×

UPDATE BLOG ON INTEGRITY PACTS LATVIA / JULY-DECEMBER 2019

Here comes our regular update on the progress of the project “Integrity Pacts Latvia”, covering the months between July and December 2019. Following the suspension of the Skanste Tramline project, Transparency International Latvia’s team has focused on the promotion of the Integrity Pacts at the national level, engaging state authorities and citizens on the potential for the use of the tool to monitor EU funds in Latvia’s municipalities after 2020.

 

MONITORING THE SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE CENTRAL FINANCE AND CONTRACTING AGENCY (CFLA) AND RIGA TRAFFIC

 

Transparency International Latvia’s monitoring activities in the framework of the Integrity Pacts ended in May 2019, when the managing authority – the Central Finance and Contracting Agency (CFLA) – decided to terminate the contract with Riga Traffic on implementation of the Skanste tram project co-funded by EU funds. This came after the CFLA identified disproportionate risks related to the implementation, including possible procurement fraud, reported by TI Latvia. Following this decision, the CFLA mandated Riga Traffic to refund €451.304, which it had received until then.

 

Between July and December 2019, TI Latvia followed the settlement talks between the MA and the CA over the refunding. While initially the repayment deadline was 3 August 2019, Riga Traffic has not made any reimbursement yet. Negotiations for a possible settlement between the CFLA and Riga Traffic were ongoing at the time of the writing of this article, but according to information available to TI Latvia, no agreement has been reached so far.

 

 

COMMUNICATION AND PROMOTION OF THE INTEGRITY PACTS

 

Media visibility In August 2019, TI Latvia published on its website a summary of its monitoring work on the Skanste tram project, and in September engaged in public discussions and expression of opinion about amendments to the public procurement system. Project Manager Jānis Veide was featured in a reportage for the major national media LNT and an extended interview with him was published on the national public procurement magazine.

 

Promotion of Summer School activitiesIn September, TI Latvia published an article and an informative video summarizing the experience and takeaways from the Summer School (organized at the end of June in Cēsis) as well as positive feedbacks from participants on the activities they took part in. These included a lecture on the Integrity Pacts in Latvia, and the potential use of this tool at the local level.

 

Experience-sharingIn October 2019, TI Latvia took part in an Integrity Pact Project Partner Meeting in Brussels, bringing together TI Chapters and other non-governmental organizations involved in the project. At the meeting, TI Latvia shared in a presentation its latest updates on the implementation of the Integrity Pact in the country, including issues related to the suspension of EU funding for the project due to corruption allegations against Riga Traffic. The meeting also allowed TI Latvia’s team to gain insights on the IP’s implementation in other countries. Furthermore, in the course of the visit, TI Latvia shared project results with the Latvian community in Belgium at the Latvian Embassy in Brussels.

 

Integrity Pacts in the Anti-corruption Day 2019On 9 December 2019, in occasion of the International Anti-Corruption Day, TI Latvia organized an Open-Door Day, inviting anyone interested in anti-corruption to visit TI Latvia’s premises and learn more about the organization’s advocacy work. Activities that took place during the event also included a presentation on the use of IP and other citizen engagement tools for monitoring public procurement.

 

Conference – A couple of days later, on 11 December 2019, TI Latvia, in collaboration with the Procurement Monitoring Bureau, organized the conference “Fair Procurement: Digitalization, Transparency, Competition”. The conference aimed to discuss amendments to public procurement regulation and approaches by different public institutions, the results of IP implementation in Latvia, the potential future use of the tool and other innovative approaches in open contracting. Speakers and attendees included representatives from a wide range of state institutions, NGOs and private companies, including experts from the Procurement Monitoring Bureau, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Competition Council, the CFLA and the former CEO of Rail Baltica railway project.

 

Conclusions, videos and presentations from the conference are available on TI Latvia’s web site at this link: https://delna.lv/lv/2019/12/17/konferences-secinajumi-sabiedribas-iesaiste-palidz-identificet-negodigus-iepirkumus/

 

Evaluation of Integrity Pacts project in LatviaIn the final months of 2019, TI Latvia also began designing the methodology for the final evaluation of the Integrity Pact project, which will result in the release of a public report in May 2020. The report will aim not only to assess the main changes brought about by the implementation of the IP in Latvia since the beginning of 2016 as well as lesson learned, but also to develop practical recommendations for state institutions, NGOs and other interest groups on how to implement the IPs in future projects.

 

 

ADVOCACY

 

Improving the public procurement system through the implementation of Integrity Pacts at the local levelIn summer 2019, the Minister of Economics pledged to tackle existing problems with the public procurement system and introduce mechanisms to improve its transparency, accountability and efficiency. Accordingly, as part of a long-term strategy to ensure a sustainable future for the Integrity Pacts in Latvia, TI Latvia held several meetings with decision-makers to promote the tool to safeguard EU funds at the local level, drawing from the lessons learned in the monitoring of Riga Traffic’s procurement.

 

Moreover, from July to December 2019 TI Latvia has carried out consultations with legal and construction experts to identify main corruption and fraud risks in Latvia’s public procurement and elaborate possible regulatory changes that could lead to their mitigation. Amongst other things, during the implementation of the IP project, TI Latvia identified a lack of knowledge among municipalities and some state institutions on how to organize procurements according to the law. As such, with the support of the above-mentioned experts, TI Latvia is currently developing a “procurement document package” for municipal and state procurements. This will be published (with TI Latvia and EC logos) in May 2020 on the webpage of the Procurement Monitoring Bureau.

 

Integrity Pacts in the 4th National Open Government Partnership Action PlanFrom September to December 2019, TI Latvia’s experts actively contributed to the consultation process for the development of Latvia’s 4th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan (coordinated by the State Chancellery), which was approved in February 2020 and will be implemented in 2020-21. As a result of the advocacy effort, the 1st commitment of the new Action Plan, called “Transparency of Public Procurement Contracts”, includes the piloting of the Integrity Pact as an effective monitoring mechanism for the expenditure of EU funds in a number of Latvia’s municipalities. TI Latvia was also included as main civil society partner in other relevant anti-corruption commitments on open data, lobbying and conflict of interest, that could benefit the piloting of IP.

 

As main civil society partner in these commitments, TI Latvia will regularly provide support to the responsible authorities (State Chancellery, CFLA, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Procurement Monitoring Bureau) and organize outreach activities with other involved NGOs, including at the local level.

 

 

For more information, please contact Project Manager Antonio Greco (antonio@delna.lv).

 

This article was developed under the framework of the “Integrity Pact – Civil Control Mechanism for Safeguarding EU Funds” project funded by the European Commission

 

Pievienot komentāru

  •  

     

     

    Screen Shot 2018-01-22 at 16.07.52

     

    rokas_gramataddddddbilde

    empiric_1