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PPPs and Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System (PIERS)

Training Courses


The Public-Private Partnerships and Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System (PIERS) is a flagship initiative of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). This evaluation methodology puts ‘people’ and ‘planet’ at the core of PPPs and infrastructure decision-making.

As part of UNECE’s capacity-building mandate, member states proposed and subsequently endorsed the development of training courses centred around PIERS. The goals of this educational programming are to broaden the awareness and understanding of PIERS, further empower governments and their partners to harness the full potential of this system and ensure a more sustainable, climate-resilient, and inclusive future through PPPs and infrastructure development.


The team at Beyond21 Academy is pleased to have the full support of the UNECE to develop and lead this training and capacity-building effort. Over the next year, we will be developing an asynchronous online course that will be available in late 2024 and an instructor-led course that will be available as of 2025. 


Developed by the UNECE with the support of more than 100 global PPP and infrastructure experts from the public, private, non-profit, and academic sectors, the PIERS methodology promotes comprehensive and well-designed PPPs and infrastructure projects that put ‘people’ and ‘planet’ at the core.  


Integrating considerations of sustainability, circularity, and resilience in the face of natural and human-made disasters (including climate change), the PIERS approach to PPPs and infrastructure development encourages governments and their partners to use their projects to achieve the following five outcomes:


  1. Increase access to essential services and lessen social inequality and injustice.

  2. Improve economic effectiveness and fiscal sustainability.

  3. Enhance resilience and responsibility toward environmental sustainability.

  4. Promote replicability and the development of further projects.

  5. Fully and meaningfully engage all stakeholders, including the public.

The PIERS methodology provides a platform for evaluating and scoring PPPs and infrastructure projects for their alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using a specially designed set of 22 criteria and 95 indicators. 

Bus Station

PIERS has several defining characteristics:


  • Flexible and adaptable to all types of PPPs and infrastructure projects and country contexts.

  • Complementary to other existing PPP/infrastructure standards, frameworks, and assessment protocols.

  • Criteria and indicators aligned with the SDGs.

  • Addresses the nuances and contractual differences associated with PPPs.

  • Designed to provide would-be investors with an additional layer of assurance that projects using the methodology are taking concrete steps to be more sustainable.

  • Freely available as a self-assessment tool, with an expert-led ‘assisted self-assessment’ process (coming soon).

  • Encourages users to improve their PPPs and infrastructure projects when the opportunity to do so is most cost-effective.

  • Designed to be educational, informative, helpful, lead to better projects, and used to build capacity around sustainable PPPs and infrastructure. 


To learn more and to access the PIERS methodology, please visit

To explore the online PIERS self-assessment tool, please visit

Our Role

Studying in Library_edited.jpg

In December 2023, member states proposed and subsequently endorsed the development of training courses centred around PIERS. The Bureau (Executive Board) of the UNECE Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships selected Melissa Peneycad, a fellow member of the Bureau and Manager, Sustainable Infrastructure and PPP Programs at Beyond21 Academy to lead this effort. 

Beyond21 Academy will be developing and delivering the training, under Melissa's leadership and with support of an Advisory Group as well as the Chief, Public-Private Partnerships Section at United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. 

Launched in 2024, we expect the online asynchronous course to be available by the end of the calendar year with instructor-led courses starting in early 2025.

Course Offerings

Mountain Ridge


Introduction to the PPPs and Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System (PIERS)




Available in late 2024


Practical Application of the PPPs and Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System (PIERS)




Starting 2025

(dates to be announced)

Project Lead


Manager, Sustainable Infrastructure and PPP Programs

Melissa is Manager, Sustainable Infrastructure and PPP Programs at Beyond21 Academy and serves as a member of the Bureau (Executive Board) of the UNECE Working Party on PPPs. She has 20 years of experience leading, building, and managing organizations and sustainability initiatives. She is an innovator, having built/designed practical tools, methodologies, and approaches to achieve Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) outcomes and the Sustainable Development Goals, notably playing a leading role in the development, operationalization, and global promotion of the Public-Private Partnerships and Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System (PIERS).


Having prepared, evaluated, and/or embedded the principles of sustainability into the design and implementation of more than 95 projects over the past 10 years, Melissa is a recognized authority on sustainable PPPs and infrastructure. Her portfolio of projects totals a Capex of more than USD 200 billion. In addition to her project work, Melissa has trained hundreds of students, government officials, and private-sector practitioners in the principles of sustainable infrastructure.


Melissa is affiliated with other NGOs/non-profits in the infrastructure/PPP space, including the US-based International Sustainable Resilience Center, and the UK-based not-for-profit Project Aid. She is also serving as Managing Director, Operations, at MDR Strategy Group.

Some of her prior roles have included Managing Director at the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, National Sustainability Program Manager at the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, and Sustainable Development Associate at Stantec.

Advisory Group

Our Advisory Group consists of international experts in various areas of sustainability, sustainable infrastructure, and PPPs. The Advisory Group plays a critical role in supporting the ongoing development of the PIERS courses and the broader adoption of PIERS through the training offered by Beyond21 Academy in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). All members serve a 2-year term with new members being recommended by the UNECE and approved by Beyond21 Academy's Board of Directors.

Our Supporters

Our goal of democratizing sustainability education is not possible without the generous support of organizations and individuals around the world. We are proud to have a community that shares our vision and supports the important work that we do. A full list of our partners who are involved in the PPPs and Infrastructure Evaluation and Rating System (PIERS) capacity-building and training is currently in development and will be available in the spring of 2024. 

For those interested in being part of this project, we encourage you to reach out to us. 

Interactive Map

Interactive PIERS Project Map

The following map show PIERS projects that have additional project details for review such as a website or video. A full list of projects, by country, is available in the map here

Comprehensive Map

Comprehensive PIERS Project Map

The following map shows all PIERS projects from 2016 onwards, by country.


We aim to keep these maps as current as possible - if there is a project missing, mislabelled or has a website/video that is publicly available, please reach out to us and we'll make the appropriate updates.

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