In Honduras and Panama, governments are taking steps to institutionalise the CoST approach in recognition of the role that transparency, open data and citizen engagement play in public infrastructure investment. As both programmes have matured – CoST Honduras was established six years ago and CoST Panama three – a familiar pattern has emerged: governments have seen the impact of disclosure, assurance and social accountability on project and sectoral performance, and are increasingly receptive to CoST recommendations as a result. We are now seeing these governments take steps to strengthen policies around infrastructure data disclosure and reinforce their partnerships with CoST.
CoST Honduras has been recognised as a trusted partner by the government on various occasions throughout 2020. As the Covid-19 crisis unfurled, the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, committed to working with CoST to ensure emergency procurement and construction meets the country’s transparency commitments. When, in November 2020, the government published an executive decree on the establishment of a new Ministry of Transparency, it pledged to coordinate with initiatives including CoST to align the ministry with international transparency standards.
As Honduras rebuilds after the destruction of Hurricanes Eta and Iota, the government has now called upon CoST Honduras to support reconstruction efforts. Initially, CoST Honduras will work with Citizen Transparency Commissions to assess the levels of disclosure and quality of new projects, and in the future will carry out assurance processes to highlight the accuracy and completeness of data disclosed.
In September 2020, Panama’s Public Procurement Law was amended to include an article on Open Data in Public Procurement. This means procuring entities are now obliged to publish all data related to public contracting on the “PanamaenObras” and “PanamaCompra” systems, in an open data format. The data published on “PanamaenObras’’ will be done so in line with the CoST IDS until 2021, after which, data will be published in line with CoST and Open Contracting Partnership’s flagship standard, Open Contracting for Infrastructure Data Standard (OC4IDS).
Aída Martínez Mórtola, CoST Panamá Country Manager, said:
By publishing data throughout the entirety of the project cycle, transparency in public procurement will significantly increase. As a result, we will move from public contracting to open contracting, with standardised and open data available to citizens. This will promote citizen participation and social accountability, and will strengthen the public procurement system as a whole.