As 2020 draws to a close, we reflect on what has been a tumultuous year – but one in which we have also seen renewed calls for social justice and the desire to ‘’build back better’’ after the life-changing events of recent months. CoST teams globally have worked to hold governments to account as the pandemic and other crises unfurled, testing and showcasing the adaptive nature of the CoST approach. We’ve also launched the ground-breaking Infrastructure Transparency Index, and closed the year by publishing our new, ambitious five-year plan to strengthen economies and improve lives. Below, we dive into some of the top-performing posts on our website over the course of the year.
1. The CoST Covid-19 response
The Covid-19 pandemic struck with unprecedented scale and severity, exposing fragilities in health systems and political leadership worldwide. In a short period of time, CoST activities were reshaped, readjusted and redesigned to this new reality. CoST’s public, open and ongoing record of innovative good practice from our members has been updated throughout the year, to capture some of the new and diverse ways we are responding to the crisis. Read more.
2. International Women’s Day interview with Foman Forough
To mark International Women’s Day, CoST spoke to Foman Forough – Adviser to Afghanistan’s Minister of Energy and Water – about her experience as a female engineer in Afghanistan and her role on CoST Afghanistan’s Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG). CoST Afghanistan’s MSG continues to diversify, and Foman has now been joined by the Minister for Economy, HE Dr Karima Hamed Faryabi, who now Chairs the MSG. Read more.
3. Reflections on Saudi Arabia’s G20 agenda
CoST Executive Director, Petter Matthews, continued his role as Chair of the Civil Society 20 (C20) Infrastructure Working Group this year, and took up a new position on the C20 Steering Committee. This blog reflects on the the C20 Kick-Off Meetings which were held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where there was a continued emphasis on establishing infrastructure as an asset class. CoST and Eurodad explored this theme further in their joint session at the C20 Summit, which dived into diverging approaches from G20, C20, private sector and civil society as to infrastructure financing. Read more.
4. CoST Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana launches first assurance report
The metropolitan area of Sekondi -Takoradi joined CoST as part of the 2019 competitive process, and since then went on to publish its first assurance report in early 2020. The report revealed overall disclosure rates of 73% in Sekondi-Takoradi, a positive starting point for the burgeoning CoST programme to work from. The launch event – which drew influential figures from across the stakeholder spectrum – aimed to spark discussion and galvanise the support needed to ensure Sekondi-Takoradi’s continued improvement. Read more.
5. Bringing NGOs together to maintain focus on transparency and accountability
As Covid-19 hit, the need for strengthened transparency and accountability mechanisms to ensure an effective response became increasingly pertinent. Accountability Lab, CoST and Hivos convened an open call to international development funders to maintain support for transparency and accountability initiatives, underscoring how crucial these principles are to effective public spending in times of crisis. Over 80 representatives from international and national NGOs joined the call as outlined in the post. Read more.