CoST is a country centred multi-stakeholder initiative, involving Public and Private Sectors as well as Civil Societies, designed to promote transparency and accountability in publicly financed construction.
CoST builds on the principles of transparency and accountability and applies this to the construction sector. The ultimate goal is to foster greater accountability by disclosing to the public, accurate and relevant information on the value and quality of government infrastructure projects. In each country, CoST is directed by a Multi-Stakeholder Group, composed of representatives from the Civil Society, the Private sector and the Government. Worldwide, CoST is guided by the International Advisory Group (IAG) to which each participating country provides a member.
At CoST’s core is the belief that the processes involved in the construction of public infrastructure must be made more transparent. The public must be armed with the information they need to hold decision makers to account and to ensure better value for money in the construction sector.
CoST is making this ideal a reality. It works with government agencies to gather, verify and disclose information into the public realm.
Creating a more transparent sector ultimately leads to better public infrastructure, offering potentially huge human benefits, for individuals and communities across the world. It also reduces waste in public budgets, enables fairer competition in the private sector and increased opportunities for investors.
How does CoST work?
CoST is a governance initiative that employs a multi-stakeholder approach. It involves government procuring entities and oversight agencies, private sector consultants and contractors, and civil society groups working together to improve transparency. CoST is a catalyst to driving change. It encourages demand and pressure for transparency by bringing together interested stakeholders from the public, private, and civil society sectors. The ultimate result is a new governance and accountability mechanism that builds on existing government institutions, regulations, and demand for increased transparency and better construction results.
CoST seeks to complement rather than replace a country’s supervision, audit, regulatory, investigative, and judicial functions. The complexity of the construction sector presents a major challenge to improving transparency. CoST uses the disclosure of key non-sensitive information and a multi-stakeholder approach to address this challenge. The relevance and local importance of the infrastructure helps to generate public demand for better management and delivery. CoST relies on existing oversight bodies to use the information generated. CoST’s Multi-Stakeholder Groups are essential in enabling this process, using their influence to demand greater transparency.
CoST was successfully piloted in eight countries between 2008 and 2011 with funding from the UK Department for International Development and support from the World Bank. CoST International Pilot Launch took place in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on May 2008. the eight countries that piloted the project for two years were Ethiopia, Malawi, Philippines, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Vietnam , Zambia and Guatemala.
The Global CoST was launched in October 2012 in South Africa and Zambia being one of the pilot countries participated in the launch.