Below are selected examples of our research and policy analysis.
We produce scoping studies looking at the extent to which infrastructure transparency, participation and accountability (TPA) is being achieved in various sub-national and national settings and how it could be improved. More specifically, the studies ascertain how the EAP hosted programme, CoST – Infrastructure Transparency Initiative could drive forward improvements.
The studies are grounded in a robust political economy analysis. They provide an overview of infrastructure needs and plans, identify the strategies, laws and regulations in place to enhance transparency and accountability, how the legal framework is implemented in practice and which governance institutions and initiatives overseeing the process. Our scoping studies have promoted a solid understanding among policy-makers on the need to improve TPA and/or join CoST.
CoST Uganda Scoping Study: Driving forward change
In 2017 CoST Uganda published a Scoping Study which showed a low level of data publication of key information across the infrastructure project cycle. Putting data in the public domain is essential to highlight red flags and promote greater accountability. The study found that only 34% of the data points on the CoST Infrastructure Data Standard was being disclosed by public procuring entities. It provided a good benchmark to improve the TPA environment, and in the year that followed improvements had been made. In 2018, the programme published its second review (known as CoST assurance) of infrastructure data from various projects and found 62% of the CoST IDS points were published.
CoST research spotlights how infrastructure governance issues affect all economies
The impact of a lack of efficiency, mismanagement and corruption is greater in low income countries, but these issues still abound in high-income countries. This has been corroborated by research from CoST as well as a recent publication from the IMF. A high-income study published by CoST in 2019 assessed the infrastructure governance environment in Argentina, Lithuania, Scotland, the UK and Denmark, finding issues in data disclosure, planning, stakeholder engagement and delivering projects to time and budget. The study helped to pave the way for Scotland to improve its infrastructure related open government commitments and for Buenos Aires, Argentina in recognising the value in joining CoST.
EAP’s cutting-edge research such as Modifying Infrastructure Procurement to Enhance Social Development was ahead of key thinking now evident among multilateral and other international organisations. This outlined the value of enhancing social development at the same time as meeting business objectives, including that the greatest social benefit will be derived if construction projects are identified, planned and designed in alignment with national development plans. The publication drew on a detailed analysis of documentation followed by focus group discussions in four case study countries, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Nigeria. Our findings were presented to the African Development Bank, European Commission and to other stakeholders in individual developing countries. Click here for more briefing notes on social value.
From 2020 – 2021 we produced a series of Insights papers focussed on key issues in infrastructure delivered for Mega Sports Events (MSE). The papers were based on an extensive literature review and desk-based research to highlight the issues and recommendations in three issues commonly found in the events including: labour rights, social accountability and corruption. The papers were endorsed and covered by key organisations and press to amplify the findings to governments, sports organisers and procuring entities of infrastructure projects. They were covered by the Centre for Sports and Human Rights, Sports and Development, Construction Today and the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.
We have collaborated with partners such as the Overseas Development Institute and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to produce research reports on issues ranging from promoting migrant construction workers rights to the opportunities and challenges at the nexus of infrastructure, development and climate change.
Our research reports are often grounded on a political economy analysis of certain countries or regions. For example our three-part series (here, here and here) looking at migrant construction workers’ rights in the Gulf Cooperation Council assessed the legal and policy framework in several GCC countries and gave recommendations based on an analysis of what has worked elsewhere. These recommendations included the implementation of innovative methods and legislation to address the critical issue of late or no payment to workers. Our other research can be found here.