Nepal has provided some of its poorest people with clean water, sanitation and waste collection through 88 public-private partnerships. The country worked with the UN to build a framework for projects in 17 municipalities, which also provided employment for citizens, 25% of whom live in poverty. Some 6,000 people have been trained in developing public-private partnerships.
Results & Impact
Through the ten-year Public-Private Partnership for Urban Environment, 88 projects to improve municipal services were completed and 6,000 people were trained in public-private partnership development. The success of the project encouraged Nepal's Ministry of Local Development set up the National PPP Coordination Committee in 2006
The Public-Private Partnership for Urban Environment, United Nations Development Program, Nepal's Ministry of Local Development, the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce & Industries, private companies, the Netherlands Government, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Office for Project Services
The Public-Private Partnership for Urban Environment enabled private sector participation in the provision of urban services like water supply and distribution, sanitation, roads and urban transportation and renewable energy. The project was run by the UNDP and and Nepal’s Ministry of Local Development, which brought together municipalities and private companies through the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce & Industries. The UNDP convened partnerships and embedded volunteers in municipalities to support projects. The project was funded by the UNDP, Netherlands government, Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Office for Project Services
17 municipalities in Nepal
Low-income people, rural populations
Cost & Value
Non-profits and governments contributed $3.24 million to the project over 10 years
The PPPUE faced a number of changes, but the most critical was lack of trust on all sides: the government, private sector and the public. It was difficult to relay to the partners that it would take time to improve public services, and would require creative thinking to surmount legislative hurdles
Nepal has improved the urban poor’s access to clean water, sanitation and other crucial services by working with the United Nations Development Fund to strengthen its public-private partnership infrastructure.
Through the Public-Private Partnership for Urban Environment (PPPUE), 17 Nepalese municipalities partnered with the private sector in 88 successful community-building projects, leading to the creation of the country’s public-private partnership unit.
“There was an emphasis on innovation: pilots of small scale to see if projects could be scaled up into national plans,” said Sophie Kemkhadze, Deputy Country Director at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “The need for partnerships is the demand of the day rather than our choice at this stage, and are important to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). No government can meet the SDGs on their own; the private sector needs to be on board.”
The PPPUE is run by the UNDP and Nepal’s Ministry of Local Development, which brought together municipalities and private companies through the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce & Industries. The UNDP advised on and facilitated the partnerships and set procedures for procurement, bidding processes and evaluation. The UNDP also embedded UN volunteers trained in public-private partnership practices in municipalities to support individual projects.
For example, the PPPUE orchestrated a waste collection service in Nepal’s second largest municipality, Biratnagar. Prior to the partnership, only 12 of the municipality’s neighbourhoods had functional garbage collection services – now, all 22 do. The municipality contracted 157 collectors from the Forum of Social Improvement and Environmental Development, a private company that provides garbage disposal at a discounted rate.
The ten-year PPPUE, which ended in 2012, facilitated private sector participation in the provision of urban services like water supply and distribution, sanitation, roads and urban transportation and renewable energy. More than 6,000 civil servants, entrepreneurs, SMEs, service providers and community members were trained in public-private partnership development.
The biggest challenge for the partnership was lack of trust, according to Kemkhadze. “There was mistrust on all sides: government, private sector, the public. Services do not improve overnight – it requires patience – so bringing the private sector on board was quite a big challenge.”
“Government didn’t know what to expect, and were certain nobody could provide the services better. The legislative framework was not quite as supportive, and required some creative thinking, and it also required massive capacity building,” said Kemkhadze.
The partnerships improved Nepal’s infrastructure and provided employment for citizens, 25% of whom live in poverty, according to the most recently available World Bank data. As populations grow, municipalities are struggling to provide basic services.
Another project the PPPUE facilitated was the reconstruction of public toilets at a bus park in Hetauda, a city in southern Nepal’s Makwanpur municipality. When the municipality owned the park, the toilets were poorly run. Adarsha Tole Bikash Samstha, the private company that took over, added showers, a garden and a solar lighting system. Daily revenue has since increased from $3 to $13.
Other projects include solar street lighting, management of recreational areas, local forest protection, clean drinking water schemes and construction of a fruit and vegetable market.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP contributed $2.61 million to the partnership. Other funders include the Asian Development Bank ($500,000), the Netherlands ($100,000) and the United Nations Office for Project Services contributed ($25,000).
Throughout the project, Nepal’s government began to see public-private partnerships as an effective way to build up local infrastructure and improve public services. As a result, the Ministry of Local Development set up the National PPP Coordination Committee in 2006.
(Picture credit: Flickr/Philippe Leroyer)