From Mexico City to St. Petersburg and Seoul: Raising awareness of CoST
Over the last few weeks, CoST has been invited around the world to discuss delivering better value from infrastructure. Below are our highlights from the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2015 (27-29 October, Mexico), Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention Against Corruption (2-6 November, Russia) and World Road Congress (2-6 November, South Korea).
CoST provides good governance partnerships for sustainable development
On 28 October, CoST Chairman Chrik Poortman joined a high-level panel at Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2015 in Mexico City. Entitled Governance Partnerships for Sustainable Development, the panel discussed the application of open governance to sustainability objectives. With representatives from the private sector including Microsoft, Cisco and KPMG, Chrik discussed how CoST principles and standards resultin better value for money whilst contributingto more sustainable development.
With infrastructure forming such a core part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Chrik warned that precaution needs to be taken so that infrastructure maximizes growth and benefits for society so as to resultin sustainable development. An environment of transparency and accountability is therefore key. Chrik highlighted how CoST supports this development to provide better value for money and ultimately contributes to more sustainable development.
CoST makes public procurement public
Petter Matthews, Executive Director of CoST, joined a side session on 2 November at the sixth Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to discuss how governments, companies and civil society can act collectively to keep corruption out of procurement. Organised by Transparency International (TI) Business Integrity Programme, in collaboration with TI Russia, the UN Global Compact and the UN Global Compact Russian network, Petter presented CoST as an innovative model for public-private cooperation which promotes integrity and transparency in the public procurement system.
Petter demonstrated how CoST enables collective action to help drive improvements in the value for money of infrastructure investment. He explained that there is a danger that governments can experience 'initiative overload' when it comes to developing transparency and accountability, calling for better coordination amongstcurrent initiatives. Though infrastructure is one of the most corrupt sectors, Petter affirmed that there are many principled public officials and construction companies working to improve integrity. For example, Alfredo Camarena of the Mexican Government highlighted their electronic portal Compranet which allows the public to see what the Government is doing. Yet as the audience debate continued, it was agreed that transparency alone is not sufficient and must form part of a wider reform package.
CoST enhancing transparency and accountability in public infrastructure
On 4 November Professor George Ofori, CoST Deputy Chair, presented CoST at the 25th World Road Congress in Seoul as a means of mitigating corruption in infrastructure. Specialists from more than 120 countries came together to discuss creating new value from transport. The roads of the future are expected to create new spaces with the adjoining land, generate energy using sunlight and geothermal heat, and create a new culture and social functions to satisfy all kinds of needs. Recognising the enormous potential of roads, Professor Ofori explained how CoST supports the values that may lead to these advanced technologies by fostering transparency and accountability in infrastructure. Focusing on the multi-stakeholder approach, Professor Ofori demonstrated how CoST yields tangible benefits by involving government, industry and civil society in the public procurement process.