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In May 2006 the Council of European Municipalities and Regiens launched a European charter for equality of women and men in local life. The charter adresses local and regional governments of Europe to make by signing and implementing it a public committment to the principle of equality of women and men. Article 12 of the charter explicitly highlights the responsibility of municipalities and regions to promote equality of women and men also by carrying out tasks in relation to public procurement:


Article 12: Public procurement and contracts


(1) The Signatory recognizes that, in carrying out its tasks and obligations in relation to public procurement, including contracts for the supply of products, the provision of services, or the execution of works, it has a responsibility to promote equality of women and men.

(2) The Signatory recognizes that this responsibility is of particular significance where it proposes to contract out to another legal entity the provision of an important service to the public, for which the Signatory is by law responsible. In such cases, the Signatory will ensure that the legal entity that wins the contract (whatever its type of ownership) has the same responsibilities to ensure or promote equality of women and men as the Signatory would have had if it had provided the service directly.

(3) The Signatory further undertakes to implement, wherever it considers appropriate, the following steps:

(a) for each significant contract it proposes to enter into, to consider the relevant gender implications and the opportunities for lawfully promoting equality;

(b) to ensure that contractual specifications take into account the gender equality objectives for the contract;

(c) to ensure that the other contractual terms and conditions for the relevant contract take into account and reflect those objectives;

(d) to use the power under European Union public procurement legislation to lay down performance conditions concerning social considerations;

(e) to make its staff or advisers responsible for public procurement tasks and the letting of contracts aware of the gender equality dimension of their work, including via training for this purpose;

(f) to ensure that the terms of a main contract include the requirement that sub-contractors should also comply with the relevant obligations to promote gender equality.