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To Beat Covid-19, Governments Need to Open Up


We won’t recover from the pandemic unless leaders can persuade citizens that they’re spending wisely.
The world will not be rid of Covid-19 until we have a safe and effective vaccine available to everyone. We will not recover from the far-reaching economic impact of the pandemic without a new social compact between governments and citizens based on transparent, accountable and trustworthy governance.
Every day that the crisis continues, the value of more open government becomes clearer. Getting medical equipment, and eventually vaccines, to those that need them most poses a major governance challenge. Already, many countries are battling price gouging, collapsing supply chains and even corruption in the procurement of supplies, including personal protective equipment. Out of desperation, governments have contracted with suppliers who have no track record of delivering the equipment they need. Too often those suppliers have failed.
The only way to make emergency procurement fast and efficient is to do it in the open by publishing all tenders and all contracts. That’s what Ukraine’s open contracting system aims to do: Civil society groups have monitored the prices of surgical masks over the past several weeks and called attention to potential price gouging.
Paraguay and Colombia have taken similar approaches by publishing emergency contracts as open data, which independent groups use to track price differences for Covid-19 supplies.

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