From the 14th to the 16th of June, an annual congress of the World Association of PPP Units & Professionals (WAPPP) was held. The goal of the congress was to explore opportunities that cooperation between the public and private sectors can bring in closing the infrastructure gap and refueling the economies via the implementation of next level PPP projects.
On the 14th of June, on Monday, two sessions of congress took place. During the first one, titled “PPP & ESG – Are Governments or Investors the Drivers?”, the participants have discussed the importance of environmental, social and governance standards and why investors increasingly consider these non-financial factors during the analysis process to identify significant PPP project risks and growth opportunities. Thus, when funds of international financial organizations are used to implement a PPP project (which allows to raise funds for a project at lower interest rates), provisions of the PPP contract will cover the commitment of partners to comply with relevant organizational and ESG standards. Therefore, governments should place more focus on marketing their infrastructure projects to ESG investors.
During the second session “How to Strengthen Gender Equality for both Projects Users and PPP Professionals” the issues of gender-inclusive infrastructure were discussed as well as how next-generation PPP projects can promote gender equality at all stages of the project life cycle.
On the same day, a number of roundtables took place, including three sectoral, titled “Healthcare: Next generation healthcare PPPs”, “Seaports: Renewal of Seaport Concessions”, “Water: Closing the Implementation Gap of Water Security”.
A regional roundtable, titled “Europe”, was dedicated to establishing how PPPs can help the European Union achieve outcomes expressed in the European Green Deal. As was mentioned during the event, the Value for Money concept, while a good approach to protecting the economic equilibrium, is not sufficient nowadays. We need to create value for the future and people, which requires a more holistic approach.
On the 15th of June, 4 regional roundtables, 3 sectoral roundtables and 3 sessions were conducted. Regional roundtables covered the following topics: “Asia Pacific: How Asia can position PPP for a post Covid sustainable recovery”, “South Asia: The Destination for Private Participation in Infrastructure”, “CIS” and “The Future of PPPs in North America”. During the discussion on PPP in South Asia, it was stated that according to the World Bank report, in 2020, the region received US$10.2 billion across 30 projects, an 18 percent decrease in investment from 2019 levels and approximately the same as the five-year average. However, the region continues to remain attractive for investors interested in the infrastructure sector. The peculiarities of PPP projects in the US were detailed by Morteza Farajian. In his presentation, he has described the efforts of the federal (national) entity, Build America Bureau, to improve the implementation of PPPs by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).
During the sectoral roundtable “Railways PPPs, an Optimum Solution to Mobility?”, the peculiarities of involving the private sector in the development of railway transport networks were discussed.
The sectoral roundtable dedicated to PPPs in the airport sector has seen a presentation by Patrick Lucas, Vice-President Economics at ACI, on ACI World’s Global Outlook for the Airport Industry, its current state and trends. He elaborated on the PPPs and private investments in airports, presenting a future Airport Business model and explaining how governments can create fertile ground for private sector investment.
The roundtable “Sustainability & Resilience” has covered the case study of implementing ESGs in PPPs in Slovenia. In Slovenia, the Energy Performance Contracting (EPC) approach is one of the key PPP models to implement ESG. At first, EPC was used in street lighting, later in public buildings energy retrofit projects and, in 2020, to implement e-mobility.
During the third session, titled “How do Investors Regard Next Level PPP?” participants discussed the attitude of investors to ESG criteria, People-first PPPs and Sustainable Development Goals. Different perspectives were examined to improve the understanding of whether investors consider the above-mentioned standards to be in line with their own commitments or, as ones that add too much complexity to PPP projects. The fourth session, “Are we making Progress on Future-Proofing PPPs?” was in a discussion panel format. The participants have discussed what threats (natural or man-made) exist that require us to future-proof projects as well as how to include stakeholders in discussions of these threats and what innovations can be useful in this regard. The fifth session, titled “What Role for NGOs and Civil Society in Next Level PPP” has seen a discussion on civil society’s role and participation in sustainable development.
On the 16th of June, a session, titled “Public-Private Partnerships Framework in Ukraine” took place. The Director of the PPP Agency, Niko Gachechyladze, has presented information about the experience of Ukraine in developing the PPP framework, including the latest adoption of the new Law on Concession, successful conclusion of the first concession agreements and creation of the PPP Agency, as an institution that supports the public sector in preparation and implementation of effective and attractive to investors PPP projects.
Particular attention is now paid to aligning projects with the UNECE model “People first PPPs for the UN SDGs”. Niko Gachechyladze has noted that “The legal regulation of PPP in Ukraine today corresponds to the best world practices”.
These significant steps and systematic support of the government allowed a number of new projects to be initiated, including the projects in road, port, airport and healthcare sectors.