A ‘smart collaboration’ to globally advise and support public-private-partnerships ‘in distress’

As public-private-partnerships (PPPs) around the world grapple with the impact and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent economic fallout, project, engineering, operations and management advisory firm Engenamic is pleased and enthused to announce its international collaboration with leading Washington D.C. -based infrastructure development practitioner and PPP navigator/procurement specialist David Baxter.

“This synergistic collaboration brings together and collectively leverages Engenamic’s broad-based ‘troubleshooting and fixing’ and strategic advisory expertise, together with our ability to understand and integrate the ‘big picture’ scenario (technically and non-technically), with the international development and PPP sector advisory expertise of David Baxter” says Engenamic CEO and Principal Advisor Ian McKechnie. “It provides a strong value proposition to clients globally in the PPP sector”.

“With an initial collaborative focus on advising and supporting PPPs globally that find themselves in distressed conditions and situations, we can collectively add significant value through our constructive, independent and objective advisory facilitation and support” McKechnie says.

“Particularly pertinent to the times, these advisory and support services are well suited to the ‘virtual space’, and we are geared to provide them in this manner worldwide, leveraging technology, and bridging physical, country and time-zone barriers.

David Baxter notes that he recently conducted an international survey in the PPP sector, which, with responses from both the public and private sector across 69 countries, provided valuable and important insights. “The responses highlighted challenges and issues being faced by PPPs globally. Some of the sectors identified as particularly vulnerable or affected at present include transportation, tourism/leisure, power/energy, healthcare, education, water & sanitation and agriculture”.

Baxter adds that “particularly pertinently, the responses highlighted the need for support in assisting PPP projects/programs to sustainably weather and recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes technical/sector expertise support to address both immediate and future impacts”.

Noting these viability, sustainability and resilience challenges, David Baxter comments that the collaboration between himself and Engenamic is strongly placed to collectively provide such technical/sector expertise advisory support to PPP projects and programmes internationally.

With a growing potential of adversarial disputes, and/or of failure or other undesirable situations and outcomes quickly developing, all of which are potentially very costly and detrimental to parties, McKechnie comments that a ‘smart move’ in the circumstances, and certainly at least in the first instance, would be for the parties to strategically adopt a ‘pragmatic sustainability’ and dispute-avoidance approach and intervention, “seeking the more ‘win-win’ and sustainability types of scenario outcomes”.

McKechnie adds that “Such an approach creates opportunity – for those willing to embrace it – to evaluate, rethink, reset, change and find positive, broadly-beneficial and, perhaps most importantly, sustainable and resilient ways forward. To move forward ‘smartly’!

David Baxter concurs, and he and Ian McKechnie both note and emphasise that parties should be encouraged to start such sustainable and resilient interventions and processes as soon as possible, and that these processes would benefit from external and independent, objective facilitation and support.