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By Melissa Ruggles

“The transparency of multilateral organisations is inadequate. Access to financial data of multilateral organisations is limited.” That is the major outcome of the recent study published by CordaidHivos and the Open State Foundation. They found that it is still not possible to track money flows to and from many multilateral organisations, organisations that (should) set the global example for how to be transparent.

Follow the money

Publishing financial data is one of the key stepping stones to being able to ‘follow the money’ and open up contracting processes. Open contracting is vital to modernising governments, fighting corruption, reforming markets and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. Better, smarter and fairer government contracting – with the active participation of citizens – can improve lives everywhere.

Image: Pixabay

The Dutch government is an active member in the multilateral organisations examined in the quick study and, as such, should lead with its reputation to champion transparency within these organisations and likewise with fellow national governments worldwide. The next Open Contracting Global Summit, which coincidentally will be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 27-28 November, offers the perfect opportunity and backdrop from which the Dutch government—together with the many international civil society organisations present—can escalate the international momentum around opening up contracting processes for greater transparency, efficiency and accountability.

The summit is bringing together the global open contracting community to collectively articulate how we can take open contracting to the next level and deliver impact on the ground. Together, we will share what’s working, what’s not and what to do about it, how to turn data into impact on people's lives, what are the best user tools to improve procurement and how to meet user needs and build alliances. We will look at innovations in key sectors from infrastructure to health to extractives, give the stage to inspirational champions from government, business and civil society, and show examples of how they can all work together to make open contracting a success. Hivos and Article 19’s Open Up Contracting programme will also feature in these discussions. 

Image: Hivos, Open Contracting Summit 2017.

Open Up Contracting programme

Through the programme that is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, partners and projects in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Indonesia, Philippines, Guatemala, and Bolivia are supported in their efforts to use contracting data and public revenue flows for public scrutiny and advocacy campaigns, and to translate the data into meaningful information for citizens. This way, citizens can gain insight into what governments and businesses are doing, how they obtain and spend (public) money and hold them to account. 

While opening up contracting is not something that will happen overnight, real progress is being made. At the summit and beyond, the open contracting global community will capitalise on the impetus to further drive the global movement towards more efficient, transparent and accountable open contracting processes worldwide, with civil society and citizens front and centre.

For more information about Open Contracting and how you can play a role, check out the video and links below:

The Open Up Contracting website: https://www.openupcontracting.org/

The Open Contracting Summit website: http://www.opencontracting2017.org/