The PPP and the Bumpy Road of Procurement Monitoring

by Kristina Aquino

Over the last few years, I have seen my fair share of citizen programs and initiatives come to life in an excited, and often loud, snap – usually, in a workshop or meeting setting – only to peter out quietly some time later. For the most part, this is understandable; we can hardly expect all programs, no matter how well intentioned, to be successful or to last forever. And while I can get as ecstatic as the next workshop facilitator or participant when it comes to plans to do something for good governance in (insert country here), I am perhaps more pragmatic than most of my colleagues. I am very cautious when it comes to new initiatives. This stands as a brave preface to my next statement – the Partnership for Public Procurement in Mongolia, judging by my usual indicators, should have quieted down a few months ago but it continues to barrel forward in its goals.
At this point, it must be clarified that this is not a negative judgment on the strength of the year-old network, but a testament to its resilience. In ANSA-EAP, we have developed a four-pronged framework for assessing the social accountability quotient of a context or situation or what we call the “enabling environment”. Barring major unforeseen hindrances, four factors greatly influence the success of social accountability action: a government responsive to citizen involvement, organized and capable citizen groups, relatively wide access to information, context-appropriate interventions and approaches. Upon closer inspection, Mongolian public procurement, I have come to realize during my September 2012 mission, does not easily lend itself to social accountability, which is ultimately what the Partnership is working towards.

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