CoST Central America Workshop drives regional best practice

Over 30 Multi-Stakeholder Group Members from Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico and Guatemala recently heard how CoST offers a global standard for transparency and accountability in public infrastructure.

Speaking at the opening session of the CoST Central America Regional Workshop in El Salvador, Minister for Public Works in El Salvador, Gerson Martinez stated that “transparency and accountability in the use of public resources is a vital building block for a functioning democracy. This is especially important when climate resilient infrastructure investment is a vital component for sustainable economic development within the region.”

Ezequiel Miranda from World Bank Honduras added that CoST “offers a standard for transparency and accountability in public infrastructure that can drive regional best practice.”

Participants heard that Guatemala has to date disclosed data on 146 projects on their e-procurement portal Guatecompras and expects to disclose data on 6000 projects in 2015. They also heard that Honduras will introduce a legal requirement to disclose the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard next year. However, a diverse, context specific range of innovative mechanisms and communication strategies are required to ensure information reaches the public.

This means that building demand is essential for ensuring the on-going supply of information that has real meaning for the public. In this context social audits have the potential to help build demand by linking public infrastructure projects to the concerns of citizens.

The participants also agreed that multi-stakeholder participation is vital to ensuring the public do not view CoST as Government owned or controlled initiative.

Patricia Torrez, from the Department of Public of Administration Mexico, informed the participants that Mexico is piloting CoST on a public building project. The results of the pilot will be used to assess if Mexico applies to join CoST.

The workshop created a strong bond amongst the CoST Central American MSGs. All participants pledged to work together to deliver greater successes for CoST in the region. Ezequiel Miranda’s parting words resonated with all participants: ‘stay strong and continue your fight for CoST’.

The workshop was sponsored by GIZ Guatemala, World Bank Honduras, the Inter-American Development Bank El Salvador and the British Embassy in El Salvador.