Transparent and Resilient PPPs

I am a strong proponent of PPPs under certain conditions which include the allocation of risk appropriately to all parties, and competitive and transparent procurements. I also believe that they should be People First PPPs, where the users have a meaningful voice in the adoption of PPP projects.

I believe in projects that are planned with transparency, sustainability and resilience as goals, where resilience implies financial, commercial and environmental resilience.

Water PPPs are Increasingly Controversial
Water PPPs (or privatization where the private sector plays a significant role) can be very controversial as access to water is considered a basic human right and is a primary concern of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Taking these fundamental rights into consideration, it is important that water PPPs, be they brownfield or greenfield projects include consultation with all stakeholders including the users who will pay for the PPP (either through water tariffs, or taxes). Water PPPs negotiations and agreements should never take place in secrecy and should address stakeholder’s interests. In addition, contractual agreements between the public and private sectors should be accessible to the general public for review and comment, albeit with certain constraints when it comes to intellectual property and competitive innovations.

Water PPPs should also be politically neutral as possible, as concessions can be up to 30 years in duration and outlive politicians who were sponsors of the projects, yet saddle communities with commitments that they have to live with for the duration of the agreement.

Gender is on Agenda: Gender mainstreaming for PfPPPs.

The achievement of gender equality and empowerment of women is at the center of the SDG Agenda: SDG.5 is specifically dedicated to gender equality. Think about it- a separate Sustainable Goal was established to underline the importance of this issue. Gender equality is also part of the concept of people-first PPPs, coined by the UNECE to bring value for people and value for climate to the PPP value chain

When we think about women representation, this is not only roughly 50 percent of population. Let's not forget about kids and elderly people, women are taking care of. The number of people affected and a value behind is much higher.

What is the problem?

Infrastructure projects typically did not take a systematic approach to gender issues, including public–private partnerships that were also often criticized for not ensuring gender equality.
Let’s take an example of healthcare infrastructure, where a gender analysis is extremely important, as women require in average more medical services than men, the pattern of sicknesses and medical needs for men and women significantly differentiate; access to healthcare is for women is sometimes more difficult, as women are mainly disadvantaged due to low income and ability to travel.
Gender equality is not only about ensuring social balance and helping socially vulnerable groups. It is also about the quality of the asset to be created and if this asset is not designed properly, it will be not used at the long-term and sustainable way.

All craftsmen have their favourite set of tools from which to practise their trade. In my case as a PPP proponent, my essential tool is the Airport Master Plan (AMP).

I originally wrote an article on the role of the AMP in PPP development for New Airport Insider (www.newairportinsider.com) in May 2016. It described an airport through its complex dynamics of turning around aircraft and processing their associated payloads. Through the logic of the AMP, I commented on operational scale and functional interdependencies at airports, and the need for the disparate elements to converge towards achieving a compelling business case to solicit private investment.

The article has continued to attract interest including positive responses from members of WAPPP. Arising from this, I am happy to extend the article to readers of The PPP Times.

Although the article is airport specific and may differ in scale and complexion to other areas of infrastructure development, I nevertheless hope readers at WAPPP may find useful parallels that may be relevant in various other ways where a PPP approach is being contemplated or initiated.

The Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH) has just released a practical guide for governments preparing for infrastructure projects based on a study that explored practices in 15 countries.  Useful case reference studies on the following countries are included in the report:  Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Information was gathered through literature reviews and interviews with public sector officials in the abovementioned countries.The report points out that project preparation is a challenging task for governments that wish to launch viable and feasible infrastructure projects.With this challenge in mind, the Global Infrastructure Hub (GIH) prepared this new reference tool that will be a useful aid for policy-makers and practitioners in their quest to improve project preparation practices and their capacity for preparing quality infrastructure projects.Regarding the tool, the GIH states the following - The tool seeks to help address challenges faced by governments in early-stage project preparation through providing guidance in five focus areas. The five areas include -

  • The need for enabling environments
  • Financing project preparation
  • Infrastructure planning and project prioritization
  • Project feasibility, reviews and approvals
  • Project communication