18 Jul 18 July 2014
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Regional Standards Bodies Call for the Promotion of a Quality Culture

Representatives of national standards bureaus from across the CARIFORUM Region, who met in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia from July 14-15, have called for an improved quality culture in the Region.

The officials underscored the importance of bringing on-stream mutually reinforcing national and regional marketing and communication strategies/action plans related to Quality Infrastructure, in support of the Region's drive toward robust quality culture.

The officials who form part of the Technical Implementation Group for Awareness and Information were convened for a second time in as many years, to deliberate in-person on the awareness raising and information dimension of 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (CRIP) Economic Partnership Agreement Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Component.

This second meeting was organized by the Barbados-based CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), in collaboration with the other implementing partner institutions, Instituto Dominicano para la Calidad (INDOCAL) of the Dominican Republic and the National Metrology Institute Germany (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt - PTB). These three partner institutions are implementing the TBT Component of the 10th EDF CRIP Programmes in support of Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) implementation, on behalf of CARIFORUM.

The Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards lent organizational and administrative support to the convening of the Meeting, and it's Director, Dr Mkabi Walcott, delivered the feature address. PTB's Project Coordinator for the TBT Component, Dr Sabine Greiner, delivered opening remarks.

Dr. Walcott characterized the awareness raising dimension of the TBT Component as being "critical in getting stakeholders in CARIFORUM States to buy into a quality culture." She encouraged all gathered to make full use of the TBT Programme and the resources therein. In highlighting PTB's longstanding relationship with the Region, Dr. Greiner reaffirmed Dr. Walcott's charge.

The Meeting was made possible through funding under the TBT Component of the 10th EDF CRIP.

The Meeting facilitated the development of the 2014-2015 Work Plan for raising awareness on Quality Infrastructure, with active links proposed with respect to similar plans at the national level, in order to maximize synergies in the roll-out of QI awareness and information related activities.

In planning for future awareness actions, participants reflected on the preliminary results of the 'User Demand for Quality Infrastructure Services Survey' that was previously commissioned by CROSQ. The consultant retained to conduct the survey reported on the feedback of a cross-section of private sector stakeholders from across CARIFORUM that were approached to participate in the survey, which gauged perspectives on a variety of QI issues germane to the Region.

The draft Work Plan will, by month's end, be put before the Technical Oversight Committee of the TBT Programme for consideration and approval.

Participants pledged their commitment to the implementation of this regional action plan with better integration into the work programmes of their respective national standards bureaus, underlining that a robust quality culture is essential for the CARIFORUM Region, which is so connected to the globalized world economy. Participants were seized of the fact that in order to effectively compete globally, a well-functioning QI is an imperative for the Region.

Quality infrastructure (QI) relates to all fields of metrology, standardization, accreditation and conformity assessment, including testing, inspection and certification. Each of the QI components are essential to production and trade, and are interlinked to provide assurance that the product or service being traded meets the agreed specifications. A sound basis for global trade is a fully operational Quality Infrastructure.


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