On 5–6 December Moscow hosted the Private Utility Infrastructure Operators Forum, which focused on public-private partnership in modernizing utilities infrastructure, ecological protection, and improving the urban environment.
Speaking at the event, Andrey Chibis, Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities of the Russian Federation, commented that the Smart City standard, which will be used to implement new technology across the country, is due to be approved by the end of the year. This form of digitalization will positively affect resource management, transport infrastructure, and public safety. He noted that the requisite technology already exists, and is ready to be rolled out. Among the companies to give presentations on the cornerstones of implementing a smart infrastructure were Rostec, Rusatom, Rostelecom, SAP, and POLYPLASTIC Group.
A study was specially commissioned for the forum, in which the PPP Development Center, Housing, Utilities and Urban Environment Association, and the law firm LECAP summarized PPP practice in building infrastructure for smart cities. The paper primarily focused on potential pathways for building digital infrastructure and passing legislative amendments which would provide opportunities for attracting private investment in the sector. It claimed that as of the end of 2018, 90 PPP projects to develop smart city infrastructure are currently under way in Russia, with 56 being initiated within the last three years.
The environment was another cornerstone of discussions. Prospects for introducing green financing mechanisms were examined, as was the creation of a sustainable bonds market in Russia. It was noted that Russia, in considering the creation of this market, was moving in step with the times and global trends. Investors in the form of Sberbank and Leader Asset Management highlighted the fact that debt financing was no panacea, and that it was essential to overcome the gulf between the way green financing is perceived in Russia and the West.