The discussion on the improvement of PPP legislation to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals

Published on: 01.04.2021

Today, on the 30th of March, the representatives of the PPP agency, the Ministry of the Economy of Ukraine, and the UNECE have held a discussion on the improvement of PPP legislation to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals.

This event was a part of a Joint Programme “Promoting strategic planning and financing for sustainable development on national and regional levels in Ukraine”, undertaken by a group of United Nations agencies at the request of the Government of Ukraine. The Programme is aimed at the optimization of managerial and budgeting efforts on national and regional levels as well as the engagement of new funding sources and increasing the efficiency in resource allocation. This will facilitate the realisation of the long- and medium-term development goals, according to the SDGs.

On the 30th of September, 2019, the President of Ukraine has issued a Decree on the Sustainable Development Goals of Ukraine for the period up to 2030, declaring his support of the implementation of global SDGs and their adaptation allowing for the peculiarities of the development of Ukraine. The latter was previously detailed in the national report “Sustainable Development Goals: Ukraine

The implementation of the national objectives of SDGs is reflected in the mission and strategic goals of the new National Economic Strategy for the period up to 2030, approved by the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine of March 3, 2021, № 179.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) is one of the facilitators of the Sustainable Development Goals. It can provide means of their realization, through the engagement of private funding in infrastructure development as well as improvement of quality and accessibility of public services.

In 2019, the UNECE has approved the concept of Putting People First in PPPs for Sustainable Development, including Guiding Principles on People-first PPPs for the UN SDGs. In those documents, the UNECE has ratified the use of the new PPP standard, which was dubbed in materials of the UNECE Working Group since 2015, as People-first PPPs. The People-first PPPs standard is crucial to directing PPP projects towards the fulfillment of global goals via infrastructure investment and the creation of “value for people” as opposed to a mere inflow of private funding.

Moreover, while the development and financing of traditional infrastructure projects, such as roads, railroad, waterfronts, and energy sector is important for the achievement of SDGs, it is even more important to specify the influence of the development of these assets via PPP in a broader context of “Sustainable Development Goals: Ukraine”. The outcomes of each project must be defined regarding the SDGs. For this reason, the UNECE People-first PPPs standard is pivotal for the realization of economically feasible PPP projects, combining the potential results of private funding of infrastructure with the expected value for society and the environment.

People-first PPP projects are of particular importance when facing modern predicaments, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 health crisis has caused wide-ranging socio-economic disruption worldwide. This has exposed and aggravated existing social imbalances. Taking a risk management perspective, this crisis has pointed out the critical necessity of investing in prevention, preparedness and response, from the very start.

UNECE is fully engaged to help countries “Build Back Better” in the wake of the pandemic and, looking forward beyond the crisis, to ensure a more resilient, sustainable and inclusive society.

The Chief of the Cooperation and Partnerships section of the UNECE PPP Secretariat, Geoffrey Hamilton, has expressed his distress regarding the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world. He underlined the importance of the Building Back Better strategy for the future of our society. As the pandemic unfolded, countries have struggled to build new hospitals and convert existing buildings into medical facilities to handle the flow of patients. Moreover, when the crisis is subdued those structures will become redundant. This illustrates the importance of capacity building, particularly on regional levels. The welfare of society should be the main priority for the Building Back Better strategy, which is reflected in the UNECE People-first PPPs Evaluation Methodology and Sustainable Development guidelines.

UNECE experts have noted that the basis for the implementation of the People-first PPP strategy in Ukraine has already been established. Thus, during the preparation of conceptual notes and feasibility studies of PPP projects, the compliance of the project’s goal with the strategy, including Sustainable Development Goals of Ukraine for the period up to 2030, is stated.

The Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine, Iryna Novikova, has emphasized the importance of the People-first PPPs guidelines, underlined the main criteria of this strategy, and the significance of the Build Back Better concept for Ukraine:

“Build Back Better is critical for Ukraine and the rest of the world. In this regard, I am convinced that People-first PPPs will play a significant role. I am personally following the capacity-building project, which will entail the use of the UNECE People-first PPPs Evaluation Methodology in Ukraine to fulfill SDGs. This methodology helps identify the projects that will build back better. We need to make sure that this methodology is used. To this end, I would suggest that acronym PIERS – People-first Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System – is used as the international identification mark.”

During the event, leading international PPP consultants have presented their findings regarding the current state and existing gaps in Ukraine’s PPP legislation concerning the SDGs and the People-first approach. Participants have underlined that despite the long-term and systemic nature of the PPP projects, their implementation must take into account the SDGs adapted to the peculiarities of Ukraine. Corresponding PPP predictions and regulations must be revised in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

International PPP consultants also recommendations and practical steps on how to develop People-first PPP projects in Ukraine by promoting stakeholder engagement and environmental sustainability, through the UNECE People-first PPP Evaluation Methodology. The event has culminated in the discussion of the next steps for developing PPP projects in Ukraine, that would conform to the People-first strategy and its parameters.