SENIOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE,
CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA OF VEOLIA
PPPs & Privatization I Interview I Uzbekistan 2023
_BIOGRAPHY Philippe Guitard is a seasoned executive with more than 35 years of experience in the environmental services management industry for companies of the group Veolia, having held various leadership positions not only across Europe. He currently acts as the Group Senior Executive Vice President, Central & Eastern Europe and is a member of the Executive Committee and the Management Committee. His extensive expertise in the field has been instrumental in driving Veolia's growth in emerging markets and in building today´s global leader of ecological transformation.
“VEOLIA IS MORE THAN EVER DETERMINED TO DEVELOP TAILORED LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS TO GROWING CHALLENGES SUCH AS PROVIDING RELIABLE, CONTINUOUS AND AFFORDABLE UTILITY SERVICES TO MUNICIPALITIES AND INDUSTRIES.”
VEOLIA HAS SUCCESSFULLY POSITIONED ITSELF AS THE GLOBAL CHAMPION OF ECOLOGICAL TRANSFORMATION. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY’S STRATEGY TO BECOME A BENCHMARK IN THIS FIELD?
The world has to rethink its relationship with resources and come up with new social and economic growth models that are more efficient, better balanced and more sustainable. With 160 years of expertise in the areas of water, energy and waste, Veolia applies its capacity for innovation to pursuing human progress and wellbeing, and improving the performance of businesses and regions.
To make the switch from a resource consumption rationale to a use-and-recover approach in today’s circular economy, Veolia designs and implements solutions aimed at improving access to resources while at the same time protecting and renewing those same resources. This is how Veolia and its employees contribute each and every day to resourcing the world.
The company's flagship project in Uzbekistan, which began operations LAST year, is expected to increase heat supply efficiency by 50% and reduce heat loss from 44% to 20%. Could you elaborate on the main objectives of this project?
Indeed, Veolia Energy Tashkent, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Veolia, started operations on 1st July 2022, welcoming more than 3,300 people, formerly employed by the state unitary enterprise, to fulfil the following main objectives:
1. securing and improving the quality and continuity of the district heating services in Tashkent city for more than half of the city's population (1,2 million inhabitants);
2. implementing new methods and tools to enhance human resources management, encouraging personal development, sharing culture and values that promote dialogue and social innovation;
3. addressing long-established inefficient consumption behaviours and introducing a consumption-based billing system, thereby raising awareness of sustainable consumption by customers; and
4. actively contributing to the decarbonisation of Tashkent city's energy systems through modernization of the existing heat supply technology and transition into an integrated heat supply scheme.
VEOLIA HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED AS A ROLE MODEL FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN UZBEKISTAN. COULD YOU SHARE WITH US YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE COUNTRY SO FAR AND TELL US MORE ABOUT ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS?
The visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan to France on 9th October 2018 served as a first milestone to further develop partnership with the government of Uzbekistan. At this occasion, a memorandum of cooperation for the district heating project of Tashkent city was signed between Veolia and the Uzbek government. The second milestone is the adoption of the Law on Public-Private Partnership (“PPP”) of 10th May 2019 which provides a comprehensive framework for development of unsolicited proposals. Consequently, the Khokimyat of Tashkent city hired consulting services from the Asian Development Bank (“ADB”) to review feasibility study outcomes and draft heads of terms of the future PPP agreement – the first in the country for utility distribution projects.
The approval of the PPP project concept by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan on 16 June 2020 constitutes the third milestone. According to the PPP Law, this high-level approval is a precondition to launch a market interest campaign to seek potential challengers. Following such a campaign, the negotiation phase between the Khokimyat of Tashkent city, advised by ADB, and Veolia formally kicked off early March 2021 – with the constant coordination of the PPP Development Agency.
The main negotiation outcomes have been reflected in the Resolution #594 of 22 September 2021 from the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan. As a major achievement, the signing of the PPP agreement took place during the Uzbekistan Economic Forum of 29 and 30 September 2021. Nine months later, the parties to the PPP agreement fulfilled most of the conditions to effectively start the project on 1 July 2022. As for the upcoming projects, Veolia is more than ever determined to develop tailored long-term solutions to growing challenges such as providing reliable, continuous and affordable utility services to municipalities and industries.
WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO CONVEY TO FRENCH AND EUROPEAN COMPANIES CONSIDERING UZBEKISTAN AS A POTENTIAL LOCATION FOR INVESTMENT AND A REGIONAL HUB FOR THEIR OPERATIONS?
Over the last years Uzbekistan has demonstrated both its political and economic stability; even though the development of the district heating project of Tashkent city happened during an unprecedented context of global pandemic, disrupted supply chains, soaring inflation rates and Russian-Ukraine conflict, the stakeholders have maintained their commitments to the project.
Moreover, with the strategic development plan for 2022-2026, the government of Uzbekistan is aiming to reach high growth potential while achieving measurable progress in their ecological transformation (i.e., saving 7 billion cubic metres of water annually, increasing energy efficiency of the economy by 20%). Overall, the plan contains a clear strategy and a set of implementation plans.
In retrospect, the establishment of Veolia’s local presence at an early stage of the project development phase enabled to improve contextual understanding and build relationships to negotiate long-term agreement in a spirit of mutual partnership.