The representatives of the PPP Agency have participated online in the 6th UNECE International PPP Forum

Published on: 10.05.2022
Category: PPP News

The representatives of the PPP Agency have participated online in the 6th UNECE International Public-Private Partnership Forum. The event was taking place from the 4th to the 6th of May in Barcelona (Spain). It was organized by UNECE and IESE Business School Barcelona of the University of Navarra, with the support of the Barcelona City Council.

The Forum has featured PPP experts and practitioners from a wide range of sectors and industries, whose contribution has highlighted the role of People-first PPPs in implementing sustainable infrastructure projects to achieve value for people and value for the planet.

The Forum has showcased a number of case studies from around the world that aspire to comply with the SDGs and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles. The UNECE People-first PPP Evaluation Methodology for the SDGs, available to governments and other stakeholders as a self-assessment tool, was used for each of these projects to assess their compliance with the five outcomes of the UNECE People-first PPPs for the SDGs, namely:

  1. Increase access to essential services and lessen social inequality and injustice; 
  2. Improve economic effectiveness (including women’s empowerment) and fiscal sustainability of projects; 
  3. Enhance resilience in projects and more care for the environment;
  4. Promote replicability and the development of further projects; and 
  5. Fully involve all stakeholders in the projects.

On the 4th of May, after the participants were greeted, a high-level policy debate, titled “People-first PPPs for the SDGs as a catalyst to implement the 2030 Agenda” took place. The attendees have discussed climate change, digital transformation, the circular economy, sustainable finance and green PPP procurement as the common challenges to sustainable infrastructure at both the national and city levels. 

After this, the first batch of case studies was presented, being a part of the UNECE campaign for the 500 case studies of People-first PPPs for the SDGs. Representatives of PPP units and other stakeholders presented projects across all sectors – transport, renewable energy, health, education, municipal and urban services. These projects have all been self-evaluated using the UNECE People-first PPP Evaluation Methodology for the SDGs.

For instance, Sanzhar Bolotov, the representative from the Kyrgyz Republic has told the participants about the solar energy generation project with the estimated cost of USD 200 mln, which was initiated last year and is expected to be signed at the end of this year. Hajar Bennar and Nouri Chahid, from Morocco, have presented the renewable energy project that involves the production of solar energy, green hydrogen, green ammonium as well as water desalination. João Dinis, the representative of Portugal has discussed the creation of a Resilience Fund, with the help of which they have successfully enlisted stakeholders on a local level in the Cascais region in the creation of projects that promote ecological resilience. Redha Zetchi from Spain has presented the Electric Vehicle Charging Network project, while Lamia Kthiri and Manel Haouem from Tunisia have told the participants about the creation of an Urban Tram network. 

Shortly thereafter, a roundtable discussion, titled “Contract clauses for resilient Concession/People-first PPPs for the SDGs” was conducted. People-first PPPs for the SDGs must be designed for the benefit of the people, and it is, therefore, vital to design contracts to meet the public interest in a changing economic and social environment. 

It should be noted that one of the instruments allowing governments to better structure concession agreements is the List of recommended clauses in concession contracts in people-first Public-Private Partnerships in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which was developed by the Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships of the UNECE Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships in November 2018.

The participants discussed how to avoid frustrating contract renegotiation or termination when unexpected events outside of the control of the parties, such as COVID-19 or war, occur.

For instance, Maude Vallée, Head of Operations of the African Legal Support Facility, has emphasised the importance of balancing legal certainty with flexibility when structuring PPP contracts. 

Jean-Christophe Barth-Coullaré, the Executive Director of WAPPP has noted that the visualisation of contracts (for example, the use of charts and graphs) facilitates their more profound understanding. 

Another mechanism of dispute mitigation is a Standing Committee on Dispute Resolution.

In the afternoon, the second batch of case studies was presented as a part of the UNECE campaign for the 500 case studies of People-first PPPs for the SDGs. The projects included Juvenile Detention Centers in Brazil, a tunnel in India, Metro Rail in Mexico, Sustainable Food Production in Puerto Rico (U.S.) and the Urban eMobility project in the city of Kranj (Slovenia).

