January 2013

Cameron calls for G8 leadership on CoST

David Cameron has made enhancing transparency - including the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative – a key priority during Britain’s term as President of G8 group of richest nations this year.

In a letter to fellow G8 leaders, the prime minister urges that the developed and developing world work together, to prevent money laundering and stamp out bribery and corruption. Cameron sees the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative as an important means to achieving enhanced transparency.

Mr. Cameron goes on to call for G8 leadership, stating that: 'We cannot call on other countries to live up to these high standards of transparency if we are not prepared to do so ourselves.'

It is estimated that, by 2020, upwards of $2.5 trillion annually could be lost on an international level through corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency in construction. Governments and the international construction sector have the potential to combat this by signing up to the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST). 

The Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) was launched in October, following a three-year pilot project. The UK is the only G8 country participating in CoST along with seven other nations: Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, the Philippines, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia.

AfDB sets the pace on CoST Malawi

Right on the heels of the recent Launch of the CoST International Programme in South Africa, the African
Development Bank, Malawi Office walked the extra yard by approving a twelve month grant of USD 125,150 for the CoST Malawi programme.

The grant will go a long way in strengthening the Malawi Multi stakeholder Group to advance the CoST agenda to a wider spectrum of interest groups such as civil society organisations, the media, politicians, local councils, procuring entities in addition to procuring consultancy services of an Assurance expert on a number of selected projects.

At the handover ceremony of the facility, the AfDB Country representative Andrew Mwaba (third right)set the tone for other cooperating partners to follow by explaining that “good governance and combating corruption (which are objectives at the core of CoST) have been clearly highlighted in the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness as areas where more support to country efforts and coordination is needed to improve development performance”.

Dr Mwaba went further to announce that CoST Malawi is a third Non State Actor to implement an AfDB funded project in Malawi.

The interim MSG Chairperson Joe Ching’ani thanked AfDB for the support and assured the bank that the resources will be used prudently. The National Construction Industry Council which provides the Secretariat of the CoST Malawi programme was in attendance.

Transparency and ethics lead to zero law suits in El Salvador public infrastructure

Changes in transparency and ethics in the last three years have seen the number of law suits against the Ministry of Public Work in El Salvador reduced to zero. In 2009, 80% of Ministry of Public Works contracts were paralysed by legal problems and had debts of $43m.

This remarkable change has been driven by the Minister of Public Works, Gerson Martinez. Speaking at the CoST Regional Conference on Transparency in Public Infrastructure the Minister said: 
“Public administration has to be public with total transparency of all contracts. It also requires a change in ethical behaviour to build trust between the private sector, government and civil society.”

Conference and CoST Interim Board Chair, Christiaan Poortman said 
“The Minister’s success demonstrates the importance of political leadership in driving improvements in transparency and ethical behaviour. It also demonstrates the importance of the multi-stakeholder approach, a key feature of the CoST Programme, in building trust between the different stakeholders.”

Hosted by CoST Guatemala and the Guatemalan Secretary of Control and Transparency, participants from Argentina, Brasil, El Salvador, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and Mexico heard about the latest ideas and innovations in transparency in the construction sector.

This included the development of guides by Instituto Ethos to explain ‘A fair game and a foul game’ to the public in the construction of the 2014 World Cup in Brasil and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janero and how citizens in Chile can prioritise infrastructure projects on a website.

About 60 participants also heard about the importance of training procuring entity staff on using INFObras, a portal disclosure in Peru and that 70% of the wood obtained from illegal logging in Ecuador is used in the construction sector.

The event also saw the Launch of the CoST Guatemala programme with supporting statements from Verόnica Taracena, Secretary of Control and Transparency, Álvaro Zepeda Guatemala Chamber of Construction and Marvin Flores from Acciόn Ciudadana.

The conference was followed by a one day workshop where the regional participants discussed the potential benefits of the CoST programme and how it may add value to their existing programmes.


Date Published: 9 December 2013
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