New avenues for expanding intra-African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) trade are being explored, using quality as the basis for strengthening partnerships with CARICOM Member States.
This development comes with the launch of a second component of a joint TradeCom II Programme/ CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) initiative, funded by the ACP-European Union. The Kick-off meeting on the 11 March 2019 featured the start of this 2nd component of the TradeCom II programme. The overall aim of this TradeCom II intervention is to provide assistance to develop the quality services in the region, thereby allowing for increased trade capacity, competitiveness, diversification and economic performance. CARICOM’s National Bureaux of Standards (NSBs) are the main focus for the activities.
The project aims to:
o contribute to the activation of intra-regional quality infrastructure agreements in support of market access and improved trade performance through improved capacity in standards and technical regulations development and implementation in CARICOM. This will be facilitated through a feasibility study for developing trade capacity, enabling sustainability Standards and associated conformity assessment modalities, modelling the success of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and a comparability study with European Standards Organisation/European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CEN/CENELEC).
o support the development of an optimized quality infrastructure in the Pacific Region for enhanced trade competitiveness. This entails enhancing the understanding and capacity for developing Quality Infrastructure (QI) in the Pacific Islands Forum States (PIFS) through sharing the experiences of CROSQ, ARSO and CEN/CENELEC.
To achieve these goals, CROSQ will be working with the Quality Institute consultants to improve the capacity in standards and technical regulations development, and to reinforce the quality infrastructure cooperation between CROSQ, ARSO and the PIF. ARSO and PIFS are intergovernmental organisations like CROSQ that attempt to foster greater cooperation with and amongst members towards the development of the respective regions.
In his welcoming remarks on behalf of CROSQ, manager, Mr. Mohan Nandwani, pointed out that it was heartening that within the framework of activating intra-regional quality infrastructure agreements to support market access and improved trade, that this phase of the entire intervention would also see greater cooperation amongst the partners involved.
“This initiative will also include a feasibility study for developing trade capacity, enabling sustainability standards and associated conformity assessment modalities by CROSQ. This will be achieved through collaboration with ARSO. CROSQ will also be providing support to the development of an optimised quality infrastructure in the Pacific region to enhance their trade competitiveness and understanding of QI,” he said.
The European Union (EU) Delegation’s Programme Manager, Mr. Sheldon Jackman echoed the sentiments on the importance of such collaborations.
“We at the EU were heartened by the fact that cooperation was the underlying factor in making the project under the 10th EDF [European Development Fund] a successful one, and we also see that cooperation is one of the key pillars under the EPA,” he said, noting the necessity of collaborations between national and regional authorities in the area of quality towards facilitating both intra- and inter-regional trade.
He added that the EU was also encouraged by the fact that this project demonstrated a bridge between the 10th and 11th EDF Technical Barriers to Trade programmes, demonstrating the significance of collaboration, enthusiasm and cooperation, “to ensure that the commitments under the EPA by the CARIFORUM states are still being well implemented and are still top of mind”.
“Finally, I would like to stress the importance of the work being done that needs to be centred, not only on the protection of consumers but also on the private sector in the Caribbean, with practices that respond to its needs, that focus on the value chain, that build on the potential of the Caribbean economies, and concretely help businesses to export more and to achieve market penetration, not only in the EU but in other countries,” Mr. Jackman added.
CROSQ Project coordinator, Mr. Stephen Farquharson, who is also the Technical Officer – Accreditation and Conformity Assessment, noted that jointly, these initiatives revealed synergies in their objectives. Whilst the first phase focussed on the creation of a regional guide for Good Regulatory Practices, he stated that the current project was developed against the background of new and emerging practices to meet international requirements. He further noted that the initiatives also highlighted the need for interventions that would assist bureaux with coping with their changing roles in new environments; the growing need for inter-operability and the need for awareness of the economic benefits of standards.
The Lead Key Expert, Mr. Sibbesen was keen about analysing some of the factors contributing to the RQI not being fully successful and to use this opportunity to recommend strategies for its’ strengthening. There needs to be a proper balance between the National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) and the Regional Quality Infrastructure (RQI) with proper involvement of the end-users (producers, manufacturers – who are mostly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)).
Mr. Fulgence St. Prix noted that the “Quality Culture” of CARICOM is generally developing through increasing awareness of the importance of quality, hence the need to continue to build capacity via quality promotions. Endorsing the importance of the project, Mr. St. Prix further indicated that through the successful implementation of this project we will see the strengthening of relations between CROSQ and CEN/CENELEC; CROSQ and ARSO, which fits with the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established between CROSQ and the EU standards body; and which redounds to increase maturity of the CROSQ network.
