London, June 20, 2007
At a meeting attended by international construction firms, NGOs (including IFRTD) and representatives from Vietnam, Ghana, Phillippines, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, former Secretary of State for International Development Hilary Benn outlined how a new initiative to increase transparency and accountability in the construction sector will work. He also announced that UK will lead the way by being one of the pilot countries for this new initiative called the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST). In his opening address Mr. Benn said that “The new initiative will help deliver a ‘get what you pay for’ culture to the industry. It will help create greater transparency around the flow of money, and the quality of roads, schools, hospitals that are built with it.
Designed by an international steering group, including Transparency International and IT Transport, CoST will bring together the essential players in publicly funded construction projects including government ministries and agencies, construction companies and contractors, and civil society. Working on the principle of making information available to, and accessible by, the public, each country pilot will set up a new framework for making information public on:
- the purpose and location of a project;
- its projected cost, and specification; and
- the quality and cost of the final outcome.
The meeting helped finalise details of the initiative and some of the next steps were agreed, including the countries that will take part in a two year pilot of the scheme.
Putting such information into the public domain to improve accountability and efficiency has been successfully trialled by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which started in 2002 and has helped reduce corruption in the natural resource mining industries in countries such as Nigeria. For more information please visit www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/pressreleases/construction-transparency.asp