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COVID-19 Viral Procurement

Each country in Eastern Europe and Central Asia faced major procurement challenges when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In response, the Open Contracting Partnership and Civil Society Initiative organized a joint community call ‘Viral Procurement’. Over 140 participants from 10 countries joined to find out more about COVID-19 procurement in the region. Speakers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Moldova, and Ukraine shared practical insights, and discussed problems with public procurement in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, too.  They grappled with questions like how to quickly redirect resources to fight the virus, how to calculate local needs for protective and medical equipment, and how to procure supplies efficiently from a chaotic and severely depleted market. Every choice could have helped or hindered efforts to curb the crisis. 

Despite the challenges, successful strategies have emerged for preventing inefficient government spending and ensuring accountability in coronavirus-related procurement in places across the region. Simplified procurement rules have helped deliver supplies to hospitals quickly. Data platforms have been developed to improve decision making by authorities and identify irregularities. In many cases, these initiatives are the product of collaborative partnerships between government, businesses and civil society. Participants believe that these along with other strategies summarized in this blog, from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia and Ukraine, adds value well beyond the crisis.