The Centre is a research, innovation and advisory initiative that aims to provide public administrations with support in the organization, management and development of projects involving public-private partnerships (PPPs) to transform cities into sustainable and smart environments.
Aqualia is joining the project as a specialist in the water sector with extensive experience in public-private collaboration.
Aqualia, the full cycle water management company, has joined the PPP For Cities project, an initiative the United Nations is promoting through its Regional Commission UNECE and its International Centre of Excellence on PPPs (ICoE) programme, which is led, in Spain, by the IESE Business School.
Participating in the Advisory Council of the Specialist Centre on Cities, Aqualia will lead the project’s Water area, sharing its experience across the different working groups. The company will also contribute to activities that are geared towards promoting research, innovation and support for administrations throughout the world in the organization, management and development of projects that involve public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the city arena. This task is crucial for the future of society, since it is estimated that by 2030 approximately 5 billion people, or 60% of the world’s population, will be concentrated in urban areas.
The United Nations, through one of its five regional commissions (the UCECE), created the ICoE with the goal of becoming an international leader by creating best practices and standards in PPPs and helping governments to implement them. This centre builds on the work of six Specialized Centres (SCs) located in different parts of the world. The PPP For Cities Centre and the Centres in Paris and Moscow are the only ones in Europe.
The IESE Business School leads the SC on Citizen Services, which includes eight sectors of study, one of which is water, under the leadership of Aqualia.
Rafael Pérez Feito, Aqualia’s Director of International Operations argues that ” Aqualia’s incorporation as a member of the PPP for Cities Centre and leadership of the water area constitutes a step forward in the company’s commitment to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. The combination of the United Nations, an internationally prestigious business school like IESE and Aqualia, is the perfect platform for us to share our broad and varied national and international experience in projects involving Public-Private Partnerships.”
Eva Bufí, Executive Director of PPP For Cities, explained that “it is very important for the project to include private companies and public entities that are leaders in different sectors and will help us to achieve the proposed goals.”
Goals 1, 3 and 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals approved by the United Nations for the 2015-2030 period are directly related to water management. In addition goal 17 deals with promoting different forms of collaboration (among these, public-private alliances of PPPs) as an essential tool for achieving these goals.
The two UN Special Rapporteurs on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, Caterina de Alburquerque (from 2008 to 2014) and Leo Heller (present) have always recognized the right and need for public-private cooperation to guarantee the population’s access to water services. “Regarding the form of service provision, human rights are agnostic,” Caterina de Alburquerque stated in an interview with the newspaper El País on December 1st, 2014.
Aqualia: Broad and Recognized Expertise in PPP projects
Aqualia has extensive experience in the development of PPP projects, some of which have received different awards from the international community. One example is the water purification system in New Cairo, a project led by Aqualia in Egypt that received the Water Deal of the Year award in 2010 and the African PPP Water Deal of the Year award the following year. This infrastructure project was also chosen as the third best public-private partnership project by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank.
The El Realito water supply project, in Mexico, has also received numerous awards, such as the Water Deal of the Year award in 2012 and the Latin American Water Deal of the Year award that same year.
Aqualia is the water management company of FCC, one of Europe’s leading citizen services groups. The company is the first Spanish company in the sector, the third-largest private water company in Europe and the sixth-largest in the world, according to the latest ranking in the specialized publication Global Water Intelligence (GWI), and it serves 22.5 million users.
At present, it provides services to 1,100 municipalities in 22 countries: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Algeria, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Kosovo, Tunisia, Qatar and India. Last year, the company had a turnover of 954 million euros and reached a record business portfolio of more than 15 billion euros.