Blog

Latin America open contracting helpdesk gets a new administrator

21 Ago 2019

Por Lindsey Marchessault, Nicolás Penagos, Juan Pane and Fabrizio Scrollini

Versión en español

Paraguay’s Centro de Desarrollo Sostenible (CDS) will run the Latin American open contracting helpdesk from October, in collaboration with the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP). CDS takes over the role from the Latin American Open Data Initiative (ILDA), which established the service in partnership with the OCP two years ago.

At the helpdesk team, we assist governments, businesses and civil society organizations in the region to open up their contracting data, through the implementation of open contracting policies based on the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). In our first two years, we sought to establish a service that could meet the growing interest in making public contracting in Latin America more open and accessible, among practitioners at the national level, as well as those in subnational government, civil society and the private sector. It was a highly successful, ongoing experiment; and a very valuable experience for us to generate evidence and to build capacity for open contracting in Latin America. Crucially, the experience also helped to foster the nascent open contracting community in the region.

We collaborated with 14 governments at the national and/or subnational level (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, and Uruguay). We also worked with 10 different civil society organizations, ranging from journalists to universities, in various countries. We organized several workshops across the region, such as Mexico City, as well as municipalities in Colombia and Paraguay. And we had the opportunity to present workshops at the International Data Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as well as at Abrelatam and Condatos in Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, and soon in Ecuador. 

Merging the technical and policy expertise of both the OCP and ILDA, together with our UK-based Helpdesk team at Open Data Services Cooperative, the helpdesk cemented its position as a go-to resource for open contracting in the region, and made advances at the policy and implementation levels. We’re proud of the team formed by ILDA, an organization whose mission is to generate knowledge to understand and promote open data policies and uses to advance inclusive development in Latin America. As diverse as the region itself, the helpdesk’s team members have an eye for detail and excellent technical expertise to overcome challenges.

Given ILDA’s new strategic priorities and evolution as a research-oriented organization, and the growth of this agenda in the region, we have agreed it is time for another remarkable Latin American organization to advance the helpdesk service delivery: the CDS, whose mission is to develop knowledge-based research and innovation projects with a high degree of social responsibility. 

With the transition from ILDA to CDS, we aim to push the helpdesk to a second stage in which we build on the implementation goals already achieved and focus more on providing guidance on using the Open Contracting Data Standard for impact.

ILDA, CDS and the OCP will continue collaborating to further promote the implementation and use of open contracting data in Latin America, in the quest to use the power of open data to reduce corruption, deliver better goods and services, and create more efficiency within governments in the region. At the Latin American helpdesk, we are thrilled to continue providing support and guidance as always to our partners (contact us anytime at data@open-contracting.org), and we’re excited to see you next week at Abrelatam and Condatos in Ecuador!