The 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Programme has been deemed a success by its partners and stakeholders.
Concluded at the end of March 2017, the programme whose aim was to enhance the services of Quality Infrastructure within CARIFORUM countries to facilitate the smoother operations of trade, was centred around the development and equivalence of standards among Member States; development of metrology (science of measurement) services; the accreditation of laboratories and the development and implementation of testing, inspection and certification bodies and services, as well as the boost of awareness and information sharing.
The programme was managed by the German National Metrology Institute (PTB) and implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL) in the Dominican Republic.
Project Coordinator with CROSQ, Ms. Karlene Russell noted that it was a very successful implementation at a rate, as of mid-March, approaching 90 per cent completion.
“The main elements of the TBT Programme included capacity building in all areas of Quality Infrastructure. We also looked at international recognition of national and regional quality institutions, as well as regional harmonisation and equivalency, specifically related to standards development, and of course the promotion of a quality culture in the region.
“To date we have achieved 70 per cent of our performance indicators and another 20 per cent is about 50 per cent completed. So we are looking at significant progress being made in about 90 per cent of our performance indicators. And as far as the implementation of regional programmes go, that is a very very good result and we are very pleased with the success,” said the project coordinator.
The performance indicators are the benchmarks set in the project to gauge effectiveness and achievement of the objectives set within the overall project, as well as more specific areas.
The project was a 7.8 Million Euro undertaking, of which about 95 per cent had been spent up to mid-March, which was also concomitant with the technical implementation, added Ms. Russell.
These comments underscored those of Chairman of CROSQ, Mr. Jose Trejo at two separate events in March, the Close-Out Seminar in Antigua and Barbuda, and then a regional press conference held via video conferencing systems and linking a majority of the Member States and Germany.
Mr. Trejo noted that he was exceptionally pleased with the progress and results of the project, and over the coming years, CROSQ would aim to strengthen the platforms set.
“During the next few years, CROSQ will focus on strengthening Quality Infrastructure in the Services sector and creative industries. We will also seek to implement programmes that foster greater utilisation of national QI services by the private sector, public sector & academia. Programmes geared towards international accreditation of conformity assessment bodies – such as testing laboratories, inspection bodies and certification agencies, will be continued in earnest.
“As we pursue our regional development agenda we acknowledge that the CARICOM region is seen as attractive for investment and recognised for our competitive advantage in niche products. Therefore as we continue to develop these markets, quality must remain at the centre in order to advance Caribbean Competiveness,” said the Chairman.
In offering congratulations, PTB’s Head of Technical Cooperation for Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Ulff Hillner noted, “It was in many respects a very rewarding experience for us as a National Metrology Institute. It was the first time the European Union directly entrusted and awarded us as a national organisation to execute this kind of project so we have been able to gain a lot of experience along the way.
“It was rewarding because a team was built in the process that spanned the region that included the CROSQ Secretariat and staff, the National Standards Bodies in CARICOM and the Dominican Republic, so in that way it was a novel and innovative approach which proved to be quite successful. . . I think the achievements speak for themselves,” said Mr. Hillner.
Among notable highlights of the project were:
• The development of a Regional Quality Policy that is now set to go before CARICOM’s Council on Trade and Economic Development for approval;
• The creation of a Five-Year Regional Standards Development Priority Plan, which was the first of its kind in the world to provide the Caribbean with a forward scope for the development of Standards. It has already gained the attention of the International Organisation for Standardization (ISO);
• The ISO9001 certifications in Belize, Jamaica and Suriname.
• The creation of the Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCA) Scheme that coordinates regional experts in assisting laboratories and other bodies seeking accreditation, at reasonable rates;
• Equivalence of standards with five commodities between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic – to ensure the standards set at both trading ends were similar;
• The establishment of two Caribbean Reference Laboratories (CaRLs) in volume and temperature;
• Experts trained in mass and temperature in labs within the Region; and the provision of measurement equipment in all CARIFORUM countries;
• Awareness-raising about accreditation at the national level;
• Accreditation of five regional laboratories and one certification body utilising the Caribbean Cooperation for Accreditation (CCA) Scheme; as well as testing laboratories in Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Belize, and an inspection body in Trinidad and Tobago which are on the way to accreditation.
