attract developing countries into the fold, notably by providing an alternative approach based on a Transparency Agreement, as was outlined in chapter 1 of this volume. As is clear from the mandate given to the Working Group on Transparency at the WTO's 1996 Ministerial Conference in Singapore, its activities are to be considered in two phases: first, a study on transparency with a view, second, to developing an agreement on transparency. The initial focus is on the transparency (quality) level of the national system to determine whether, ultimately, market access conditions will be workable. The transparency of rules and regulations is only one part of the equation, however. Though not directly a focus of formal discussions, there will also be a concern about the implementation of the national system, especially where that is newly developed. A good system on paper does not necessarily translate into a good system in practice. As well as considering written implementing measures (e.g. bidding documents, formal procedures, guidance notes, manuals, etc.), it is also necessary to consider the level and quality of implementation at the level of the procuring entities.
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