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2022 Open Contracting Champion: Evan Freund

What is the most important role open contracting plays in the fight against corruption?

Open contracting allows for a “levelling of the playing field,” providing more opportunities for the many stakeholders who stand to benefit from, use or potentially be impacted by infrastructure an opportunity to exercise voice and utilize data –increasing the likelihood that infrastructure is appropriately planned, sited, designed, and procured. For positive environmental outcomes, this is particularly critical. Introducing corruption into the procurement or contracting phase increases the potential for suboptimal environmental outcomes, locked into place for the life of the asset, and beyond.  Moreover, environmental considerations are often perceived to be costly, inconvenient, or both – and therefore the easiest to ignore when selecting a contractor. 

This year we had a nomination process for the first time. Who would YOU nominate for this Advancing Accountability champions campaign? Who do you look up to?

I cannot identify a single individual, but rather feel that there is great work being done by all the individuals advocating for the environment and acting as champions for nature. They are often confronting complicated and daunting challenges related to poorly planned or improperly awarded infrastructure projects and can increasingly look to and utilizes tools to hold decision makers accountable.

Transparency and accountability are just the means to an end. In your work, what are the most important end goals? How can reducing corruption risk create better social, economic, or environmental outcomes?

Corrupt practices, skewed or misaligned incentives at the planning stages of a large scale infrastructure project can lead to irreversible ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss and undermine economic and social development objectives. Increased transparency and inclusivity during the earliest stages of the infrastructure lifecycle – namely the planning and procurement phases – are fundamental to enabling positive environmental outcomes in the delivery of infrastructure. The WWF-OCP Partnership is a great collaboration, and provides us an opportunity to leverage conservation and infrastructure contracting expertise to optimize sustainable infrastructure development outcomes.

If public procurement was an animal, which one do you think it would be and why?  

As a WWF employee, I had to answer this question!  Public procurement would most certainly be a giant squid – mysterious and complex, multi-armed and slow moving at times, but also exceptionally quick when it needs to be.

Find Evan on Linkedin.

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