• CROSQ’s observer status on the World Trade Organisation’s TBT Committee;
• The production of a series of videos about the development of Regional Quality Infrastructure in the Caribbean, which are now available in 17 countries, including the Dominican Republic and Germany.
by Jewel Fraser of Inter Press Service News Agency
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states are in the process of formulating an energy efficiency building code for the region that would help reduce CO2 emissions, but implementation of the code may depend heavily on moral suasion for its success.
Fulgence St. Prix, technical officer for standards at CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) who is overseeing the Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC), told IPS, “When we at the regional level propose a standard or code it’s meant to be voluntary…We do not have the mechanism to dictate to member states to make any standard the subject of a technical regulation thus making implementation mandatory.”
In keeping with WTO guidelines, he said, “A standard is a voluntary document. You cannot force any member state to implement any one standard.” The decision as to whether to implement the REEBC, therefore, rests with member states.
The REEBC project was officially launched at a meeting in Jamaica at the end of March. This followed consultations over several months by a Regional Project Team comprising representatives from some of the Caricom member states, as well as regional architects, engineers, builders and electricians, on the need for a minimum energy efficiency building standard for the region.
It was unanimously agreed that it was imperative one be established and the decision was taken to base the REEBC on the 2018 version of the International Energy Conservation Code that will be published in July of this year.
“The goal is to have a document that would reduce the CO2 footprint on the average,” said St. Prix, adding that climate change is just one of the considerations driving the REEBC initiative. “If we could develop that code and have it effectively implemented, we could realise at least a 25 per cent reduction of CO2 emissions, but this is just an estimate.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) chapter on Buildings in its Fifth Assessment Report states that in 2010 buildings accounted for 32 per cent of total global final energy use, 19 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (including electricity-related), and approximately one-third of black carbon emissions.
GHG emissions in Latin America and the Caribbean from buildings were said to have grown to 0.28GtCO2eq/yr (280,000,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents of GHG emissions) in 2010.
The report also states, “final energy use may stay constant or even decline by mid-century, as compared to today’s levels, if today’s cost-effective best practices and technologies are broadly diffused.”
However, the IPCC’s report suggests that moral suasion may not be the most effective means of achieving the implementation of energy efficiency standards. It notes, “Building codes and appliance standards with strong energy efficiency requirements that are well enforced, tightened over time, and made appropriate to local climate and other conditions have been among the most environmentally and cost-effective.”
Trinidadian architect Jo-Ann Murrell, managing director of Carisoul Architecture Co. Ltd., a firm that specialises in green architecture, said effective implementation of a regional energy efficiency building code may have to wait until the region’s younger generation become the decision makers with regard to home purchases.
“We have a younger generation who will be older at that time, who will be interested in investing in energy efficiency. They are interested in the sustainability of the climate,” she said.
She said that the subsidised cost of electricity in Trinidad and Tobago is 3 cents US per kWh. So, “there is not a desire on the part of clients, due to the cost factor, for using alternative sources of energy or using energy saving devices. So when we tell clients they can achieve energy savings if they use certain building methods, they will choose the energy efficient air conditioning unit, they will use LED lights, and so on, but [not always] when it comes to other options,” Murrell said.
She stressed, “We have very competent architects in Trinidad and Tobago and the architects are quite knowledgeable in terms of sustainable design. What we do not have are clients who are willing to do the financial outlay to incorporate sustainability.”
St. Prix also cited economic challenges for Caricom states wishing to implement the REEBC. “You know that member states are at very different stages of their development. Any building code is a challenge. The major challenge is human resources and [the need for] economic resources to be able to employ the needed personnel to implement the code.”
The IPCC report also cites transaction costs, inadequate access to financing, and subsidised energy as among the barriers to effective uptake of energy efficient technologies in building globally.
The IPCC report goes on to state, “Traditional large appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, are still responsible for most household electricity consumption…albeit with a falling share related to the equipment for information technology and communications (including home entertainment) accounting in most countries for 20 % or more of residential electricity consumption.”
For this reason, CROSQ is also undertaking a regional energy labelling scheme for appliances sold in the region. Though common in European countries, they are not standard practice throughout the Caribbean. The scheme, said Janice Hilaire, project coordinator for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (R3E), is being funded by the German government.
