October 2013 Issue 2

Afghanistan joins CoST in determination to fight corruption

Afghanistan announced yesterday (23 October 2013) that it has joined the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST). Exactly one year after the launch of CoST's Global Programme, just ahead of the Open Government Partnership's global Transparency Week, the announcement from Kabul signifies an important step both for Afghanistan, and for CoST.

Afghanistan's national CoST programme will be led by the Ministry of Economy, and follows recommendations made by the Afghanistan Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) on the need for greater transparency in the construction of infrastructure. The announcement also reinforces the importance of President Hamed Karzai's 2012 executive decree, which focuses on the fight against corruption.

Afghanistan’s Minister of Economy, Abdul Hadi Arghandiwal, said, ‘Joining CoST represents a step-change for Afghanistan. In the post-war era, it is crucial that the way in which we approach oversight of public construction is consistent and open, battling against the corruption and mismanagement which can often be overlooked. As part of CoST, Afghanistan will be able to make this happen.'

Christiaan Poortman, Chair of the CoST Board, is excited about Afghanistan's membership of the initiative: 'The announcement in Kabul today demonstrates how important CoST can be for reconstruction and development in fragile states. The ability to put in place the right procedures and frameworks to ensure greater transparency will be essential to Afghanistan's future. I look forward to seeing all of the benefits that CoST will bring to the country.'

Open Government Partnership focuses on infrastructure

CoST has organised a high level panel discussion on “Transparency and Accountability in Public Infrastructure”, as part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit held in London. The session aims to provide a well-rounded view of the challenges and potential solutions to improving transparency and accountability in public infrastructure.

The Panel includes Julián Alfonso Olivas Ugalde, Secretary of Public Administration, Government of Mexico, Chris Vein, the Chief Innovation Officer for Global Information and Communications Technology Development at the World Bank, Neil Holt, Director International Ethics and Business Conduct CH2M HILL and Christiaan Poortman Chair, CoST Board.

The Panel discussion takes place on Thursday 31 October from 4.05 pm to 5.05 pm. Attendees Attendees must register in advance to attend the Summit.

Ethiopian Federal Public Procurement and Property Administration adopts CoST disclosure format

CoST Ethiopia has partnered with the Ethiopian Federal Public Procurement and Property Administration (FPPPA) for a major upgrade of its’ website.

The upgrade has increased the FPPPA website’s capacity, made it more user-friendly and incorporated the CoST disclosure format. The upgraded version and new disclosure format are expected to firmly enhance the implementation of the Ethiopia Procurement Proclamation and the associated Directive which requires the disclosure of the majority of items in the CoST standard list of project information.

Procuring entities are obliged by law to publish their Annual Procurement Plans on the website and are demanded to disclose their procurement milestones in transparent and timely manner.

To ensure compliance and uniformity in approach across all Federal procuring entities, CoST Ethiopia will organise a series of specialised trainings on the basics of CoST, information disclosure and the website applications. Federal procuring entities will also be working with CoST Ethiopia on disclosing information from several construction projects for six months commencing this November.

New CoST Guidance Notes published

The CoST International Secretariat has published a series of Guidance Notes outlining the steps associated with establishing and implementing a CoST programme. The notes are aimed at officials who are tasked with establishing a CoST programme, and Multi-Stakeholder Groups and National Secretariats who are implementing a CoST programme.

The series covers the core features of CoST: Multi-Stakeholder working, disclosure and assurance and how a country can join CoST. The Guidance Notes listed below are available from the CoST website:

Guidance Note 1: Impact Stories

Guidance Note 2: Joining CoST 
Guidance Note 3: Developing an Implementation Plan 
Guidance Note 4: Establishing a Multi-Stakeholder Group and National Secretariat 
Guidance Note 5: Scoping Study 
Guidance Note 6: Designing a Disclosure Process 
Guidance Note 7: Designing an Assurance Process

Please contact the 
CoST International Secretariat for further information.

Date Published: 16 December 2013
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