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Municipal governments begin to see benefits of open government tools

More than 50 representatives from municipal governments responsible for digital public procurement from across the emerging Europe region have met in the Moldovan capital Chișinău to explore and discuss the opportunities to improve public spending using open government tools.

“Open contracting is a prime example of the transformative nature that open government innovations have had. Prozorro in Ukraine was first the first in the region where open contracting was ever used, and now the MTender programme in Moldova has reached the next level – the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) has been employed to support end-to-end digital procurement. Open government has been put at heart of the public procurement system to engage citizens and business in identifying and fixing public procurement problems,” said Eliza Niewiadomska, senior counsel at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Around 35 governments worldwide currently implement open contracting as a way to create access to public procurement information and engage stakeholders to make procurement more efficient and transparent. Local governments and major cities are increasingly realising its potential. About half of those governments are actively implementing the OCDS, the open data standard that is at the heart to unlocking and using public contracting data to drive radical transparency, lower barriers for competition and fight corruption at every level.

“Making the public procurement process more transparent has proven to have an impact on curbing corruption and strengthening trust in these processes, at every level of government, as well as  improving competitiveness, lowering barriers to entry for small and medium-sized enterprises, all of which are essential for achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030,” said Valeria Ieseanu, head of programme at UNDP Moldova.

“On average, governments spend around 20 per cent of their GDP through public procurement. An open contracting approach can help governments ensure that public funding translates into better public services, and improved quality of life, which is in public interest. We at the Open Contracting Partnership, together with our partners work hard to help governments do just that by using structured data and engaging them, business and CSOs to use that data for their own benefits,” said Karolis Granickas, senior programme manager at Open Contracting Partnership.

The meeting was convened by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Open Contracting Partnership, the EBRD and the World Trade Organisation to introduce the idea and philosophy of open government and open contracting to municipal leaders and other stakeholders in the region and beyond. The purpose of the meeting was to share the experience of Moldova and other countries in the region, and for the partners in the meeting to support the usage of the open contracting data standard across the region, based on emerging good practices.