The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – through its public-private partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Standards Alliance, and in coordination with the Ivorian Directorate General for Decentralization and Local Development (DGDDL) – organized a two-day training activity in Port-Bouët, Côte d’Ivoire on March 2-3, 2021. The event was the second in a series of trainings supporting the implementation of ISO 37101, Sustainable development in communities, in two pilot communities.
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 or Sustainable Development - Requirements With Guidance for Use, as a method to decentralize urban planning across the country and views the Standards Alliance training series as a test case for national policy that will empower municipalities to become more active participants in local city planning.
In accordance with COVID-19 precautions and guidelines, the format of the event was adapted to accommodate participation from the U.S. and Côte d'Ivoire virtually. Two U.S. experts representing Eurasia Environmental Associates, LCC and Urbanable Greenovations, LLC – Tim Van Epp and Dr. Vatsal Bhatt, respectively – presented via WebEx while Ivorian participants were hosted in-person at the Port-Bouët townhall. Mr. Van Epp and Dr. Bhatt are members of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to ISO Technical Committee 268, Sustainable cities and communities, and facilitated the first workshop in September 2020.
The workshop built on past events to refine progress made to date and introduce sections 5 and 6 of ISO 37101 relating to leadership and planning. The pilot communities delivered multiple presentations demonstrating progress, identifying local challenges, and discussing next steps in their efforts to draft sustainable development plans. Dr. Bhatt and Mr. Van Epp shared their expertise on these topics, guiding the communities in evaluating current leadership styles, organizational structures, and development strategies.
The conversational format of the workshop allowed for each community to ask precise questions and pinpoint the pressure points in their institutions, which will need recalibrating to move towards ISO37101 certification. 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 various communities from greater Abidjan.
Held in coordination with Côte d’Ivoire’s DGDDL, this workshop series builds on past Standards Alliance activities with DGDDL. Following initial activities in 2019, ANSI and DGDDL signed a cooperative Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 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 have been developing a 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.
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.