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Workshop on People First Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)

23 September 2016

Bangkok, Thailand

The UNECE is pleased to invite you to an event about people-first PPPs to be held back-to-back with the 28th UN/CEFACT Forum (26-30 September 2016) at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. The Workshop will be held from 10.00 am to 12.30pm and from 2,30pm to 5pm on Friday, 23 September 2016 to share experiences on PPPs and how these forms of partnerships are relevant to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Background
The UN SDGs have given a high priority to partnerships as a vehicle to achieve the SDGs. Of the various partnerships mentioned - public, public-private, and civil society partnerships - more attention is given to public-private partnerships (PPPs). The latter in contrast to the other forms of partnerships, offers the prospect of enhanced resource additionality. Accordingly, many UN bodies have started to take an interest in PPPs, while the Addis Ababa Action Agenda has called for the elaboration of guidelines for PPPs.

PPP has rarely been used in the way it is contemplated by the SDGs. It has not been associated with major social and economic transformation or poverty alleviation. Rather, the objectives for using PPPs have been rather modest - used for value-for-money reasons as an alternative to traditional public procurement, while many projects have been confined more or less to developed countries. Moreover, where they have been applied in developing countries the track record has been at times disappointing and bad projects have attracted strong criticism. So giving a prominent place to PPP in the UN SDGs needs now some urgent consideration and more actions in order to make PPP a smart investment, viable, feasible, ‘fit for purpose’ and most importantly, focusing on people as the main beneficiaries.

People first
PPPs People-first Public-Private Partnerships set out a clear statement that out of all the stakeholders, ‘people’ should be the priority and main beneficiary. Their focus should be on improving the quality of life of communities, particularly those that are fighting poverty and by creating local and sustainable jobs. Projects should fight hunger and promote wellbeing, promote gender equality, increase access to water, energy, transport, and education for all, and promote social cohesion, justice and disavow all forms of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, creed and culture. People-first PPPs should increase very quickly in scale and spread. They should be treated as ‘People first’ only once they have met a number of the criteria broadly defined as: “accessibility”, “equity”, “efficiency”, “effectiveness”, “sustainability” and “replicability”.

Since the UNECE held its first International PPP Forum on People First PPPs for the UN SDGs in March 2016, its Compendium of people first PPP case studies for the SDGs was the largest mobilisation of People first PPPs ever attempted. It now is going further and has asked governments, private sector and civil society to achieve 500 ‘People first’ PPPs by the end of 2016. This is designed to:

  • Raise awareness about the model and be the basis for guidelines and standards that have heretofore not been used for benchmarking PPPs;
  • Provide templates and standards that can be replicated especially in low income countries;
  • Assist the financial community to fund these projects;
  • Monitor progress in implementing ‘People first PPPs’, identifying sectors where more work needs to be done; and
  • Assist projects aspiring to become ‘People first’ and finding ways to complete these successfully.

If People first PPPs is the way forward, doing a single or a small number of projects is not going to have significant impact. The financing shortfall for public infrastructure and public services has been calculated at between 1 to 4 trillion US dollars on an annual basis, and no other form of partnership other than PPP can make up such a magnitude. So there is therefore a need for hundreds, even thousands of ‘People first’ PPPs. How then to scale up to achieve such mobilisation of the funding required? The answer is to develop international standards for ‘People first’ PPPs, and this is precisely what the UNECE is mandated to do by its member States. These standards are model templates – short, concise documents based on actual cases – good and bad - identifying the best types of model, the financing arrangements, the legal issues and contract clauses related to the sector, as well as the feasibility of applying such projects in middle and low income countries. These standards and best practice models should cover inter alia, energy, water and sanitation, health, education, trade facilitation and so on.

About this Workshop
One of the key objectives of the Workshop is to present and discuss a number of cases studies from a number of countries (Armenia, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Tajikistan, Thailand etc.) that illustrate people-first PPPs. The case studies presented will be included in the revised draft of the UNECE Guiding Principles on Good Governance in People First PPPs for the UN SDGs, which will be the topic of a roundtable discussion. Input from participants on the draft Guiding Principles will be presented at the next session of the UNECE Team of Specialists on PPPs at its session in Geneva on 20-21 October 2016. 

As part of the workshop, UNECE will also present its upcoming Recommendation on PPPs in Trade Facilitation. While a large body of guidance on PPPs in infrastructure (hospitals, toll roads, energy, etc.) exists, to date, little substantive work has been produced on PPPs in the domain of Trade Facilitation. This Recommendation draws upon the practical experience of practitioners in order to provide advice on PPPs in Trade Facilitation. Not only can traditional PPPs in infrastructure, like ports and improvements to rail and road networks, facilitate trade, but so can PPPs in specific infrastructure and supportive systems such as a Single Window system, a National Trade Facilitation Body, infrastructure support for port communities, trade and transit corridors, and coordinated border management.

Programme
The programme is ready to download.

Participation and registration
To attend the Workshop, registration is compulsory. You are kindly invited to register online by 15 September 2016 at the latest.