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UNECE publishes legal framework for Public-Private Partnerships in support of the SDGs

Publication PPP

Countries that wish to harness the potential of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to advance the development, provision and operation of sustainable infrastructure and public services will find help in ensuring this is done in ways that support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) thanks to the Standard PPP/Concession Legal Framework published today by UNECE. 

This approach to PPPs has been advocated by UNECE since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It promotes a new generation of PPPs that are “fit for purpose” for the SDGs and that not only create “value for money” but also “value for people” and “value for the planet” in infrastructure and public services. 

UNECE Executive Secretary, Tatiana Molcean stressed the importance to incorporate “more inclusive legal frameworks with a view to demonstrating the developmental impact and potential of PPPs”. 

Setting up the right PPP legal framework is indeed essential for ensuring that PPP projects are implemented in a transparent, accountable, efficient and sustainable manner, in line with public interest.  Mr. George Katapodis, Chairperson of the UNECE Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships, stressed that the Standard “introduces for the first time in a PPP legal text the UNECE PPPs for the SDGs approach and the SDGs, enabling countries to ensure that their PPP projects contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. 

The publication consists of two parts: the Standard PPP/Concession Legal Framework in support of the SDGs, which establishes the legal framework for PPPs in support of the SDGs and the contracts that give effect to them; and an Accompanying Guide, which provides a supporting commentary of the Standard written in non-legal language. Together they constitute a complete PPP legal guide that Member States could easily transpose or adapt into their national legislation. 

Achieving economic, social and environmental outcomes through effective PPPs for the SDGs 

The document offers a ready-to-use instrument for all Member States comprising rules and procedures that cover the selection, preparation, appraisal, procurement and implementation of PPPs for the SDGs, as well as the contractual principles and institutional arrangements that apply to them. In short, it can assist countries in the delivery of PPPs while safeguarding the needs of communities, preserving the environment, and providing effective rules of engagement for the private sector to contribute meaningfully to sustainable infrastructure development and the SDGs. 

By following the provisions of this Standard, PPPs can be expected to achieve the five desirable outcomes that are essential for the PPPs for the SDGs approach:  

      i. Increased access to essential services and decreased social inequality and injustice;  

      ii. Improved economic effectiveness and fiscal sustainability; 

      iii. Enhanced resilience and responsibility towards environmental sustainability; 

      iv. Replicability and the development of further projects; and 

      v. Full involvement of all stakeholders in the projects. 


Note to editors 

The Standard and its Accompanying Guide were developed by international experts over several years under the auspices of the Bureau of the UNECE Working Party on PPPs. They complement the set of UNECE PPP Standards, Tools and Guides available to Member States to develop PPPs in support of the SDGs, which include, among others, the UNECE PPP and Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System (PIERS) an evaluation methodology to assess the alignment of PPP and infrastructure projects against the PPPs for the SDGs approach and the SDGs, sectoral UNECE PPP Standards to help reduce transaction costs for PPPs in sectors such as renewable energy or railways, the UNECE Standard on a Zero Tolerance Approach to Corruption in PPP Procurement to lower corruption risk in PPP procurement, and the several UNECE PPP guides on topical issues such as circular economy and sustainable recovery and reconstruction

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