“We also want to develop standards for PVC panels and water heaters,” she added.
Hilaire said the R3E would be training people to carry out the testing for this scheme at select labs in the region that has a limited amount of equipment for carrying out the tests.
“We are setting up an intense information and awareness campaign because we want to bring about a change in behaviour. We want householders to understand why they must adopt certain practices. We also want to bring about a more efficient use of energy.in the region which will positively affect GDP. The REEBC cannot operate in a vacuum. It must be complemented by other initiatives,” she said.
The REEBC and the associated R3E are in their early stages, St. Prix pointed out. As these projects are rolled out, CROSQ will begin collecting data that shows the actual dollar savings the region enjoys through these initiatives. The CROSQ team will then be able “to go to our policy makers and say, if you make this mandatory you will be saving this amount.” Member states would be urged to put legal mechanisms in place, St. Prix said.
(This article was originally published by the Inter Press Service News Agency)
Standards for solar water heaters and a number of energy-related appliances are coming to the Caribbean.
And key to this development will be policymakers, standards and energy experts who will meet in Barbados from May 17th to 19th, 2017, for a major workshop on energy standards and policy analysis, at the Divi Southwinds Resort, St. Lawrence Main Road, Christ Church.
The experts and policymakers will be exposed to a Policy Analysis Modelling System (PAMS), designed by the Collaborative Labelling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) which was developed “to help local policymakers assess the benefit of standards and labelling programmes”.
The one-day policy analysis workshop, which falls on the first day of the three-day training, discussion and planning forum on energy efficiency standards and labelling standards, is being held as part of CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ)-implemented Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (R3E) Project.
The R3E Project focuses on developing standards for the energy sector in the region, namely energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, with supporting infrastructure for energy efficiency testing of appliances – namely, room air-conditioners, refrigerators and freezers, and lights – along with the development of standards for solar PVC panels and solar water heaters in the region. It is funded by a 1 Million Euro investment from the German Government, and is partnered by the German National Metrology Institute (PTB) and the Dominican Republic’s National Standards Body, INDOCAL.
CROSQ’s Technical Officer - Standards, Mr. Fulgence St. Prix explained that at the PAMS workshop, CLASP officials would explain how to estimate potential savings from implementing energy efficiency policies in the region.
“We talk a lot in the Caribbean about energy efficiency and introduction of renewable energies, but there isn’t that understanding at the national levels sometimes about how this actually benefits the countries in terms of dollars and cents. This is what this workshop is aimed at helping policymakers more effectively do.
“We are in the process of developing Energy Efficiency Building Codes for the region and this factor of savings will be a crucial one to getting Member States in the Caribbean to understand how it benefits their economies at the end of the day. So that’s what we aim to do through this workshop, and using actual case studies to further solidify our position,” said St. Prix.
He noted that this was but one day of what would be happening this week when energy, policy and standards experts from across the Region and Germany, gathered in Barbados.
“On the second day of the workshop, energy experts will sit together and plan a Road Map to determine the steps to the development and implementation of a labelling scheme for refrigerators, lighting and room air conditioners. And the following day we will sit as a group to determine which standard will be used from the several examples we’ve been studying over recent months, and plan our next steps in the development of the standards for labelling of energy efficient appliances,” he further explained.
Deciding on the approach and right standards to use as the basis for the regional approach which will then be adopted by CARICOM Member States, is a crucial part of the process for the development of the energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.
About The R3E Project
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (R3E) Project is primarily based on the premise that the introduction of standards, testing and other quality-related services into the RE and EE subsectors, could result in significant changes to the way energy is viewed and the focus paid by policymakers, retailers, general public and other vital stakeholders in these areas.
Its main components are the development of standards for RE appliances – namely solar water heaters; development of standards for photovoltaic systems; regional energy performance standards for EE appliances – namely refrigerators, air conditioners and lighting; as well as an efficiency labelling scheme for the stated appliances. It also aims to establish centres for testing of these appliances in the region, and other supporting quality systems.
The aims of this project are:
· Support of regional standardisation activities for this sector, and use of these activities for the creation of binding directives and technical regulations.
· Establishment of technical expertise for testing and measurement services in individual countries.
