ICE teamed up with government departments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and leading engineers to take part in the international launch of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST). The campaign calls on more countries and organisations to implement greater transparency in public infrastructure projects.
The event took place on 22 October, following a three-year pilot project across eight different countries, which included the UK.
Counting the CoST
Where CoST has been implemented in the UK, projects have been set out as examples of best practice, as well as a strong basis for projections on potential savings. The UK Government has also committed to implementing CoST as part of its programme to reduce infrastructure costs by £2.5bn per annum.
In the Philippines, another pilot nation, it is estimated that 30-50% of the budget for public works is lost in leakages. Other countries who piloted CoST include Guatemala and Ethiopia.
Taking the initiative
CoST was officially launched by Christiaan Poortman, Chairman of CoST’s Interim Board; Paul Kett, Co-chair of the G20 Anti-corruption Working Group; Jamie Drummond, Co-founder and Executive Director of ONE; and ICE Vice President Geoff French, in his capacity as President of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers.
International development campaigner Jamie Drummond said that the initiative would help make complicated reporting more understandable, leading to better use of resources and a platform for the public to ask questions of governments around the use of public money.
Paul Kett commented that CoST would help deliver better infrastructure projects, leading to wider social and economic benefits, and all countries would stand to take advantage, not just developing ones.
CoST began in 2008 and has since been given support by the G20 group of nations and the World Bank.
ICE has hosted the UK CoST multi-stakeholder group and helped the UK programme develop by using its strong relationships with government and the private sector to promote the benefits of disclosing public spending within the construction sector. This has led to support from the Department for International Development, the Treasury and the Cabinet Office.
Geoff French said at the launch that public infrastructure is meant to be “for the benefit of the general population but is often tainted by corruption, misappropriation and mismanagement of public money.”
He concluded by calling on “governments across the world to support CoST, to ensure that future projects are open, accountable and managed properly.”
Visit the CoST website to find out more or see how the initiative could help you.