New reports highlight the potential of CoST
Those on the ground believe CoST’s strength is its ability to “get simple information to the public…[and] reduce corruption in construction” whilst the international donor community “see CoST’s unique focus on transparency in infrastructure as filling an important gap”.
These are the findings from reports published this month into the value and potential of CoST, focusing on key achievements from 2011 to 2014 for the World Bank’s Development Grant Facility (DGF). The DGF supported CoST with US$1.5 million over three years during this period. Encompassing an independent evaluation of CoST by international development consultants Agulhas and the final report by Engineers Against Poverty (EAP) to the World Bank, they evidence the need for CoST in bringing stakeholders together to achieve better value from public infrastructure.
Key highlights emerging from the reports include: savings totalling US$8 million in public infrastructure; six new countries joining the programme; legal mandates for disclosure being established in four countries; and high-level endorsements received from the public and private sector including G20 and Bechtel. The reports also outline conclusions and recommendations for developing CoST further, in light of the current financial support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UK’s Department for International Development. The full reports are available here:
Conclusions have been drawn on the conditions required for success based on the experience of fourteen country programmes. Key to this is political will and the impact of the broader political economy. Nonetheless, the development of CoST’s reach into six new countries across four continents demonstrates the global demand for greater transparency and accountability in public infrastructure. CoST is now in a position to achieve the primary purpose of the grant which was to scale up the initiative into a Global Programme. As part of this work, CoST is currently undertaking a strategic review with the support of IMC Worldwide and an international advisory panel.
With the funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UK’s Department for International Development, CoST will continue to work with governments, industry and local communities around the world to get better value from public infrastructure investments. CoST is indebted to the World Bank for its support through the DGF and looks forward to future opportunities for collaboration.