· Awareness-raising, informational and public relations activities, as well as dialogue with persons in decision-making and other key positions.
IIt is funded to the tune of 1 million Euros from the German Government; managed by the German Metrology Institute (PTB) and implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organisaiton for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL) in the Dominican Republic.
The Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) has been monitoring the issue relating to the sale of unwholesome meat and meat products originating from Brazil.
Several Member States have already instituted measures to restrict the importation of some or all meat products from Brazil. It is noted that China, the European Union, and Chile have also instituted restrictive measures.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has redoubled its food inspection efforts on beef products from Brazil although none of the slaughtering or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal shipped meat products to the U.S. The Department said it is still conducting "additional pathogen testing” of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil.
CAHFSA is endeavoring to obtain more information as it relates to the specific plants and products involved and will disseminate same as soon as possible.
We are kindly requesting Member States that are conducting tests of the various products, to share the results with the other Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs)/Member States who may not be in a position to complete the testing protocols. This is in an effort to assist in the decision-making process regarding the continuance of the measures that would have been taken.
We would also like to advise that Members of the Community to take the necessary measures to protect the well-being of their population, until necessary determinations have been made that the products are safe for consumption. This may entail a comprehensive review of the operations/production systems in Brazil in general and the specific companies in particular. Thus, the requirement of a Regional Risk Analysis.
(Statement from the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency - CAHFSA)
A Regional Project Team (RPT), established to develop a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC), among other mandates, will be launched in Kingston, Jamaica, next week.
The launch and the first face-to-face Working Meeting with the contracted consultant will be held 30-31 March, at the Jamaica Bureau of Standards. Nine Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – are represented on the RPT which consists of 19 Members.
The RPT is tasked with developing the REEBC, as well as its associated application documents and Minimum Energy Performance standards for buildings. To do so, the RPT will review the Minimum Energy Performance Standards for buildings as proposed by consultant, Solar Dynamics, in their final report of the consultancy on the Development of Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) for public and commercial buildings in CARICOM Member States. The team will also review the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in an effort to adapt it, where necessary, and present for acceptance and adoption by Member States as a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code.
This development comes against the background of steps the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been taking to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energy resources into their energy mix. The much-needed economic transformation, energy independence and security and the reduction of environmental effects from the combustion of fossil fuels, are expected to flow from the implementation of these measures.
In general, energy efficiency measures are highly cost-effective as investments and all stakeholders in the Region need to re-examine the way in which energy is used and to identify ways of using energy more efficiently. The energy intensity index in CARICOM is higher than the energy intensity index of the world and about two and a half times that of the European Union. A continued focus on energy efficiency practices can help mitigate the increase in the atmospheric temperatures and climatic changes over the years. The CARICOM Energy Strategy recommends a 33% reduction in energy intensity to be applied in all CARICOM Member States by 2027.
Improving the energy efficiency potential across sectors and economies is crucial for countries to deliver not only on climate objectives but to also improve their energy security, economic development and citizens’ health. Despite the benefits from energy efficiency, the current “low” oil prices pose a risk for the serious investment and application of more energy efficient mechanisms. Nevertheless, reducing the energy demand through improved energy efficiency makes renewable and non-renewable energy more affordable. In a world of finite resources; improvements in energy efficiency must be maximised.
Buildings account for over one-third of the world’s total energy use and associated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions; more than half of the electricity produced is consumed by buildings. Typically, 10% to 20% (depending on building type) of the total life-cycle energy consumed is used for the manufacturing and assembly of building materials, construction, maintenance, refurbishing and demolition; 80% to 90% is used, over the life of the building, for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation, house appliances, etc.
Recently therefore, there has been an increasing trend to promote supranational collaboration to develop international energy efficiency requirements or standards for buildings, such as, via the International Standards Organisation (ISO), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).
In the same manner, the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) are seeking to develop an REEBC. This initiative is being supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme.
The REEBC is expected to address all of the aspects of energy use in buildings which comprise of, but are not limited to: thermal performance requirements for walls, roofs and windows; day lighting, lamps and luminaire performance; energy performance of chillers and air distribution systems; the electrical wiring system; solar water heating; appliances; renewable energy; zoning of buildings, climate classification and building energy management systems.
