A dilemma has galvanised the Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) and infrastructure community for some time: How to ensure the bankability of pipelines of sustainable projects in emerging economies. PPP lenders and debt-providers continue to argue that there are not enough bankable projects to invest in. Yet in the UNECE region, there are 30 ready-to-finance climate projects in 12 countries worth USD 20 billion, which is a tangible proof of the existence of a viable pipeline of investable projects in sectors ranging from renewable energy to sustainable transportation.
Assisting its member states to ensure sustainability and bankability of PPP and infrastructure projects is at the core of the UNECE PPP programme in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In her opening remarks at the recent 6th session of the UNECE Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships, UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova called on investors to seize the opportunity to invest in the pipeline of climate projects identified to make a meaningful contribution to the 2030 Agenda in the UNECE region.
At the session, which was attended by more than 200 country delegates, member states discussed how the UNECE PPPs for the SDGs approach can boost SDG investment to accelerate the delivery of such green and sustainable infrastructure projects, and highlighted urgent needs, including:
- To accelerate the delivery of PPPs for the SDGs in the reconstruction phase in post-pandemic, post-disaster and post-war contexts;
- To enhance the delivery, performance and sustainability of PPPs for the SDGs through digital solutions and technologies; and
- To finance the circular economy transition through infrastructure and PPPs for the SDGs.
To address these needs, UNECE member states endorsed several key policy documents to guide government officials in their infrastructure and PPP finance decisions, which would help them develop sustainable and bankable projects, namely:
- Guidelines on Public-Private Partnerships for the Sustainable Development Goals in Waste-to-Energy Projects for Non-Recyclable Waste: Pathways towards a Circular Economy, which showcase how waste-to-energy for non-recyclable waste can contribute to a transition towards a circular economy and be financed through PPP modalities and contribute to the attainment of the SDGs;
- Guidelines on promoting Circular Economy in Public-Private Partnerships for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are comprised of practical, evidence-based guidelines, showcasing a range of examples that explore how circular economy initiatives can be incorporated across the different stages of a PPP; and
- Standard on Public-Private Partnerships/Concession Legal Framework in support of the SDGs.
Furthermore, member states identified 12 new policy documents to be developed by the Working Party in the coming years to further develop the UNECE PPPs for the SDGs approach, five out of which are to be launched in 2023. The priority areas identified by the Working Party are:
- Digital transformation for sustainable development;
- Sustainable economic recovery and reconstruction;
- Sustainable PPP and infrastructure finance; and
- Green PPP procurement.
These priority areas will be further explored at the 7th edition of the UNECE International PPP Forum in Athens, Greece, from 3 to 5 May 2023, which will with the support of the Government of Greece.
For further information, please visit: https://unece.org/ppp