Why we make infrastructure transparent in Honduras

CoST Honduras is part of the global CoST initiative, delivering better value from public infrastructure investment through transparency and accountability.

Since our partnership with the World Bank to launch SISOCS, a subsystem of the national e-procurement portal in Honduras, information has been disclosed on over 400 road projects accounting for US$567 million in infrastructure investment. Our latest CoST Honduras assurance report saw disclosure rates increase from 24 to 97 per cent overall in a sample of public infrastructure projects.  These statistics prove that through open governance, we are consistently strengthening transparency in public infrastructure. But we do not work tirelessly with civil society, industry and government to open up public infrastructure investment for statistics. We do it because better value public infrastructure changes lives.

We want the safety of citizens to be first priority

A9D7160C-3923-4A59-B9CD-D85E72803F80@ARRIS As part of our Assurance process, CoST Honduras visits infrastructure project sites to review practices and highlight any issues of concern. Upon review of a road maintenance project in Central Honduras, our Assurance Team and the local Citizen Transparency Commission discovered that the construction company was not complying with environmental standards. Asphalt was being burnt in open containers on the roadside, releasing toxic chemicals into the atmosphere that can have a range of harmful side effects for the local community from headaches to skin cancer. CoST Honduras working together with citizens immediately alerted the supervision company to this damaging practice and thus, the materials were properly managed and there was greater awareness of environmental considerations.

We want citizens be at the forefront of infrastructure investment

Infrastructure can change lives for the better by providing access to everything from education and healthcare to sanitation and markets. However if poorly conceived, infrastructure can have a negative impact on the lives of citizens. Our Assurance process highlighted that one road project (Las Crucitas-Teupasenti) was facing delays of over a year as the preparation plans had not considered the impact of the works on local communities. No feasibility study had been undertaken and no resettlement plan had been developed. The road was due to cut through communities and yet those living there had not been considered, leading to distress for citizens and severe delays in the project. We therefore worked closely with the Ministry of Infrastructure to secure a commitment going forward that resettlement plans would be developed prior to the invitation to tender.

We want to empower citizens to hold decision makers to account

6E57ABC3-DDE6-45F0-9227-BF2336DA693F@ARRISInfrastructure investment is not an abstract concept that is of little interest to citizens. It affects every aspect of their lives and they want to have a role in its development. Through SISOCS, citizens in Honduras now have access to information on the construction, supervision and maintenance of public infrastructure projects – and they’re using it! Following SISOCS training provided by CoST Honduras to local communities, citizens in 3 municipalities (Siguatepeque, Jesus de Otoro and La Esperanza) formed their own monitoring network to follow up on their local infrastructure projects. Going out onto the roads, they compared the data available on SISOCS to the projects in reality and highlighted cases where works had not been done or where they had been done insufficiently. They are now working closely with our Assurance Team and putting pressure on the contracting authorities and their local policy-makers to demand better value from their public infrastructure.

This is why we fight for transparency. This is why open government is crucial. This is why Honduran citizens need us. Our statistics show that it is working but our stories show that there is more to be done. We’re therefore delighted to be working with the Open Government Partnership to make government more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens on infrastructure investment and help change lives. Find out more about the CoST initiative and how you can get involved online today!

Authors: CoST Honduras
Filed Under: Champions