(Submitted by CARICOM Secretariat)
All eyes will be focussed on Antigua and Barbuda next week, when the 30th Council of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) meets for the close out of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Programme and Directors’ meeting.
The March 13 – 17th Council meeting is expected to attract more than 50 persons from the 15 CARICOM Member States, the Dominican Republic, and even as far away as Germany, as many international organisations and agencies affiliated with trade and the European Union-funded 10th EDF TBT programme arrive in the country for the meeting.
The first day will feature a Close out Seminar of the CARIFORUM 10th EDF-TBT Programme which began in 2012. The programme, which lasted for a period of five (5) years, and will conclude this month, and was centred around the building of the region’s capabilities in the several areas of quality infrastructure, and using these capabilities as a means of managing and reducing technical barriers to trade. Quality infrastructure (QI) refers to the development of standards for products and services; metrology - which is the science of measurements and its related infrastructure; accreditation, and conformity assessment - primarily the services of testing, inspection and certification.
The managers and implementers of the project, namely the German Metrology Institute (PTB), and CROSQ, along with the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL), will give a breakdown of the project, with discussions centred on the successes, challenges, and lessons learnt over the past five (5) years.
The Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards (ABBS), which is serving as local hosts to the week of activities and meetings, will also use the occasion to launch the Antigua and Barbuda National Quality Awards Programme, which, once fully established, will recognise local producers and manufacturers of goods, as well as service providers who are and have introduced quality management and other quality-based systems and activities into their businesses.
“This is going to be a big occasion for Antigua and Barbuda to host an event of significant regional importance, and also to introduce to the public of our country the concept of creating a quality culture with the launch of this National Quality Awards. These Awards, which will be launched on the evening of March 13 will say to our businesses that we recognise the efforts to produce quality for our own consumption, as well as for export to the region and the rest of the globe.
“It is an initiative that was encouraged under the 10th EDF-TBT Programme, but one we thought important enough to introduce to our public and private sector here in Antigua and Barbuda. It will be a great celebration and achievement for all of us; and to have the rest of the region watching the unfolding of this Awards will be a tremendous boost for the country,” said Director of the ABBS, Mrs. Dianne Lalla-Rodrigues.
It was a sentiment shared by Chairman of CROSQ, Mr. Jose Trejo. He noted that the CROSQ Council of Directors was pleased to be hosted by the ABBS and the country of Antigua and Barbuda for the closing of the 10th EDF-TBT Programme which he noted had brought several notable improvements to the development of quality infrastructure in the region.
“We’ve seen advancements in equipment, physical infrastructure, skills of staff who have been trained in various areas and have participated in exercises to prove their competence over the period. I can say without contradiction that this programme has been a benefit to our region and has enabled us to form closer and greater ties with our colleagues across the region and further north to the Dominican Republic,” he said.
The Chairman said he was looking forward to the week of activities and to discussing with partners from the European Union, the CARIFORUM Directorate, as well as Germany and the Dominican Republic, the accomplishments that have been realised, as well as the valuable lessons learnt, which can be used for future developments in our quality infrastructure in the region;.
The 10th EDF-TBT Programme Close-out Seminar will take place on March 13, 2017 and will be followed by the meeting of the CROSQ Council, from Tuesday March 14, 2017 to Thursday March 16, 2017, where Directors and Executive Directors from National Standards Bodies across the CARICOM Region will look at arrangements for further developing QI across the region as well as other collaborative efforts for the year ahead.
About the 10th EDF-TBT Programme
The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) component of the 10th European Development Fund - Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (EDF-CRIP), "Support to the Caribbean Forum of the ACP States in the implementation of the commitments undertaken under the Economic Partnership Agreement", is funded through a Financial Agreement between the European Union and CARIFORUM.
The overall objective of the 10th EDF Programme is to support the beneficial integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy, to support regional cooperation and the development efforts of the Caribbean, in an effort to meet the requirements under the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARIFORUM. The EPA-TBT component is expected to facilitate intra- and inter-regional trade as well as international competitiveness and sustainable production of goods and services within the CARIFORUM states for the enhancement of social and economic development.
It is implemented by CROSQ and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL) in the Dominican Republic, and managed by the German Metrology Institute (PTB).