Harnessing the Power of Public–Private Partnerships: The role of hybrid financing strategies in sustainable development
» Samuel Colverson, Oshani Perera, IISD, 2012.Paper, 60 pages, copyright: IISD
When it comes to commissioning major public infrastructure projects or delivering on public services, "Public–Private Partnerships" (PPPs) is the phrase on everyone's lips. Representing cost savings to governments, earning opportunities to the private sector and improved quality of services to the public, the attraction of PPPs has only increased as shrinking budgets and a growing focus on austerity have driven government spending habits in the years following the global financial crisis of 2007–2008. The question, however, is do PPPs justify the hype, and can they deliver in practice on what they promise in theory?
Following this line of enquiry, IISD has undertaken a preliminary investigation to gauge the scale and structure of PPP agreements in today's market. In doing so, it has emphasized assessing the sustainability credentials of PPP theory and practice, asking to what extent PPP does and can fit into sustainable development frameworks. Findings underscore the difficulties PPP agreements face in offering guaranteed value for money in today's economic climate and warn that PPP is not a panacea, but rather that it should be positioned as one of the many tools in the toolbox of public sector procurers. For PPPs to become vehicles for sustainable development, the report suggests it is necessary to approach, administer and measure PPPs from a "whole of life value" perspective.
The report is broken up into four sections that deal with the definition of PPPs, the global context and institutional structures, the examination of five case studies, and the integration of sustainability into PPP.