CoST was initiated by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development in 2007. Drawing on the experience of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a conceptual design for CoST was prepared and a pilot exercise was launched in April 2008 with technical support from the World Bank. This pilot exercise covered a varied mix of countries and sectors of focus, with the primary goal being to promote multi-stakeholder approaches to construction projects, incorporating accountability and transparency.
Multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs) were created in each pilot country, each appointing a coordinator and consisting of representatives from government, the private sector and civil society. The three main activities undertaken in the pilot countries comprise the main components of the CoST transparency approach today:
Performing a baseline study which examines the local construction sector, laws and regulations relating to public administration and transparency, as well as relevant institutions and initiatives related to governance in the country in question. Key project information from a sample of recently completed infrastructure projects is also analysed as part of this study.
The disclosure process in a few procuring entities is tested, assembling a list of key project information from a sample of current ongoing projects before disclosing this information publicly.
Finally, an assurance review of the disclosed project information is undertaken, identifying causes for concern and releasing the findings to the stakeholders and the public.
Membership organization structure:
The CoST framework contains several features which are then applied and adapted within the specific country context, with disclosure, assurance and a multi-stakeholder approach being the three essential elements.