The conference Public Procurement: Global Revolution IV, held on April 19-20 th 2010, was all set to be the biggest and best event yet in the Global Revolution series of conferences, with a full-house of 300 delegates and speakers coming from more than 40 countries and five continents, and including representatives from most of the major international institutions working in public procurement. But a volcano in Iceland had other ideas! With virtually all flights to the United Kingdom halted during the period 15 th -20 th April, it became apparent just two days beforehand that, with the vast majority of speakers and delegates coming from overseas, most would find it impossible to make it to the conference (including Steen Treumer, the co-director of the conference from University of Copenhagen - though we think he could have managed it if he had started cycling on Thursday…..).
Nevertheless, with a hasty re-arrangement of the programme that continued literally up to the last minute and throughout the event itself, the conference was able go ahead, albeit on a much smaller scale than planned. In the end, around 100 speakers and delegates made it to Nottingham, most from the United Kingdom but a good number also from other European countries, along with a scattering from further afield who had arrived prior to 15 th April. The two plenary sessions went ahead broadly as envisaged (although with a number of substitute speakers), along with two streams of workshops, rather than the three originally planned – one stream focused on the EU and one on more general issues. There were many interesting papers and lively debate in all the sessions, and we hope that versions of some of the papers presented will be published shortly in book form or in the Public Procurement Law Review.
The conference organisers are most grateful to all the speakers and delegates who did attend the event for the very stimulating papers and contributions. We would also like to express our special gratitude to those speakers who filled in at the last minute for absent colleagues or did other extra presentations, those who came to listen or to chair sessions but ended up as speakers at short notice, and those who went to great lengths to get here after flights had been cancelled. Rather than the usual conference awards for best paper etc, in recognition of everyone’s special efforts we would like to take up the suggestion (made by Fred Kan) to make some special awards in keeping with the special spirit of this event (no prizes though, and PPRG members not eligible for any awards):
Award for the greatest (successful) efforts to get to Nottingham in time (to our knowledge): shared by Devesh Mistra, World Bank, and Marc Steiner, Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland
Award for the most papers delivered: Andrea Sundstrand, advokat and PhD student at the University of Stockholm (who kindly supplied, at short notice, the Swedish perspective on everything in the various workshops involving perspectives from different EU Member States)
Award for preparing a workshop paper with the shortest period of notice : Fred Kan, Hong Kong, former chairman of the Hong Kong procurement tribunal (for his last-minute offering on the remedies system of Hong Kong)
Special award for delivering a whole workshop by himself: Nicolas Pourbaix, Lovells (who gave his own paper and an extra, impromptu, one to fill the competition law workshop)
Special award for supplying about 10% of our attending delegates: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Special award for being the only speaker who was able to attend because of the volcanic eruption: Gerard Chick, CIPS, UK (who was supposed to be in South Africa!)
We hope that, despite the unavoidable problems, all participants enjoyed the conference and that the next Global Revolution conference will go more according to plan!
Posted on Wednesday 21st April 2010