Transparency in Management: a systems approach for effective resource use towards sustainable cities in Latin America

Topics: Resource efficiency policies for sustainable cities and lifestyles, Sustainable and inclusive cities and buildings, Sustainable lifestyles and education
Keywords: transparency, corruption, management-system, resources, public-procurement

Ana Quiros1, Jose Bolivar2, Aitor Llodio3, Mario Quiros4

1Green Building Council Costa Rica GBC-CR, Costa Rica; 2Eco Global S.A, Costa Rica; 3ALIARSE, Costa Rica; 4ALCALA, Costa Rica;

Sustainable cities require governments, at national and local level, that assure transparency in public management, ensuring, amongst others, that available resources –natural, social and economical- are managed and allocated in the most effective and efficient way possible. More and more, public and private organizations are being held accountable due to corrupt acts that are also heavily impacting sustainable development. This is true particularly for many Latin American countries.

The authors address first the definition of transparency and the most frequent forms of corruption that take place in public procurement, particularly in developing countries. A management model to assure transparent acts, and thus prevent corruption is then introduced. The model provides means to determine degree of exposure to corrupt acts in the organization’s critical processes, especially those related to public procurement processes; identify improvement opportunities and the viability for implementation and in addition, offers the possibility to systematically measure the level of transparency improvement for the organization. An important aspect of the model considers promoting civil society participation in public procurement processes and thus, providing means for better accountability.

A real case model implementation for a pilot project done with a local government in Costa Rica and for the critical process of public procurement is shared.

Findings are presented for discussion and recommendations for replicating the experience in other national and local organizations are listed, with focus on the benefits the Transparency System could provide for private-public-partnerships in the region.


Civil Engineer, with two masters degrees from Stanford University on Engineering and Science. In 1997 Ms. Quirós founded ECO GLOBAL, Costa Rica consulting firm advising on sustainable development and since then has been in charge of all aspects of the firm. She is also partner to AT&A, an enterprise that offers products and equipment geared to enhance environmental performance of both private business and government agencies. Ana presides and is founder of ALCALA, the Association for LCA in Latin America, this NGO, promotes and organizes every two years CILCA, the International Conferences on LCA in LA and has partnered with the American Center for LA to offer the Certification for professionals on LCA in Spanish. More recently Ana established and is the legal representative of the Green Building Council in Costa Rica, member of the WGBC. Since 2002 has collaborated with International UNEP/SETAC LC Initiative at board level and currently coordinates the Communications strategy implementation which she helped develop for Phase 3 (2012-2017) of the Initiative. Ana is part of the work group which provides recommendations on LC databases for policy makers at the UNEP- Intergovernment meeting, is currently working on Law project for LCA communities and the development of data-bases for Costa Rica and Central America Region. Her most recent goal is to empower GBC-CR to implement EDGE for Costa Rica by 2015.