Grenada has received an opportunity to develop a National Quality Policy (NQP) through the programme ‘Strengthening of the Regional Quality Infrastructure’. The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ) has received funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to administer this programme, with one of its components being the development of national quality policies in Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda and Suriname.
A Quality Policy is the legal instrument used by governments in promoting and sustaining economic development, as well as environmental and social well-being. It is used to sustain an effective quality infrastructure, which relies on metrology, standardization, accreditation, conformity assessment and market surveillance.
The launch of the development process of Grenada’s Quality Policy was held on March 19, 2019 at the conference room of the Grenada Bureau of Standards (GDBS). Hon. Oliver Joseph, Minister of Trade, Industry, Co-operatives & CARICOM Affairs was there to share his excitement with this new development.
The firm chosen to spearhead the development of the quality policies is MESOPARTNER, a firm whose key experts are from the CARICOM region. Following the launch of the quality policy, the consultants met with the project steering committee, whose Chairman is the Permanent Secretary for Trade, Industry, Co-operatives & CARICOM Affairs, Mr. Aaron Francois. The Project Steering Committee has as its main goal, the task of overseeing the direction and guiding the process of the development of the Quality Policy.
Several stakeholder engagements will be held throughout the year to obtain data that will be used to develop the Quality Policy, which is anticipated to be complete by December 2019.
Grenada joins Antigua and Barbuda and Suriname under this project to develop national quality policies. St. Lucia and St. Kitts & Nevis are currently developing their own NQPs, and will join countries including Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, as bearers of national quality policies.
Mr. Robert Medford Ms. Lois Mc Guire
Director Information Officer
Grenada Bureau of Standards Grenada Bureau of Standards
Tel: 440- 5886/6783 Tel: 440-5886/6783
The new codes will help Member States improve the energy efficiency of their buildings and support energy conservation efforts
Washington, D.C. – The International Code Council, ASHRAE, the CARICOM Secretariat Energy Unit and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) announced today the release of new standards for energy efficient buildings for its Member States. The 2018 CARICOM Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (CREEBC), which will cover both commercial and residential construction, is a joint effort by the CROSQ, the Code Council and ASHRAE.
“These standards for energy efficient buildings reflect the unique energy requirements of tropical environments and will ultimately increase adoption rates of more effectual technologies for renewable energy and energy conservation,” commented the CEO of CROSQ, Mr. Deryck Omar. “The adoption of these codes will go a long way toward allowing our members to mitigate the impacts of a changing climate. It also demonstrates the importance of bringing quality measures into the region’s energy sector and the potential benefits that can accrue when that happens.”
The CREEBC, which was developed through a collaboration between the CROSQ and the Energy Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat, is meant to meet the specific needs of nations in the Caribbean and other countries with tropical climates. It establishes minimum energy efficiency requirements for buildings, including the building envelope, cooling system, ventilation, pumping, lighting and the service water-heating systems.
Head of the Energy Unit at the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Devon Gardner, said, “The CREEBC is envisioned to lead to an era of better quality building designs within the Caribbean Community, noting that the ability of buildings to minimize the energy requirements for the services for which they were intended would reduce the exposure to climate and disaster risks.” He stated, as an example, that “Energy‑efficient measures and systems, such as daytime lighting and improvements in ventilation, can facilitate the comfort of occupants in buildings even during periods of natural disaster‑related stress on the electricity grids.”
“We were pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues at the CROSQ to help adapt the Code Council’s latest energy standards to help their members improve the efficiency and sustainability of their buildings,” said Code Council CEO Dominic Sims, CBO. “Our codes are not one-size-fits-all. They are a starting point for developing standards that meet the individual needs of regions around the world.”
“Improving energy efficiency is a global challenge, with buildings professionals serving as a crucial contributor toward the establishment of standards that affect building systems operations,” said 2018-2019 ASHRAE President Sheila J. Hayter, P.E. “The CREEBC and ASHRAE’s collaboration with partnering organizations represent our long standing dedication to global sustainability and leadership in use of integrated building design resources.”
The development of the CREEBC is part of the ongoing implementation of the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERM), a CARICOM program aimed at increasing political will and private sector input for the adoption of more effective technologies for renewable energy, energy conservation and efficiency.
To view the CREEBC online, click here.
About the International Code Council
The International Code Council is a member-focused association dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures. Most U.S. communities and many global markets choose the International Codes.
About CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards for Quality
The CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality is an inter-governmental organisation with its primary objective being the establishment and harmonisation of standards and the development of the region’s Quality Infrastructure for the enhanced efficiency and improved quality in the production of goods and services in the Caribbean Community.
