Enshrined in law: CoST Guatemala endorsed by Congress

The Guatemalan Congress of the Republic, the country’s unicameral legislature, has ratified a law which mandates disclosure of 31 of the 40 CoST Infrastructure Data Standard (IDS) data points through Guatecompras, the national e-procurement portal. In all cases, for all projects, across all Procuring Entities (PEs), this is a tremendous achievement which will only strengthen transparency and accountability in public infrastructure for Guatemala.

Effective as of 28 October 2016, this ratification is the result of a tireless advocacy effort on the part of CoST Guatemala to strengthen the legal mandate for disclosure. Progressing from legal regulations through an Executive Decree to inclusion in the Annual Budget Law and now in the State Procurement Law ratified by Congress, CoST Guatemala has secured a sustainable legal basis for disclosure that is no longer be affected by changes in the Administration. CoST Guatemala will continue to work with the Ministry of Public Finance to mandate disclosure of all 40 CoST IDS data points.

Rafael Poitevin, Director of Guate Cívica and CoST Guatemala MSG Civil Society Representative, said: “As a member of the Multisectoral Group, we are deeply gratified by the effort that has been made to bring Guatemalans a legal basis under the law of state contracting that will improve the quality and expense of public works in the country, there by generating better development and well-being for Guatemalans. The Transparency for the construction sector is advancing, and we will continue to work applying social auditing as a tool that will allow us to ensure compliance with the law and especially the Infrastructure Data Standard that the CoST Initiative promotes“.

CoST Guatemala is working closely with PEs to turn policy into practice and ensure compliance with disclosure requirements. In 2016, CoST Guatemala provided training to over 300 officials across 30 PEs to strengthen their understanding of disclosure and its resulting efficiency gains. In recognition of the need to drive change from the bottom up as well as top down, CoST Guatemala has also received endorsement from the President of the National Association of Municipalities (ANAM). President of ANAM, Edwin Escobar, has recommended that all city halls within the Guatemalan network implement CoST principles and standards. Going forward, CoST Guatemala will work with PEs at the local and national level to create a culture of transparency for better value public infrastructure.