A Recipe for Transformational Change


The global pandemic has highlighted the role of 'government working online' and digital public services in times of crisis. In particular, public procurement from mundane government function has become a life or death topic, as in many countries shortages of personal protective equipment for public healthcare workers, COVID-19 tests and ventilators in hospitals have hampered the response to the pandemic. Web-based electronic public procurement systems from luxury items have become essentials for governments all over the world.

In May 2020 edition of the EBRD Legal Transition Programme's journal – 'Law in Transition' Caroline Nicholas, UNCITRAL and Eliza Niewiadomska, EBRD discuss how electronic public procurement (eProcurement) can help governments transform the way in which the public sector works. Regulators are rethinking regulatory frameworks for public procurement with new digital technologies in mind. The aim is not only to move public procurement process to the online web-based communication (eProcurement), but to embrace emerging digital technologies, including an interoperable data exchange and automation (digital procurement) to make it simpler for businesses to participate and for the public sector to manage.

The shift towards smart, sustainable and inclusive digital public procurement systems is a complex task requiring holistic reform at all levels of the public sector. Political limitations and inner resistance to change often prevent digital transformation from happening. Fortunately, some outward-thinking governments are open to innovation. New 'planning to payment' public procurement platforms go all-digital with machine-readable data and are becoming increasingly automated. This not only brings significant transactional efficiencies, but it also ensures by default compliance with public procurement rules. Interestingly, all some of this happens in the emerging economies, where EBRD and UNCITRAL focus on fostering digital innovation.

We help to legislate for new technologies

To enable governments harvest the benefits of digital public procurement, the EBRD-UNCITRAL Public Procurement Initiative revisited 'Are you ready for eProcurement?', EBRD, December 2015 and has developed a hypothesis how to facilitate uptake of digital public procurement to benefit quality of public services.

At the level of policy and regulation, the EBRD-UNCITRAL Public Procurement Initiative explored an idea of principle-based,practice-oriented public procurement law. By employing the UNCITRAL Model law, simplicity, clarity, and transparency as well as standardisation important for cross-border trade become the guiding principles of modern and digitally-enabled public procurement regulation.

Digital economy is global and digital public procurement has to follow. This highlights the value of international public procurement policy standards for procurement methods, procurement data and market access. No automation can be done without standardised business process in procurement, from advertising all the way to public contract execution. We translated policy standards of UNCITRAL Model Law into a language of business process modellers - Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMNs). Legal requirements were formulated in detailed descriptions of individual processes, to speed up digitalisation and enables the functional, uniform execution of procurement processes in digital systems.

Last, but not least, prototyping new rules and tools for public procurement led to rediscovery of the value of open data for digitalisation. New global open data standard for public procurement, Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) ensures that data is accessible, searchable, and comparable, thus guaranteeing data accuracy and fostering end-user trust. When incorporated in the electronic public procurement system, it governs the degree of transparency the procurement process is transparent and ensures openness to collaboration with business and civil society and genuine feedback from all stakeholders. This allows for an effective use of public procurement data, and ultimately, data-driven innovation that increases transparency, accountability and enables data-driven public procurement decision-making by governments.


This webinar aims to introduce a new concept for successful digital transformation of public procurement. Developed by the EBRD UNCITRAL Public Procurement Initiative, it has been designed and tested to address:

  • The meaning of public procurement in the digital economy
  • How to apply Open Government principles for citizen-focused digital public services
  • Vendor lock-in, interoperability, and change management challenges faced by governments investing in digital tools


2 PM - 2:10 PM
EBRD 'Law in Transition' Journal
2:10 PM - 2:30 PM
Policy Toolbox for Governments: UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement
2:30 PM - 2:50 PM
Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS): Global Open Data Standard for Public Procurement
2:50 PM - 3:10 PM
A New Solution for Digital Public Procurement
3:10 PM - 3:15 PM
Coffee Break


  • Michel Nussbaumer (Director, Legal Transition Programme of EBRD)

    Michel Nussbaumer

    Director, Legal Transition Programme of EBRD

    Before becoming Director of the Legal Transition Programme, which is the EBRD’s initiative to help its countries of operations upgrade their legal framework for business, Michel worked for almost three years as counsel in the banking operations section. There he was responsible for legal aspects of various investments of the Bank, with a particular focus on SME financing.
    Michel has practiced as a commercial lawyer in Geneva, Moscow and London. While in private practice, Michel acted as Swiss correspondent for various legal publications and has also published a number of articles on Swiss and Russian legal matters. Michel, who is a Swiss national, received his Masters Degree in Law from the University of California at Berkeley and also was a visiting scholar at Moscow State University.

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  • Caroline Nicholas (Head of Technical Assistance at UNCITRAL)

    Caroline Nicholas

    Head of Technical Assistance at UNCITRAL

    Caroline Nicholas is a Senior Legal Officer with the International Trade Law Division of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs (the UNCITRAL Secretariat). She has served as Secretary to its Working Group on Procurement and Infrastructure Development, which drafted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Public Procurement (issued in 2011), an accompanying Guide to Enactment (2012), and other UNCITRAL documents in the field.
    As Secretary to this and other UNCITRAL Working Groups, she provides legal and policy advice and works in partnership with other international bodies engaged in public procurement policy activities. She advises on public procurement reform and its role in supporting international trade and development and the rule of law and provides regular technical assistance to national governments in all regions.

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  • Gavin Hayman (Executive Director of Open Contracting Partnership)

    Gavin Hayman

    Executive Director of Open Contracting Partnership

    Before joining the Open Contracting Partnership, Gavin was Director of Campaigns and then Executive Director of Global Witness. He oversaw the organisation’s groundbreaking and award-winning investigative, campaigning and advocacy work uncovering secret deals, corruption and conflict around the world. He helped create the international Publish What You Pay campaign and helped negotiate the intergovernmental Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative that brings together oil and mining companies, home- and host-governments and civil society to improve disclosure and oversight of over $1 trillion dollars of oil and mining money.

    He is an expert on illicit financial flows, and helped lead global efforts to end the abuse of anonymous shell companies for money laundering and financial crime, including working with the British government’s recent presidency of the G8 and the Open Government Partnership. He has a Doctorate from the University of Reading and has worked with Chatham House in London and the United National Environmental Programme in the past on analysing and investigating global environmental crime.

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  • Eliza Niewiadomska (Senior Counsel, Legal Transition Programme at EBRD)

    Eliza Niewiadomska

    Senior Counsel, Legal Transition Programme at EBRD

    Eliza Niewiadomska, Senior Counsel in the Legal Transition Programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London (EBRD) is responsible for public procurement regulatory advice and technical cooperation with EBRD countries of operations. Key regional technical cooperation programmes led by Eliza include the EBRD UNCITRAL Public Procurement Reform Initiative, established in 2011, the EBRD GPA Technical Cooperation Facility, formed in 2014 and Open Government, first initiated in 2014 to assist post-Maidan revolution Ukraine.
    Lawyer and economist, Eliza worked for Polish government during regulatory reforms preparing Poland’s accession to European Union and upon leaving civil service, as a general counsel in the IT industry. Prior to joining the EBRD in 2009, she Eliza was head of procurement at power & energy company, PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA in Warsaw.

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Law in Transition Journal 2020 (full).pdfdownload
Transformational Change Article (Law in Transition 2020).pdfdownload
Policy Toolbox for Governments_Caroline Nicholas.pdfdownload
Open data & open government to drive procurement reform_Gavin Hayman.pdfdownload
Digital Procurement_Presentation_Eliza Niewiadomska fv.pdfdownload
Recording_Transformational Change.link.ppsxdownload


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