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Standards Alliance Connects U.S. and Southern African Countries on Effective Participation in ISO


05/05/2015

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently partnered with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Southern African Trade Hub to carry out training in Maseru, Lesotho, under the ANSI-USAID Standards Alliance initiative. The 3-day event involved participants from the U.S., Malawi, Zambia, and Lesotho and focused on International Organization for Standardization (ISO) national mirror committees.

The Standards Alliance is a funding facility that provides capacity building assistance to developing countries specifically related to the implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. The program has several main objectives, including increased use of and participation in the development of international standards. Currently, the Standards Alliance engages 10 partner countries or regions, including Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The national mirror committee training was organized in response to an expressed interest from Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia in enhancing ISO participation through a strengthening of their national mirror committees. Zambia and Lesotho are correspondent members of ISO while Malawi recently became a full member. As the U.S. member body to ISO and accreditor of all U.S. national mirror committees known as U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs), ANSI was able to leverage both institutional and member knowledge to coordinate the training session.

The training was led by representatives from ANSI’s ISO team along with the American Oil and Chemists Society, which leads the U.S. TAG for ISO Technical Committee (TC) 34, Food products; Advanced Resources International, which leads the U.S. TAG for ISO TC 82, Mining; and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, which leads the U.S. TAG for ISO TC 242, Energy management. Fifteen representatives from the national standards bodies and national mirror committees of Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia participated.

The first half of the training focused on cross-cutting issues related to national mirror committee formation and operation, including stakeholder engagement and participation in ISO meetings. The latter part provided participants with an overview of the work plan and dynamics of the ISO TCs for food products, mining, and energy management, which were identified by Lesotho, Malawi, and Zambia as priority TCs. Workshop participants agreed to an action plan for applying the knowledge gained through the training, including increased communication with U.S. and regional counterparts, and the development of guides and procedures for national mirror committees to follow.

Training materials, including an agenda, presentations, and shared resources, are available on the Standards Alliance website. For more information or questions, please contact standardsalliance@ansi.org.

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