In an effort to enhance understanding of the international standard ISO 37101, which supports sustainable urban planning, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – through its public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Standards Alliance – organized a two-day training activity in Yopougon, Côte d’Ivoire on September 15-16, 2020.
The event provided training for city-planning experts in two communities in the greater Abidjan region, Yopougon and Port Bouët. The government of Côte d’Ivoire recognizes ISO 37101, Sustainable Development in Communities - Management System For Sustainable Development - Requirements With Guidance For Use, as a method to decentralize urban planning across the country.
Held in coordination with Côte d’Ivoire’s Directorate General for Decentralization and Local Development (DGDDL), the event built on past Standards Alliance activities with DGDDL, which introduced previously ISO 37101 and highlighted methods to assist DGDDL in its mandate to establish a consistent and decentralized outline for city planning in Côte d’Ivoire. Following initial activities, ANSI and DGDDL signed a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding to work toward greater cooperation on standards and conformance-related issues between the U.S. and Côte d’Ivoire. The cooperative agreement paved the way for the development of a Standards Alliance pilot project to support the decentralization of city planning in Côte d’Ivoire.
The Standards Alliance and DGDDL are developing multi-stage work plan for two communities that will learn and implement ISO 37101. Throughout the pilot program, DGDDL will assess the progress of each community and use lessons learned to serve as examples for sustainable and decentralized city planning across Côte d'Ivoire.
The event marked the first of four planned trainings for the two pilot communities of Yopougon and Port Bouët to assist in their efforts to implement ISO 37101 in their communities. The activity also served as an awareness-building mission by inviting an additional 10 communities from the greater Abidjan region to observe the trainings.
In accordance with COVID-19 precautions and guidelines, the format of the event was adapted to accommodate participation from the U.S. and Cote d'Ivoire. Two U.S. experts representing Eurasia Environmental Associates, LCC and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Tim Van Epp and Dr. Vatsal Bhatt, delivered presentations via Webex while Ivorian participants were hosted in-person by DGDDL in accordance with local safety guidelines. Mr. Van Epp and Dr. Bhatt also participated in the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to Technical Committee 268 in the development of ISO 37101.
The workshop introduced the ISO 37101 implementation process and the path forward for communities seeking certification in the long-term. Prior to the workshop, each community conducted an institutional capacity assessment in order to understand their respective capacities for implementing ISO 37101’s Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development in communities. Representatives from Yopougon and Port Bouët completed surveys, which will serve to create a gap analysis regarding implementation of ISO 37101 for both communities.
Training also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss practical application of ISO 37101 as well as local and regional challenges to implementation in their individual communities. In addition to DGDDL and ANSI, participating entities included: USAID, the U.S. Embassy to Côte d’Ivoire, the Ivorian National Standards Body (CODINORM), as well as ministers and government officials hailing from Yopougon, Port Bouët, and 10 other communities from greater Abidjan.
About the Standards Alliance and Trade Africa
The Standards Alliance was announced by USAID in November 2012 as a new funding facility designed to provide capacity-building assistance to developing countries, specifically related to implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. The main objectives of the program include: increased understanding of WTO TBT principles; implementation of the Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards; improved transparency in the development and/or modification of technical regulations; and more robust and transparent engagement with the private sector in standards development and use.
Trade Africa was an initiative between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa that was initiated in 2013 with countries of the East African Community to increase continental and regional trade within Africa, and to expand trade and economic ties among the Unites States, Africa, and other global markets. In 2014, the Trade Africa Initiative expanded to involve new partners, including Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, and Zambia. In support of Trade Africa, the Standards Alliance partnered with Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique, Senegal, and Zambia to improve compliance with the WTO rules on trade facilitation and technical barriers to trade.
For more information on the Standards Alliance and for information on how to get involved in Standards Alliance activities with West Africa, visit the Standards Alliance web page.