CoST- The Infrastructure Transparency Initiative is a multinational effort to explore how public construction projects could be made more transparent and accountable, reducing the mismanagement, waste, and corruption that are common in the sector. Governments, affected stakeholders, and the wider public all stand to benefit.
Within participating countries, CoST relies on a multistakeholder group comprising representatives of the public sector, private sector, and civil society. The use of a multistakeholder approach and the mobilisation of voluntary support have proven effective in creating a coalition for transparency in the construction industry at the country and international level. Giving civil society a credible role at the table on transparency issues is quite a new approach in the construction sector. Typically, the government as purchaser and the engineering profession and industry as suppliers have clearly defined roles and contractual obligations. The role of civil society has generally been limited to consultation with people adversely affected by social, environmental or safety impacts of projects
But civil society organisations are also concerned about transparency and the proper use of public funds, while local community groups are particularly interested in projects designed to meet their infrastructure needs (health, water, education). Acting independently of government and industry, civil society members have an important role as observers and participants in construction. They should be actively involved throughout the project cycle, from planning to ensuring effective implementation. This note reviews the pilot experience with civil society engagement, the main lessons learnt and opportunities to ensure transparency provides for greater accountability in public construction.
This is the eleventh in a series of briefing notes about CoST, its core features and its impact.