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Channels into Global Policy Processes: Keeping the Social Dimension in Public-Private Partnerships

30 Nov 2015



UNRISD recently contributed to the drafting of a Declaration on Responsible Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) being presented at the 21st session of the UN Conference of Parties on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris in early December.

UNRISD’s contribution to the Declaration was to add a sentence highlighting the importance of PPPs respecting human rights to foster an economy of human dimensions. The recommendation that alternative approaches and collaborative initiatives (such as social and solidarity-based economy) be considered in order to develop more democratic and balanced partnerships was also an addition in which UNRISD was instrumental through its close collaboration with other partners at the drafting table, UN-NGLS and Rencontres du Mont-Blanc.

The Declaration was developed by participants at a side event at the International Forum on Public Private Partnerships for Sustainable Development, organised by UNITAR, France and the host city, the Annemasse Agglo. The Declaration from the side event highlighted the fact that PPPs raise issues regarding benefits and risks specifically for each stakeholder and suggested a number of areas in which suitable governance and participation mechanisms need to be put into place to ensure that PPPs remain a responsible way to promote development.

Two UNRISD teams participated in the side event itself, hosting debating tables. The side event, titled Responsible Public-Private Partnerships: Cooperation between the State, Private Sector and Civil Society?, took place on 30 October 2015 in Annemasse, France, and took the form of a debate-workshop involving civil society actors and Forum participants. The aim of the organizers, Cité de la Solidarité Internationale, was to encourage participants to share their reflections on building responsible PPPs for sustainable development.

These discussions take on particular importance in light of the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in September this year which places a much stronger emphasis on partnerships than the previous MDG framework, and highlights a central role for the private sector in contributing to sustainable development.

The International Forum itself developed a parallel declaration, which will also be presented at COP21. It stresses the need to continue high-level dialogue on the conditions required for the success of public-private partnerships and to explore the potential of PPPs to eradicate poverty and fight against climate change.


Photo credit: Mike Bitzenhofer (Common Creatives BY 2.0 via Flickr)