2022 Open Contracting Champion: Fabián López Xochipa
What has been your proudest moment or achievement in building accountability or transparency into government?
Considering Mexico City is the second-largest city in Latin America, and our government serves nearly 16 million inhabitants and spends over 4.1 billion dollars every year in public contracts, I am proud to say that we are the first local city to implement a full open contracting strategy through Tianguis Digital. This strategy covers three main areas: the registration, transactions, and monitoring of public procurement; the publication of all procurement processes in the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) format; and public discussions of city procurement projects with a full, end-to-end digital procedure. Our Tianguis Digital strategy has won several local and international awards, and this inspires me to keep leading more changes in my city and across the Latin American region.
For your fellow open contracting champions out there—what is the #1 piece of advice you would share with a reformer working to increase accountability, transparency, or participation in government?
The fight against corruption is a never-ending activity. So, you will often find people saying things like: “never mind,” “we are fighting a monster,” or “this is impossible.” But baby steps always work. Failures will happen, but in this never-ending fight we need to have a resilient mindset, trust the process, and results will come sooner than later.
What has been the most unexpected challenge you’ve faced in this work?
Unexpectedly, the creation of digital platforms, new technology, or implementing reforms isn’t the biggest challenge—the reluctance from public servants to changing internal dynamics and the aversion to using digital tools is. On one hand, this is due to lack of knowledge and abilities with new tools, and in other cases it is due to risk of corrupt activities. Yet, with time and persistence in the work, transparency and innovation can become contagious and create a new environment that everyone wants to be part of.
If public procurement was a sport, which one do you think it would be and why?
Public procurement is like football: sometimes you need to be on offense, and some other times you need to be on defense, in order to score the points you need to gain some yards against your opponents. But working as a team and having a good strategy is the key to winning the game.