Why Sustainable Development is the Private Sectors’ Business Too
By admin July 14, 2016

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Preparations for Habitat III — a major global summit, formally known as the third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, taking place in October in Quito, Ecuador — are moving fast, both in terms of the summit’s expected results and the mobilization of all actors.

While national governments are central to the success of Habitat III, they cannot achieve good results if they act alone. During the 2015 United Nations (UN) commitments such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate change agreement, cities through their networks, and stakeholder organizations have joined forces to contribute to the success of each of these landmark developments. Habitat III will build on these results and provide all necessary space for local government associations and stakeholders to participate and demonstrate that their initiatives and actions will contribute to the objectives of the NUA.

Multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have expanded their outreach to the private sector in recent years. The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is opening up opportunities for more private sector involvement in infrastructure development. As a new player, AIIB could be a leader by helping “to crowd in private finance,” Heathcote said, engaging business and companies as partners rather than mere contractors.

Indeed, cities and the private sector need each other. Cities need the private sector to develop their attractiveness, create wealth and employment, and increase municipal finance resources through transparent and accountable taxation. But balancing risk and taking innovative approaches will be key to engaging with business. The private sector needs cities to ensure all requirements are met for its development, starting from the relevant enabling business climate, to roads and basic services, communication networks, a relevant education system providing the skilled workers they need, and health and school services to attract future employees by offering a good service system for them and their families.

The call for more private sector participation and collaboration to address challenges and finance development solutions is not new. Infrastructure investment demand for the Asia-Pacific region has been estimated to surpass USD $800 billion per year through 2020 — a figure even the combined capital of all development banks around the world could not match.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao believes PPPs are “essential” not only in providing the region with much-needed capital but also in instituting knowledge-sharing processes from the private sector to the communities, and vice versa. “A strong private sector is essential for development. It can fill large investment gaps, create jobs and reduce poverty,” Nakao said on Friday in his opening address at the bank’s annual meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan.

“In this regard, we will expand our support for public-private partnerships … [to] help mobilize more private sector investment and improve the delivery of public services.”

The strong and successful involvement of the private sector in the Lima-Paris action agenda, launched during the COP21, also created an incentive to provide space and opportunities for all stakeholders in Quito. The international community strongly believes that Habitat III success needs to build on similar dynamics of commitments from stakeholders.

To find out more:
Private sector sees opportunities — and risks — in AIIB collaboration

ADB, AIIB Sign MOU to Strengthen Cooperation for Sustainable Growth

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB): added momentum for Asian infrastructure?

Development banks plan “unprecedented” global collaboration

World Bank proposes ‘global coalition’ for sustainable transportation

Delivering a new urban agenda for development

How to build an effective road safety PPP: Lessons learned from Nigeria

Public-private partnerships: Spurring private sector involvement in development

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