About the CARICOM Secretariat
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is the principal administrative organ for the Caribbean Community. The Secretariat is intended, inter alia, to contribute, by supporting Member States, to the improvement of the quality of life of the People of the Community and the development of an innovative and productive society, through partnerships with institutions and groups.
ASHRAE is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. ASHRAE and its more than 50,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today.
National Standards Bureaux (NSBs) and other quality improvement and control-related institutions in Caribbean are to receive assistance in implementing technical barriers to trade (TBT) provisions to better comply with trade requirements as laid out by the World Trade Organisation agreements.
The initiative is funded by the TradeCom II Programme, which is an African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) – European Union (EU) funded project. It targets NSBs and related institutions to also help them prepare for the trade provisions of the CARIFOUM EU Economic Partnership Agreement. It is being managed by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ), as part of the ACP/EU’s TradeCom II Programme.
At the kick-off meeting held recently in Barbados at the CROSQ’s Headquarters in Baobab Towers, Warrens, St. Michael, representatives of the European Union, CROSQ, the Barbados National Standards Institution, TradeCom II, Quarein – the technical assistance consultants, and the CROSQ Secretariat spoke about the varying benefits of the project.
CROSQ CEO, Mr. Deryck Omar noted that the activities under the project would allow quality institutions to better create a regional Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) guide “to gather and harmonize the disparate GRP knowledge across the Caribbean and also to enable Member States to cascade this guide into national GRP Codes of Practice (CoP)”.
“This ultimately will help countries in CARICOM by the adoption of a common approach to the development and implementation of technical regulations, as well as provide the grounds for a platform for formalized capacity development through training and awareness programmes,” he said. Furthermore, it is a natural complement to the CROSQ led CARICOM Regional Quality Policy (RQP) approved by the CARICOM Council of Ministers for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) in November 2017.
A new CROSQ regional TBT, Information Management Systems and Enquiry Point (TIE) Committee has also been formed to serve as technical support to the key expert of the project. Representatives are drawn from Barbados, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and St. Lucia, to name a few, along with Observer representatives from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat, and the Dominican Institute for Quality, the NSB of the Dominican Republic.
Cooperation Trade Policy Manager with the EU Delegation to Barbados, CARIFORUM and the Eastern Caribbean States, Mr Adam Wisniewski expressed his pleasure at seeing yet another trade initiative forged from the TradeCom II Programme, noting that such efforts would help to bridge the gaps between the recently concluded EU-funded 10th EDF-TBT development programme, and the upcoming 11th EDF iteration.
Mr Wisniewski expressed interest in seeing the advancement of areas specifically dealing with GRPs in the preparation, adoption and application of technical regulations across the region as a means of both consumer protection and raising the standard of quality of goods produced or used within the region.
Project manager, Mr. Stephen Farquharson of CROSQ pointed out that there were many potential opportunities to be had for both governments and businesses that upheld the rules of international commitments made to the World Trade Organisation’s TBT and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Trade Facilitation Agreements, which includes reflective articles of engagement in the EPA.
Under this TradeCom II project, there will be support for developing guides for legislation; harmonised forms of documentation and the supply of data; training programmes for individuals in the TBT and regulatory areas and promotion of the activities through monitoring and support for the TIE Committee.
Mr. Farquharson also noted that this project would help governments improve their efficiency and compliance with market requirements; reduce costs of providing services; enhance communication with trade-related entities; protect consumers and aid the economic wellbeing of stakeholders. Businesses, he said, would also benefit through the simplification of procedures and legal requirements; reduction of ambiguity and dissent and the development of better communication between the border/regulatory agencies and the stakeholders.
Quarein expressed their appreciation for being given the opportunity to work on this project to further aid the development of trade and quality infrastructure projects, noting that the team looked forward to a regionally inclusive, consensus based and collaborative approach on delivering the regional GRP Guide and a sample national COP derived through the same process. There is also to be an information and educational campaign to encourage use of the documents.
Two regional partners regaled the importance of cooperation in achieving beneficial objectives, as a new project was launched recently to help improve quality systems in the Caribbean.
The “Strengthening of the Regional Quality Infrastructure Programme”, a joint initiative between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), is funded by the CDB to the tune of US$750,000.
The three main objectives of the 18-months project are:
- Development of National Quality Policies (NQPs) using the Regional Quality Policy (RQP) in at least five countries with associated Implementation Roadmaps in order to strengthen the policy and regulatory framework to support national quality infrastructure (NQI) development;
- Technical assistance to at least two testing laboratories for International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 17025 accreditation; and,
- Design and implementation of a comprehensive information and awareness campaign to promote and sensitise stakeholders on matters relating to the operationalisation of the quality policies and to improve knowledge and use of accredited testing services.
