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China discusses UNECE Guidelines on PPP

A high level group of Chinese experts in PPP have met for the first time to comment on UNECE’s Draft Guiding Principles in PPP. These Guidelines, which had been especially translated into Chinese for the occasion, are themselves a contribution to the UN SDGs and are based on the premise that to be effective, PPP must aspire to the UN’s ‘People Planet and Prosperity’ agenda as well as address some of the weaknesses in the traditional PPP model. Accordingly, the Guidelines are devoted to promoting ‘People First PPPs’.

China is well placed to comment on these PPP Guidelines. In recent years, PPP models have been applied widely - both inside and outside of China. The country has thus acquired real project experience, while also having to deal with a shortage of qualified professional staff, inefficient procedures, and barriers that have prevented the private sector’s involvement in PPPs.

The consultations session was full, open and frank and experts highlighted several important issues:

  • How to promote effective implementation of PPPs in low income countries where investment risks are high?

Commenting Mr. Lei Zhiqiang, deputy mayor of Zhenjiang City proposed that the UN develop three mechanisms: i) credit ratings for national governments; ii) low-interest loans and subsidies for PPP projects in low-income countries and iii) international insurance for PPP risks.

  • How to translate people first principles into the ways of better communicating with people about the projects themselves?

Several representatives stressed the importance of transparency in the promotion of UNECE’s guiding principles in China and urged UNECE to develop tools for building standardized processes for public consultation and the publication of information on projects.

  • How to ensure that environmental protection is sufficiently promoted to make sure that PPP fosters real sustainability? 

One expert suggested taking into account the employment impact, environment-friendly technologies and cleaner energy as criteria in the process of project selection.

  • How to include Chinese experiences into the Guiding principles?  

The Chief of Tsinghua PPP centre (TUPPP), Mr. Wang Tianyi, emphasized that the draft guiding principles should include more Chinese PPP concepts and case studies. The TUPPP, he said, will collect some outstanding examples of PPP best practices in China in order to enrich the global case studies.

The involvement of China in the review and revision of the draft UNECE guiding principles is of great importance in ensuring the usefulness and global nature of UNECE’s standards making. Chinese experts moreover are also participating in several project teams set up to elaborate international PPP standards for the SDGs. Furthermore, the size of attendance is testimony to the importance which China attaches to PPP. Up to 800 people participated while over 400,000 participated in live streaming of the event.

The consultative session was part of the first China PPP Forum in Qingdao an activity scheduled as part of the MoU between UNECE and NDRC of the Chinese Governments and Chinese Universities. The Forum was itself supported by the National Development and Reform Commission in China (NDRC) and the Tsinghua University Specialist Centre of PPP (TUPPP) and was held on 21-22 June 2016. In the opening speech of Qingdao Forum Mr. Yong Zhang, Vice Minister of the NDRC said, “to realize people-first urbanization, we need to speed up the promotion of urban infrastructure and public services, and to provide more and better public products and services. This gap in public service presents a huge opportunity for PPP models.”

For more information, please contact Ms. Jiangrong Yu at: jiangrong.yu@unece.org