After three years of virtual meetings due to COVID-19, the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI) recently hosted the 2023 Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT) annual General Assembly. The event centered on the theme of “Action for Climate and Innovation”—aptly chosen, given the island’s vulnerability to climate change.
Held April 23-26, 2023, the event brought together 51 in-person delegates, with many more participating online. Led by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the U.S. delegation was the largest represented, and included the in-person participation of representatives from ASTM International, UL Standards & Engagement, and the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), with additional ANSI members attending virtually.
A diverse group of COPANT members and participants, including Sergio Mujica, ISO secretary general; Philippe Metzger, IEC secretary general; and other leaders, standards professionals, and senators actively participated in moderated conversations on combating climate change, sharing best practices, supporting the digital transformation, and promoting innovation.
Joseph Tretler, ANSI vice president of international policy, moderated a panel on standards and innovation, emphasizing the importance of working together to address the challenges of climate change: “Innovations in standards development are all around us, and ANSI embraces the changes that will help us to make the greatest impact.”
During a discussion on best practices in standards developing organizations (SDOs), ANSI shared information on its collaborative work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Colombian Institute for Technical Standards and Certification (ICONTEC). This year, ANSI facilitated the development of a reciprocal personal protective equipment guide to advance regional cooperation and the accessibility of standardization for trade—the first of its kind between the two organizations.
During the Assembly’s April 26 Climate Change Workshop, jointly sponsored by ANSI and ASTM, ASTM presented on “Considerations for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.” ASTM also commemorated its 125th anniversary alongside BNSI, which celebrated its 50th anniversary.
At the Assembly’s closing dinner, Hadyn Rhynd, acting director of BNSI, presented a Distinguished Service Award to the founder of the Institute: his father, Dudly Rhynd.
Next year, the Brazilian Organization of Technical Standards/Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas (ABNT) will host the 2024 COPANT Week activities in Maceio, followed by Cuba in 2025 and the Bahamas in 2026.