At the end of the day, four parallel sessions took place: “Green and sustainable PPP procurement”, “The UNECE Evaluation Methodology and its ESG principles: a tool to attract private capital in PPPs”, “The Blue Economy: sustainable infrastructure projects from the Arctic region”, “Green PPPs in the Americas”.

On the 5th of May, three discussions were held. The first one was titled “How can People-first PPPs for the SDGs support the Circular Economy Agenda?”. The participants discussed which approaches to creating a circular economy are implemented across the four stages of the PPP process – design, finance, construction, and operation and maintenance.

The second discussion was on “PPPs and the climate challenge”. As the impact of climate change has not manifested itself as severely as that of for example the COVID-19 pandemic, not all governments are acting as decisively on the climate front as one might expect. The attendees have communicated about the possibility of building a robust system towards decarbonization and resiliency, namely in energy and transportation infrastructure.

During the third discussion, “Sustainable PPP frameworks in cities”, the participants analysed how municipalities work to integrate resilience thinking and environmental concerns into their day-to-day operations.

On the 6th of May, in the late morning, two discussions were conducted, namely “Regional economic development through PPPs: maximising the use of public property in infrastructure projects” and “PPPs beyond infrastructure: the governance of emerging ecosystems”

During the first discussion, the panellists told their colleagues how their countries are using the PPP model, through which public authorities exploit unused or underused public land and real estate assets to attain their infrastructure objectives in partnership with the private sector.

A lot of attention has been given to the practice of preparation and realisation of complex regional/local development infrastructure projects that engage private funding of individual infrastructure facilities within the framework of a single comprehensive master plan for the development of the territory.

The second discussion was focused on new emerging city ecosystems. Nowadays, cities are confronting big changes in the fundamental ecosystems in the urban space. Mobility is morphing into Mobility as a Service (MaaS) where users plan, book and pay for multiple mobility services. Energy is morphing into a distributed smart system and the healthcare industry is incorporating data-driven systems. The need arises to build a sound governance structure that incorporates data sharing rules, service coordination among different operators, and a plan for the whole system so it contributes to the 2030 Agenda.

After a break, 4 parallel sessions took place, titled “Applying the People-first PPPs for the SDGs approach in Waste-to-Energy Projects for Non-Recyclable Waste for the Circular Economy”, “Improving the legal and regulatory framework for People-first PPPs for the SDGs: paving the way for green, sustainable, resilient and circular projects”, “Fiscal sustainability in People-first PPP projects for the SDGs” and “Roundtable discussion on selected PPP case studies”.  

In the afternoon, a concluding policy debate and the discussion of the next steps, titled “PPPs and the digital transformation for sustainable development” was conducted. The attendees have analyzed the many challenges that countries around the world continue to face in their PPP project delivery processes, especially during the project identification and preparation phases. Digital solutions can bring about digital transformation in the delivery of PPPs, contributing to its speed and integrity, providing enhanced insight into project components, and increasing the likelihood that a PPP will deliver both the critical public infrastructure and services as well as the desired social and economic impact. 

After this, as a part of the forum, three side events were conducted, namely “PPPs for cities”, “Digitalization and resilience for People-first PPPs for the SDGs”, “Strengthening coordination of urban development PPPs with the SDGs”.

The forum ended with a special capacity building event, titled “Roundtable discussion for Government officials from Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus: Dialogue with investors/lenders”. The director of the PPP Agency, Niko Gachechyladze was invited to and attended the event. Other countries represented during the event were Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Participation in the event has enabled the director of the PPP Agency to share with prospective investors and other stakeholders information about the potential for rebuilding Ukraine’s infrastructure, destroyed as a result of the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. He has also illuminated some other strategic issues of using the PPP mechanism.

“It is vital to determine our current priorities and devise the first steps to rebuild Ukraine. The PPP mechanism can be an effective tool for infrastructure restoration”, noted Niko Gachechyladze.