The 7th edition of the UNECE International Forum on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) was dominated by potential solutions for Ukraine, crisis management concepts in the context of a tense geopolitical situation, and green investments for the UN's Agenda 2030 goals.
The UN hybrid conference with the participation of PPP experts from around the world was held in Athens in May. The event - in cooperation with the Municipality of Athens and with the support of the Greek government - was organized by UNECE - the UN Economic Commission for Europe. Participants included Infrastructure and PPP Ministers, advisors and representatives of financing institutions. The theme of the forum was adapting to climate change by renovating and adapting existing infrastructure and building new infrastructure, taking into account the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The discussion at the conference addressed challenges and opportunities at the global, national and city levels, focusing mainly on linking green and digital transformations in PPP and infrastructure projects that contribute to the SDGs.
In the era of the climate crisis, the war in Ukraine and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, quality infrastructure that is green, green, circular, resilient, fiscally sustainable as well, where the main beneficiaries are its users, is needed more than ever, the organizers stressed.
Pictured: Kamila Król (PPP Leaders Forum Poland) and David Dodd (ISRC USA, WAPPP). © archive of Forum of PPP Leaders Poland
Pictured: Kamila Król (PPP Leaders Forum Poland) and David Dodd (ISRC USA, WAPPP).
© archive of Forum of PPP Leaders Poland
PPP process in Ukraine to be transparent
The 7th International PPP Forum was attended by Niko Gachechyladze, Director of the Ukrainian PPP Agency, among others. The Ukrainian parliament late last year introduced new legislation on the role of public-private partnerships in post-war infrastructure reconstruction. The plan for this reconstruction envisages 15 sector programs, consisting of 850 projects worth more than $750 billion. The Ukrainian government has established a PPP Agency to already generate the capacity to make efficient and effective decisions on the allocation of funds and the quality of reconstructed infrastructure.
In the case of construction, we started with changes to the PPP legislation. For obvious reasons, this is not the most urgent issue for the government right now, but the process has already been set in motion. The second major initiative is the digitization of processes and simplification of procedures for public-private partnerships," explains Niko Gachechyladze.
The Ukrainian authorities want the entire PPP process to be digital. This is because it will streamline it, speed it up, simplify it by developing project bankability standards and, above all, make it transparent.
We want to exclude corruption through digitization and technological solutions. We are observing the Polish PPP market and the barriers that exist in it. We want to learn from the mistakes of others to prepare legislation and tools in such a way that will allow us to flawlessly and quickly rebuild the best possible quality of Ukraine's new infrastructure," adds the Director of the Ukrainian PPP Agency.
The UNECE Forum in Athens was also attended by Mehita Fanny, Europe PPP Manager at International Finance Corporation.
The event provided an excellent opportunity to share knowledge among PPP specialists, public officials, academics and investors. The level of speakers, topics and case studies were optimally selected and allowed for constructive discussions and the creation of a useful network, Mehita Fanny admits, while emphasizing that the IFC is actively looking for PPP projects to be implemented in Poland.
Pictured: Mehita Fanny (IFC Austria) and David Baxter (ISRC USA).
© PPP Leaders Forum Poland archive
Military and defense solutions relevant to Poland
Kamila Król, organizer of the PPP Leaders Forum in Warsaw, who also attended the UNECE conference in Athens, notes that its thematic scope concerned solutions that may also be applicable to our economy.
One of them was how to implement a disaster-proofing strategy, assuming that the disaster for Poland could be Russian military aggression. A lecture on this topic was presented by a representative from Turkey, Dr. Eyup Vural Aydin, based on that country's experience with the earthquake and the need for a rapid government response, Kamila Król explained.
A sustainable PPP for post-war reconstruction analogous to the reconstruction of large areas after a disaster and, in parallel, the reconstruction of the economic capacity of the destroyed region, if carried out under the PPP model, offers the advantage of using the best solutions, high-quality materials and short implementation time.
Pictured: Kamila Król (PPP Leaders Forum Poland) and Jean-Patrick Marquet (World Economic Forum Switzerland).
© archive of Forum of PPP Leaders Poland
green investments in PPP
As emphasized during this year's conference, the most important assumptions that should guide public investments carried out jointly with a private partner should include the aforementioned Sustainable Development Goals: Increase access to basic services and reduce inequality and social injustice, improve the economic efficiency and fiscal sustainability of projects, strengthen their pro-environmental dimension, promote replicability and development of subsequent projects, and involve all stakeholders.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a fundamental factor in the evaluation of public-private partnership investment projects have become a catalyst for the development of PPPs, and this approach is being promoted by UNECE. The previous concept based on economic value assessment is being replaced by socio-environmental value. The Athens conference raised the topic of the need to involve socio-environmental advisors in public spending planning. Experts from around the world speaking at the event emphasized the role that SDGs play in the process of organizing public space and planning spending. It is worth noting at this point that the SDGs are the only global, universal code that serves as a benchmark for the implementation of public investments and verifies their legitimacy. Unfortunately, in environmental issues, Poland does not use the tools that are already used abroad.
PPP Leaders Forum in Warsaw
The PPP Leaders' Forum conference will be held onJune 14 at the Warsaw Stock Exchange building, which the organizers assure is a space for objective and open dialogue about the benefits and challenges of public-private partnerships.
During the conference, we will discuss the conditions that a project must meet to attract investors, the importance of initial market consultations for the project and its subsequent implementation, as well as good practices for effective partnerships and key contract provisions , they add.
For more information, visit the organizers' website: LINK