The Best of Both Worlds: Public-Private Partnerships Solve Problems

Conference participants during a workshop. Photo: State Dept

Good solutions are often the result of the private sector working with national and local governments. That’s why on November 9-10, the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen hosted a workshop focused on the use of public-private partnerships (PPP). These partnerships work great as a means to address global challenges related to environment, science, technology and health (ESTH) issues. Public-private partnerships involve collaborations between government, the private sector and/or civil society. Working together they can jointly address a common challenge or opportunity such as economic development, environmental stewardship, health issues, etc. Ambassador Gifford stressed to conference participants from 24 countries spanning 5 continents the importance and urgency of ESTH diplomacy to U.S. foreign policy and to addressing global challenges. OES Acting Assistant Secretary Judy Garber noted that ESTH diplomacy has been a U.S. priority across administrations, and will continue to be so.

Why Copenhagen? Great Public-Private Partnerships

The City of Copenhagen provided an ideal location for the workshop due to a progressive local approach to adapting urban planning and development to climate change-related events such as more intense rainfall (known as cloudbursts).

Conference participants visiting 3GF. Photo: State Dept.
Conference participants visiting 3GF. Photo: State Dept.

In addition, examples of Danish public-private partnerships focused on the use of clean-energy such as wind power and community-based urban planning with strong community input demonstrated Denmark’s leadership in these areas. Meetings with the City Architect of Copenhagen, PPP State of Green, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) provided participants with concrete examples of Denmark’s public-private partnerships working domestically and around the world. For example, State of Green’s cooperation with the Danish Confederation of Industries and the government pushes for clean energy technology use to address climate change while also creating business opportunities. The 3GF program partners with the private sector, civil society and other governments to address water management, clean energy, and sustainable development challenges.

Seeing initiatives first-hand

In addition to experiencing Copenhagen’s bike culture on a bike tour of the city, participants also witnessed Copenhagen’s climate adaptation strategies first-hand through a visit to the Tåsinge Plads neighborhood pilot project.

Conference participants visiting Tåsinge Plads. Photo: State Dept.
Conference participants visiting Tåsinge Plads. Photo: State Dept.

This unique project mixes urban planning, community involvement, and modern rain water management systems to create a livable and cloudburst resilient neighborhood. Through these meetings and activities, conference participants took practical models to carry back to their respective countries. In fact, several commented they would seek to use Danish models to develop similar public-private partnerships to address local challenges and opportunities.

To learn more about the Embassy’s ESTH efforts in Denmark and neighboring countries, take a look at our ESTH Twitter account and of course the Embassy’s other social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.