What is the role of private vs. public investments to ensure access to essential services such as education?

On 8 June, SOLIDAR together with FEPS and the S&D group is hosting a book launch on “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: How can the EU contribute?” in the European Parliament Library. The growing space given to the business sector in the provision of essential services such as education will be discussed, with a focus on the following questions: What is the role of private vs. public investments to ensure access to essential services such as education?

 Indeed, the growing interest in private finance as a funding source, also encouraged by target 17.17 of the 2030 Agenda that promotes, among others, effective public-private partnership (PPP), is distracting attention from the fact that PPPs are increasingly promoted as a means of financing development projects. However, there is extensive literature showing that PPPs are, in most cases, the most expensive method of financing, significantly increasing the cost to the public purse. Moreover, the existing evidence on the impact of PPPs on efficiency is both limited and weak. Finally, private investment cannot be a substitute for public investment in key areas such as essential healthcare and education services or social protection.

 This issue has been discussed, among others, in the forthcoming book titled “Progressive lab for sustainable development: from vision to action” that will be launched at the event. This book was produced in the framework of the Progressive Lab for sustainable development, a joint initiative of FEPS, the S&D group and SOLIDAR which aims to bring academic and policy expertise together while stimulating young researchers. The main objective was to think about the concrete steps that the EU can take to move towards sustainable development.

This joint book launch will be an opportunity to bring together academia, policy-makers and experts. We have the pleasure to have among the speakers, Gianni Pittella, President of the European Parliament Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Roberto Bissio, Director of the Instituto del Tercer Mundo and coordinator of the international secretariat of Social Watch, Lelio Iadpadre, Professor of Economics at the University of L’Aquila, Carles Casajuana, SOLIDAR Board member and part of the editorial committee of the book, Markus Loewe, Senior researcher at the German Development Institute and Fabiana Maglio, Education Specialist.

As part of the book, Antoni Verger and Mauro Moschetti, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, discussed the main political and social implications of partnering with the private sector in the educational arena. In addition, Sylvain Aubry and Zizipho Zondani from the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, studied the impact of education privatisation in developing countries and the role of donors in supporting this phenomenon, giving serious food for thought to the EU about strongly defending education as a public good and not as a commodity.

 

Read here the outline of the event.

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