Last February 29, IBON International together with more than 50 civil society organisations(CSOs) from around the globe urged the World Bank (WB) to push for more financial transparency on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs).
In a joint submission, the CSOs responded to the WB’s draft document entitled, “A Framework for Disclosure in Public-Private Partnerships,” by calling on the Bank to endorse practices that ensure public access in all PPP-related costing, contracts and monitoring reports. This includes transparency in all associated costs, such as contingent liabilities, that are “off balance sheet” or costs hidden from implementing governments, which usually lead to bad decision-making and hinder oversight functions.
CSOs have long criticized PPPs as more expensive and risky way to fund development projects. A robust disclosure framework is an imperative in the face of risks raised by PPPs, such as social and environmental impacts, human rights implications, and macroeconomic problems like hidden public indebtedness arising from PPPs.
Countries with low capacity to ensure the highest standards of transparency must be discouraged from pursuing PPPs. If the capacity for disclosure is weak, a PPP is not a viable option and the Bank should say so in the framework.
CSOs also stressed the importance of allowing democratic accountability to safeguard the public’s interest in the whole PPP process.
A copy of the CSO submission can be downloaded below.