CoST Board in Honduras – Supporting national programmes on the ground

CoST Board, CoST International Secretariat, CoST Honduras Multi-Stakeholder Group and representatives from the World Bank

CoST Honduras welcomed the CoST Board for a jam-packed week to showcase the successes and learnings from their national programme and hold the 21st CoST Board meeting. From roundtables with the President of the Republic of Honduras and regional donors to project site visits and citizen forums, CoST Honduras displayed the breadth and depth of its programme. CoST is proud to be a flexible standard, both adapting to the local context but also drawing insights from national experiences to inform its international principles and guidelines.

As part of the visit, the CoST Board met with the President of the Republic of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, and Members of his Cabinet to explore means of further strengthening transparency and accountability in the country’s public infrastructure. With support from institutions such as the General Directorate of Roads and the Roads Fund, the award-winning CoST Honduras programme has focused to date on piloting CoST principles in public road projects. As part of the meeting, President Juan Orlando Hernández committed to expanding the CoST Honduras programme into several new sectors to increase transparency and accountability in public infrastructure. Initially focusing expansion on the national electric and telephone companies, the programme will progress into the health and education sectors. With Honduras’ electricity and telephony infrastructure currently ranked low at 103 out of 140 countries globally (WEF, 2016), this is a major step forward for the sectors and will support life-changing connectivity for citizens.

In line with this commitment, CoST Honduras has already supported the development of SISOCS 2.0. Building upon the existing subsystem of the national e-procurement portal, SISOCS 2.0 is now capable of disclosing infrastructure data from any sector as opposed to only road projects. The enhanced technology can also aggregate data from different projects and contracts, providing stakeholders with an overview of performance data on key issues such as contract distribution by Procuring Entities (PEs) and time and cost overruns. CoST Honduras is also developing a pilot Infrastructure Transparency Index, with support from CoST International Secretariat and other national programmes in the region. The Board worked with CoST Honduras and its Multi-Stakeholder Group to explore the methodology and indices applied in the pilot. Following further testing, the Index is due for publication later this year so stay tuned for further updates.

The CoST Board also had the opportunity to attend one of the Honduran programme’s flagship initiatives – a public forum in partnership with local citizen transparency commissions. As part of the multi-stakeholder event, citizens learnt about the government’s new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programme and posed questions directly to the responsible PE, Coalianza. From the need for community involvement in project selection to justification for project design and tracking of PPP profits, citizens were engaged in the issues and posed hard-hitting questions. With a combined value of US$2.6 billion, the PPP programme represents a significant investment in vital infrastructure and CoST Honduras is ensuring that decision-makers are accountable to stakeholders.

Raising the bar, CoST Honduras is the first national programme to work with PPP projects to disclose information in line with the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard. Following its previous successes in citizen oversight, CoST Honduras’ Assurance Team invited those citizens in attendance to join them on their site visits later this month to take up an active role in infrastructure transparency. The CoST Board also had the opportunity to visit one of the PPP projects, Palmerola Airport, which is being developed from a military base and due to open in 2019. The Board enquired about key issues including the contract award, health and safety procedures and project selection. CoST Honduras will continue to monitor progress of the project and ensure that it is delivered in line with CoST principles. To stay up-to-date with the programme and its activities, check out the CoST Honduras website or follow @CoSTHonduras!

Date Published: 25 April 2017
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