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  • Global Challenges

    Workshop: Construction Sector Transparency- can you get what you pay for?

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    Coordinator: Petter Mathews, Director, Engineers against Poverty, CoST Advisor

    Mismanagement of and corruption in public infrastructure construction projects undermine expected social and economic benefits. It can cost the industry, the government purse and the taxpayer significant sums and detract a country from its development goals. The Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) aims to enhance the transparency and accountability of publicly financed construction projects, thus helping safeguard the development impact of public works as well as increasing the likelihood of getting what is paid for.

    CoST is being piloted in seven countries – Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United Kingdom. In each country it is led by a national multi-stakeholder group that supports the disclosure of construction project information by procuring entities and shares this information with the broader public. It is expected that this systematic disclosure of information across the construction cycle will allow stakeholders to spot any irregularities or unexplained differences in contract design, procurement and delivery.

    Effecting this transparency relies on the cooperation between the members of the multi-stakeholder group, drawn from public procurement bodies, public financial management agencies, construction companies and associations and civil society. Such cooperation is not without significant challenge.

    The workshop will explore the lessons learned from CoST on how to build multi-stakeholder approaches at national and global level to improve transparency and discourage corruption. An expert panel will outline how CoST brings together stakeholders at the national level to develop a joint understanding of what disclosure means and identify shared benefits from increased transparency. It will also explore how CoST, as a multi-country initiative, can help stakeholders from different accountability contexts share lessons on disclosure, outreach and advocacy. Finally, a third panellist will consider how CoST can improve outreach to broader stakeholders, allowing them to see how money is being spent, to strengthen their advocacy actions and to call their public agencies to account. The panel will draw on specific country examples and will look to learn from other multi-stakeholder initiatives.

    Moderator: Christiaan Poortman, Chair of the International Advisory Group and also Global Programmes Director, Transparency International
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    Rapporteur: Zlatina Loudjeva, CoST Secretariat manager


    Vincent Lazatin, Chair of the CoST MSG Philippines and also Executive Director of Bantay Lansangan (“Roadwatch”)

    Professor George Ofori, Vice-chair of the IAG and also Professor, Dept of Building, School of Design & environment, National University of Singapore

    Richard Calland, Associate Professor in the Public Law Department at the University of Cape Town.

    Download Paper I

    Download Paper II

    Download Paper III

    Download Paper III

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