Addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate disruption, pollution and nature loss, requires an innovative approach to financing as a way to rapidly and systemically address these interlinked issues. Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) offers a financing mechanisms for infrastructure projects to enhance sustainability in the built environment.
However, traditional PPPs for infrastructure development present challenges and pose limitations to implement the 2030 Agenda and mobilise private funds into infrastructure development aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To address this issue, UNECE developed a new approach to PPPs for the SDGs that not only brings value for money but also value for people and value for the planet.
While ‘traditional’ PPPs focus almost exclusively on economic effectiveness, the new approach aims to meet the following five outcomes:
Increase access to essential services and reduce social inequality and injustice;
Improve economic effectiveness and fiscal sustainability;
Enhance resilience and environmental sustainability;
Promote replicability and the development of further projects;
Fully involve all stakeholders.
To assist member States to meet these outcomes, the recently adopted UNECE PPP Evaluation Methodology for the SDGs provides a set of criteria and indicators to evaluate infrastructure projects against the SDGs.
The UNECE Evaluation Methodology was officially launched on 27 September 2022 and presented to public officials in UNECE’s 17 programme countries. The launch event followed more than two years of collective work and field testing with more than 100 pilot projects, and the official adoption of this tool by the UNECE Working Party on PPPs in December 2021, and the Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and PPPs in May 2022.
Mr. George Katapodis, Chair of the Working Party, welcomed the methodology and highlighted its value-added in “giving member States and practitioners additional information on where projects stand with regards to the three sustainability pillars: economic, environmental and social.”
This launch event provided the over 60 participants with the opportunity to exchange knowledge and acquire practical experience in applying the methodology in their day-to-day work to better align their PPP projects with the SDGs throughout the stages of the PPP process.
The Director of the PPP Unit of Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Sanzhar Bolotov, announced that they will have several PPP projects evaluated using this tool. Mr. Niko Gachechiladze, Director of the Ukrainian PPP Unit, spoke about the importance of PPPs that are fit for the SDGs in the reconstruction efforts in his country. He conveyed the intent of the Ukrainian Government to use the methodology in Ukraine and implement it for projects as part of the reconstruction plan.
PPP practitioners from Turkey, Serbia and Slovenia also presented their experiences using the methodology for their projects and highlighted its numerous benefits and practicality. As debt providers and investors increasingly choose to invest in projects with the highest ESG credentials, participants stressed that the methodology can further help attract investment in PPP projects for the SDGs.
In addition to member States and PPP practitioners, representatives from other Regional Economic Commissions, specifically ECLAC and ECA spoke about their plans to implement the methodology in their respective regions. The three Regional Commissions are joining hands so that UNECE tools are available and implemented globally. More specifically, a joint capacity building project is under preparation to implement the Evaluation Methodology in member States in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mr. Jean-Patrick Marquet, from the World Economic Forum further highlighted the benefits of Governments voluntarily using an evaluation tool like the methodology to demonstrate to the financial market that from the SDGs perspective, their projects score high in terms of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles.
The video recording of the event can be found here.
The UNECE Regional Forum on Climate Initiatives to Finance Climate Action and the SDGs on 17 October 2022 will feature a high-level panel on PPPs and climate finance instruments (hybrid event).
The 6th Working Party on PPPs will take place on 1 and 2 December 2022 (hybrid event).
More information on the UNECE PPP work can be found at http://www.unece.org/ceci/ppp.html