At the launch, held at the CDB’s Conference Room, Wildey, St. Michael, Barbados, one of the Directors of CROSQ, Mrs. Anthea Ishmael noted that this project was coming at a time when the organisation was ever expanding its partnerships regionally and internationally.
She noted that projects, including with the European Union, the Federal Republic of Germany through the German National Metrology Institute, the CARICOM Energy Unit, the African Regional Standards Organisation (ARSO); the European Committee for Standardization, ASTM International, United Nations Industrial and Development Organisation, the ACP Secretariat and several others were all partnerships that were bringing value to the region by expanding the expertise of quality professionals and institutions here.
This new project, would continue adding value to what currently exists, said Mrs. Ishmael, who is also Acting Director of the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI).
“Our region has always had tremendous potential, but challenges have existed and continue to exist in accessing opportunities and technical assistance to push our industries further; to make our sectors more competitive beyond our shores. This is where the CROSQ and CDB can be more effective in our relationship – bringing that kind of value to those who need it,” she noted.
In remarking on the Bank’s commitment to development and integration, Coordinator of Regional Cooperation and Integration, Ms. Andrea Power stated: “The project is indicative of the Bank’s belief in and commitment to regional integration as the basis on which our economies can achieve global competitiveness. It is for this reason that the Bank has given priority to partnering with technically competent regional institutions to facilitate the implementation of regional decisions and policies at the national level. All this with the ultimate goal of increasing intra-regional trade.”
CROSQ is the network of 15 national bureaux of standards of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Its partnerships with the CDB date back to 2012 when the two entities first began cooperating towards creating regional standards and quality systems in specific sectors.
Following the launch, the Project Steering Committee for the Strengthening of the Regional Quality Infrastructure Programme, met to discuss a number of issues pertinent to the success of the project. The Committee is comprised of representatives of the CDB, CROSQ, the Caribbean Export and Development Agency (CEDA) and a regional QI institution and accreditation body.
INTERNSHIP ON INTERNATIONAL STANDARDIZATION: TOOLS FOR PARTICIPATION
COPANT Training in Santiago, Chile, May 2018
From May 15 to 17, 2018, the second version of the COPANT Internship on Participation in International Standardization was held in Santiago, Chile. This event was organized together with the National Institute of Standardization of Chile, INN, under the auspices of COPANT and PTB.
The workshop was facilitated by the expert Mario Wittner, and 17 delegates participated from 14 National Standards Organizations from the following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, St. Lucia and St. Kitts & Nevis. The following experts also supported through virtual presentations: María Aurora Agulló (IRAM-Argentina), Daniel Trillos (ICONTEC-Colombia), Pilar Pérez Paradelo (UNE-Spain) and Mercedes Mira (CEN-Brussels).
The objective of the workshop program was to provide the necessary tools and experiences to the normalizers of the National Standards Bodies (NSB) members of COPANT, to improve their ability to participate in international standardization processes effectively and efficiently.
The participation of Latin American and Caribbean NSBs in international standardization is still insufficient and, fundamentally, centered on the ISO Technical Committees of a horizontal nature: ISO/TC176 (ISO 9000), ISO/TC 207 (ISO 14000), ISO/TC 34 (ISO 22000), ISO/CASCO and other management systems.
In addition, there is very little integration to the technical management bodies of ISO such as TMB (Technical Management Board) and as coordinators in the Technical Committees, Sub-Committees and Working Groups. The reasons are varied, through economic capacity, technical skills and English proficiency.
The Program has been defined in a way that is balanced and formative for the participants, consisting of the presentation of:
- The framework of international standardization;
- The WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade;
- The Principles for international standardization;
- Representative’s self-assessments on compliance with the Code of Good Practice in Standardization (Annex 3 WTO / TBT).
- The relationship between quality and competitiveness, with data from the WEF (World Economic Forum).
- Anticipation for changes in 2018 of the ISO/IEC Directives: Part 1 - for technical work in the International Committees and Part 2 - for the drafting and structure of International Standards.
- Experiences of the 14 members of COPANT on their policies for:
- achieve the integration of the Stakeholders in their standardization programs and
- its international participation through the National Mirror Committees of the corresponding ISO Committees.
The Program also included:
- the regional experiences of standardization through the presentation of the CEN,
- the Spanish translation activities of the ISO standards by the STTF led by UNE - Spain, where all the Spanish-speaking standardization bodies, ABNT and ANSI participate,
- the activities of the COPANT Focal Groups, presented by INN, and
- the participation in ISO/TC 207 of Environmental Management, through communications via Web Ex with ICONTEC and IRAM.
Source: Report by Mario Wittner (Facilitator) - Photograph by Jimena Pimentel (INN)