PPP track was held on October, 15 as a part of the International Research Conference “GSOM Emerging Markets Conference: Business and Government Perspectives”, organized in the Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University, and it included three events devoted to the discussion on public-private partnership in the field of roads and airports:
- Round Table “PPP Development in the Field of Airports”
- Round Table “PPP Development in the Field of Roads”
- Debates “PPP in the Field of Transport”
Choice of the theme of PPP track was not accidental, because the subject of the research activities of the Center for PPP Studies GSOM SPbU as a UNECE PPP Specialist Centre is public-private partnership in the transport sector. Therefore, PPP track was not only the platform for dissemination and exchange of knowledge and practical experience bringing together representatives of government, business, expert and academic community, but also it involved the participants of the Conference in the research activity of the Center, so that each one could make their own contribution to this work.
Moreover, representatives of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe - Geoffrey Hamilton, Chief at UNECE International PPP Centre of Excellence, and Tony Bonnici, Secretary of UNECE Team of Specialists on Public Private Partnerships, came to get acquainted with the activity of UNECE PPP Specialist Centre in the transport sector and discuss the most relevant questions of PPP international development. Geoffrey Hamilton and Tony Bonnici participate in the formation of UNECE Project Teams working on the development of PPP Standards in different sectors, representatives of which also took part in the event. Truly remarkable was the participation of international PPP experts, members of Project Teams in the field of transport - Rosário Macário, Professor of Lisbon Technical University (Portugal); Felix Villalba-Romero, Researcher of University of Central Lancashire (UK); Athena Roumboutsos, Professor of University of the Aegean (Greece); and also Sergey Voitekhovsky, Head of the Investment Department of the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Belarus, member of United Nations Development Programme. The contribution of the Russian representatives of Project Teams should be especially noted – Svetlana Maslova, Head of the Center for PPP Stadies GSOM SPbU, and Andrey Yushkov, Research fellow at Leontief Centre, who have provided to the participants of PPP track an opportunity of meeting with world class PPP experts.
Experts participating in PPP track Russian, being professionals among the best practitioners of PPP in Russia, have presented their reports during two round tables – Margarita Belyaeva, Head of the Department of ensuring the terms of the concession agreement of "Northern Capital Gateway"; Andrey Antonovsky, Director of the Department of Infrastructure Finance, VTB Capital; Ivan Potekhin, Senior Project Analyst of the Department of Project and Structured Finance, Gazprombank; Vladimir Kilinkarov, Partner, Head of the practice of PPP, Intellectual Property and Information Law, Maxima Legal; Konstantin Popov, Member of the Board, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Legal Affairs, State Company "Russian Highways". The opportunity to participate in the PPP track along with recognized experts was provided to young researchers of GSOM SPbU, particularly, to Sofia Gromova, Master student of Public Admistration, GSOM SPbU.
PPP events traditionally were opened with welcome speech of the Head of the Department of Public Administration SPbU, Minister of Transport of Russia Maxim Sokolov, who this time addressed the participants of the Conference in a video message. Maksim Sokolov in his speech pointed out that PPP is a very complex modern instrument for the creation of large-scale projects and one of the most effective ways to implement public tasks, and that this was noted in the recently held 70th Session of UN General Assembly. Passing the word to moderators of PPP track Svetlana Maslova and Geoffrey Hamilton, Maxim Sokolov wished conference participants interesting discussions, fruitful work and exciting projects.
Geoffrey Hamilton, as well as Maxim Sokolov, emphasized the meaning that was given to PPP in the 70th Session of UN General Assembly, particularly, in relation to the achievement of new Sustainable Development Goals. Thereby, Geoffrey Hamilton jointly with his colleague Tony Bonnici told about the UNECE program in support of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was clear from the presentation that the basis of the UNECE SDGs support program is development of International PPP Standards, which are simple in use but are effective in guiding governments of developing countries. Our colleagues from UNECE are sure that public-private partnership, the development of which throughout the world is facilitated by International PPP Standards, will help to achieve 11 from 17 Sustainable Development Goals, first of all, aimed at overcoming poverty, improving access to essential services and development of global partnership. Development of International PPP standards in the transport sector will contribute to achievement of 5 from 17 SDGs, which is also as part of the activities of the Center for PPP Studies GSOM SPbU.
During two Round Tables “PPP Development in the field of Airports” and “PPP Development in the field of Roads” declared Russian and international experts revealed the secrets of successful PPP projects, telling the participants about the PPP legal frameworks, most suitable PPP models, risks allocation, opportunities and limitations in funding, main issues of PPP agreements and concession agreements for roads and airports.
The brightest emotions and heated discussions were received by participants of PPP track during PPP debates organized for the first time in Graduate School of Management SPbU. Such a stormy discussion was facilitated by the theme of the discussion – International PPP Standards. More than ten questions related to International PPP Standards, the majority of which had the proposed variant of answers, were provided for discussion. The use of interactive system of anonymous voting allowed the moderators to know the opinion of each participant of PPP debates. Despite the fact that everyone could vote for the selected answer, a lot of the participants of PPP debate wanted to express their opinions directly and debate on a particular question. As it was shown by the vote, the question of the need for development of International PPP Standards, despite the firm conviction of international experts, is quite controversial in the Russian reality, since the votes “for” and “against” were divided almost in the same proportion – 60% and 40% respectively. The participants had also different views on who should develop standards, content of standards, appropriate PPP models, financial structure, risks allocation in PPP projects in the field of roads and airports. Experts decided almost unanimously (90%) that International PPP Standards should not have the binding character and there is necessary adaptation and political support for its application in a certain country.
According to the results of PPP track The Center for PPP Studies GSOM SPbU hopes, that PPP track within the Annual International Research Conference “GSOM Emerging Markets Conference: Business and Government Perspectives” will become a tradition, and invites all participants to meet again in order to share experience, knowledge and conduct joint research!