CoST was launched as a global initiative in South Africa and the UK in October 2012 with the support of the World Bank. Since then, CoST has grown to fifteen countries with Botswana, El Salvador, Honduras, Uganda, Thailand and the Ukraine joining since the launch.
CoST grew out of the lessons learnt from a three-year pilot programme which tested the viability of a new transparency and accountability process in eight countries. The pilot countries represented four continents and a mix of country types:
CoST Pilot Launch in Dar el Salaam, Tanzania, May 2008
The pilot programme trialled the viability of new governance and accountability processes. The purpose was 'to pilot a new multi-stakeholder approach to public sector procurement of major construction projects which increases transparency and accountability’. The pilot applied to projects of different sizes and from a range of different sectors such as roads, housing, water, flood protection, schools and health centres.
Each country established a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) comprising members from government, private sector, and civil society organisations. The MSG appointed a coordinator who managed day to day operations.
The MSG in each country piloted the three main activities that form the basis of CoST transparency processes:
- Development of a baseline study to profile the local construction sector, the laws and regulations relating to public administration and transparency, and relevant institutions and initiatives relating to governance in the country. The study also comprised analysis of key project information from a sample of recently completed infrastructure projects.
- Testing of the disclosure process in a few procuring entities, assembling a list of key project information from a sample of current ongoing projects and publicly disclosing the data.
- Performance of an assurance review of the disclosed project information, identifying causes for concern and helping stakeholders to understand the main issues.
For further information on the pilot outcomes and lessons, please read the CoST Briefing Notes.