1st Meeting of the Southeast Europe Public Private Partnership Network Print E-mail
Sarajevo, 30 November 2009
Meeting Report

1.    The Regional Cooperation Council (“RCC”) and the Agency for Public Private Partnerships of the Republic of Croatia acting as an initial Secretariat (“Secretariat”) of the Southeast Europe Public-Private Partnership Network (“SEE PPP Network” or “Network”) co-organized the first working meeting of the SEE PPP Network in Sarajevo, on November 30, 2009. The meeting was attended by the representatives of PPP units or institutions tasked with dealing with PPPs from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, UNMIK/Kosovo according to UNSCR 1244, FYR Macedonia, and Serbia. Representatives of the RCC and the Agency for PPP of the Republic of Croatia were present in the capacity of meeting co-organizer.  
2.    In addition to formally launching the Network, the main objectives of the meeting were to provide an overview of PPP developments in the region, exchange country specific information on PPP environment, and set-out a scope of work for the newly established Network.
3.    After setting the groundwork with an introductory presentation on PPPs as an Investment in Development made by the Secretariat representatives, the participants were asked to present country specific developments in PPP. The presentations and the ensuing discussion revealed the major similarities and gaps in the current situation in SEE countries and have pointed towards possible actions to mitigate some of the gaps and challenges identified.
4.    All of the RCC members in the region have made considerable progress in  development of the PPP market while a lot of work remains to be done going forward. In the area of legislative development, it was noted that all of them have adopted laws directly related to PPPs, such as the public procurement and concessions legislation. In some of the jurisdictions, such as Croatia, UNMIK/Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, and Greece, specific laws on PPPs were also enacted to provide a more coherent regulatory framework for PPP implementation. However, considerable problems exist in the implementation of the enacted legislation, either due to a lack of by-laws to regulate certain areas further, or the lack of resources to ensure full enforcement.
5.    As for the institutional environment, the Western Balkans countries have either established specialized units for dealing with PPPs through existing legislation or are in the process of establishing such institutions. In most jurisdictions however, these units were not allocated sufficient resources and/or political backing and they lack specific knowledge, skills and experience in order to proceed successfully with further development of the PPP market.
6.    As a result of such legislative and institutional environment, the PPP project pipeline is yet to be populated by a larger number of projects that would strike a good balance between public sector’s interest to achieve best value for money, and private sector’s appetites for risk. The largest pipeline of PPP projects is currently being developed by the Greek PPP Unit, with over 50 projects in the total value of over EUR 5 billion. Croatia has had a long experience in PPP project development and Albania has also acquired considerable know how in the recent period.
7.    Given the overall level of development of the PPP market in the SEE region, the meeting participants welcomed the establishment of the SEE PPP Network as a forum to exchange knowledge and experience, determine gaps and common needs and then use the Network as a vehicle to address those needs both through mutual exchange, but also through cooperation with other partners.
8.    Following the country presentations and the discussion, the meeting participants agreed on the following conclusions and recommendations:
a.    The SEE PPP Network will be actively involved, and will partner with all other relevant regional initiatives and structures to promote the inclusion of the PPP dimension in all relevant initiatives.
b.    One of the primary activities of the SEE PPP Network should be helping strengthen the capacities of the participating institutions. Thus, the Network Secretariat was charged with leading the effort on preparing a draft project fiche to be submitted to the Multi-Beneficiary Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance to mobilize resources for capacity building in the area of PPP. The Regional Cooperation Council will provide support in this area.
c.    The member countries will nominate one expert per country, through a written procedure and endorsement of the relevant ministry, to participate in the process of drafting the project document for MB IPA. The regional experts pooled in this way will form the base of the future regional expert committee that will be consulted on future Network activities as well.
d.    In a similar effort, the Secretariat will also lead the effort on preparing a project to be submitted to TAIEX and/or other relevant institutions to mobilize technical assistance for the development of Network members’ capacities.
e.    Communication between the Network members should be improved going forward. The first step in that direction will be the exchange of hyperlinks on relevant unit’s websites and creation of a SEE PPP Network mailing list for information dissemination.
f.    The SEE PPP Network members and the Secretariat will explore the availability of funds that could be tapped into for covering the bridge financing costs for PPP project development. The respective Network members will investigate   Infrastructure Project Facility offices’ mandate and insight in order to determine whether such opportunities exist and, if so, to explore the conditionality.
g.    SEE PPP Network members have agreed to advocate and start building political support for development of cross-border, regional PPP projects in the area of transport infrastructure, energy, social infrastructure and/or other areas. One of the preliminary pilot project ideas that could be considered is the development of inland waterways.
h.    The meeting participants welcomed the support of the Regional Cooperation Council in the establishment and operation of the Network and have asked for this support to be extended in the next period as well.