Source:  DOH

Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona announced today that the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe approved the establishment of an International Public Private Partnership (PPP) Specialist Center for Health in Manila.

Ona was present during the 3rd session of the UNECE Team of Specialists on Public Private Partnerships(TOS PPP), held last 18-19 April 2011 at the Palais de Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.  Ona was one of the speakers together with other Ministers and government officials from Europe during the high level panel. He discussed the challenges of implementing successful PPPs in health and how the UNECE International PPP Centre of Excellence can help countries meet these challenges.

In his speech, Ona conveyed the Aquino administration’s recognition of the essential role of the private sector in pursuing national development and setting forward PPPs as a viable instrument to bring about infrastructure development particularly on health, and in behalf of the Government of the Philippines, expressed his support for the establishment of the International PPP Specialist Centre on Health inManila, Philippines. “We are keen on engaging the private sector to help upgrade our hospitals and other health facilities in the next 5 years, to the tune of at least P 37.5 billion”, Ona said.

The meeting was attended by officials of various United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), as well as representatives of 40 governments from Europe, the United States, Middle East, and Asia. A large number of private sector PPP Experts and consultants were also present.

The UNECE International PPP Centre of Excellence is an official inter-regional United Nations programmethat is being led by the UNECE on behalf of the United Nations Regional Economic Commissions, and in cooperation with the other UN Divisions, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Finance Corporation. With this center, countries would benefit from support and advice as well high-level advisory missions helping them on the route to take on the development of PPPs. This will ensure that countries will have professional capability to successfully implement PPPs.

The establishment of UNECE PPP Specialist Centre on Health in the Philippines will be the focal centre in the global PPP health sector.  It will operate under a MOU between the UNECE and the Philippines.  Among the roles of the Centre are the following: fund the establishment and operation of the UNECE PPP Specialist Centre; fund the development and updating of the specific best practice guides under the direction by the UN PPP Secretariat; manage the sector specific PPP Research Program; establish and manage the Specialist Centre Membership; and establish an international database within the sector.

The UNECE PPP Initiative will globally improve the quality of life for citizens through the improved quality of and access to public utilities and services. “Our country’s overall involvement in the UNECE PPP Initiative is consistent with the Aquino Health Agenda of attaining universal health care through mobilizing PPPs for improving health facilities.”, Ona concluded.

Meanwhile, complementing the UNECE PPP initiative, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and theAustralian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has committed $ 1.5 million and $ 7 million, respectively, as grants for improving the Philippine government’s capacity to develop, competitively tender and monitor implementation of PPP projects.