The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently partnered with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves to organize Standards Alliance training in Accra, Ghana. The Standards Alliance is a public-private partnership between ANSI and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Its overall mission is to support implementation of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement in developing countries. The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is also a public-private partnership, hosted by the United Nations Foundation, with the goal of saving lives, improving livelihoods, empowering women and protecting the environment by creating a thriving global market for clean and efficient cookstoves.
The 1-day training in Accra focused on International Organization for Standardization (ISO) national mirror committees (NMCs). Participants included members of the ISO/TC 285, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions, who were gathered in Accra to participate in a November 3-6 plenary meeting. In particular, the NMC leadership of Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, DR Congo, Ghana, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda all participated in the capacity-building activity.
The training was led by ANSI, and included presentations from the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC 285, the Ugandan National Bureau of Standards, and ISO Central Secretariat. Topics covered include stakeholder outreach and engagement, the fundamentals of setting up an NMC, strategies for running and strengthening an NMC, consensus-building, as well as the ISO structure and process. These topics were each addressed in the context of TC 285 and developing country member bodies' efforts to boost their national participation and impact on the committee's work.
Increased participation in international standards development is one of the main objectives of the Standards Alliance. The training in Accra follows a similar training organized in Lesotho in April of this year [see related article]. As reported in the Standards Alliance Year 2 Annual Report, this type of engagement results in concrete outcomes for participating countries: a 28% increase in ISO participation between 2014 and 2015, and at least one new P-member "twinning" arrangement.