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  • Ben Hedley
    The CSN has funding to offer a limited number of Comonwealth NSB delegates free access to the BSI ‘Road to Net Zero. Terminology and Principles’  eLearning course (the course is usually £325 but CSN is covering that cost).
    Please contact Ben Hedley if you are an employee of an NSB in the Commonwealth and would like to receive free access to the course. 
    Course details:
    Title: Road to Net Zero. Terminology and Principles.
    Purpose:  The course introduces ‘Road to Net Zero’ to non-sustainability professionals and helps develop understanding around the language, principles, and roadmap to Net Zero, including the key decisions around independent 3rd party verification or validation to PAS 2060 or a similar standard.
    Format: eLearning (delegates are given a registration link that provides on-demand access). Delegates will be sent a copy of PAS 2060:2014 for use with the course.
    Resources: Interactive activities and handouts.
    Certification: Globally recognised BSI certificate.
    Audience: Professionals looking to speak about the steps to achieve carbon neutrality with confidence.
    Suited to:
    ·       Those wanting to learn about the key concepts and principles of carbon neutrality.
    ·       Those considering net zero related certification.
    By the end of this training course, delegates will be able to:
    Gain the confidence to talk about the road to net zero with your colleagues and external stakeholders Develop foundational knowledge you can build on. Receive an internationally recognized BSI training academy certificate of attendance.  

    Ben Hedley
    In this episode of the Standards Show @BenHedley_BSI describes the role of the CSN, its relationship with regional and global  Standards organizations and Associations, and the impact it has had so far. 

    Ben Hedley
    BSI is hosting an online session in collaboration with Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (KATS) on how standards are critical to AI Safety on 2 May 2024.
    International standards play a key role in providing interoperability between legal jurisdictions and are increasingly referenced by legislation. Our expert speakers will discuss the importance of standardisation in AI technologies and how it can drive industrialisation of AI across different sectors.
    This session will take place in English on Zoom, we warmly invite interested CSN members and stakeholders to join. We encourage your early registration to secure a place, it’s free-of-charge via this link. Participant can submit a question for the panellist (before 29 April) and will receive a zoom link to the workshop after registration.
    More details are available

    Ben Hedley
    The existence of gender bias in AI algorithms and standards development
    When social media platforms use AI algorithms to moderate user-uploaded images, they may inadvertently censor and suppress photos featuring women's bodies.
    Why? Because these AI tools, developed by large technology companies like Google and Microsoft, have been found to consistently rate images of women as more sexually suggestive than comparable images of men.
    Even everyday situations, such as women receiving medical examinations, are flagged as sexually suggestive by these algorithms. For example, an image demonstrating how to perform a clinical breast exam was given the highest score for raciness by Google's AI, while Microsoft's AI was 82% confident that it was "explicitly sexual in nature." This algorithmic bias has real-world consequences, particularly for female-led businesses that rely on social media for promotion.
    The algorithmic gender bias in image moderation is just one example of how systems that are based on a default male standard can inadvertently cause harm. The same issue can have far-reaching consequences in other domains. For example, in the workplace, gender-biased performance evaluation algorithms have been found to perpetuate disparities in hiring and promotion.
    The movement towards gender-responsive standards emphasizes the importance of considering how standards might have unequal impacts. It recognizes that the status quo, which often takes men as the default, is not neutral and can actively disadvantage women.
    Roadmap to gender equality in standards development
    The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has been leading the charge in addressing gender bias in standards development. In 2016, they established the Gender Responsive Standards Initiative to integrate a gender lens into the process and content of standards.
    The initiative calls upon standards bodies to sign the Declaration for Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development, committing to actions such as:
    Creating and implementing a Gender Action Plan to become more gender-inclusive. Increasing the representation and participation of women in standards development committees. Analyzing the gender impacts of standards being developed and using sex-disaggregated data to inform the process. Over 50 standards organizations have already signed the declaration, demonstrating a growing recognition of the importance of gender responsiveness in standards development.
    Case studies highlight the positive impacts of this approach. For example, the development of gender-responsive standards for clean cookstoves has helped address the disproportionate health risks faced by women due to indoor air pollution in developing countries.
    To support standards bodies in their efforts, the UNECE has provided detailed guidance on how to implement gender-responsive practices. This includes conducting gender-based needs assessments, setting targets for women's participation, and establishing monitoring and evaluation frameworks to track progress.
    The need for gender-responsive standards has never been greater. By proactively addressing biases and ensuring diverse representation in standards development, we can create a future where the benefits of innovation are accessible to all, regardless of gender.
    The movement towards gender-responsive standards is a critical step towards achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality. It is only through concerted efforts and collaboration between standards bodies, policymakers, industry and civil society that we can hope to build a more inclusive and equitable world.
    To learn more, download our recently published Gender Responsive Standards guide. 

    Ben Hedley
    Driving sustainable nature investment with robust standards
    As the world grapples with the urgent need to address climate change and biodiversity loss, investors are increasingly turning their attention to nature-based solutions.
    A recent report by Pollination, a global climate change investment and advisory firm, reveals that more than two-thirds of investors worldwide plan to increase their investments in nature-related ventures, with 75% believing that such investments will eventually evolve into a distinct asset class.
    This growing interest in nature markets is driven by a combination of factors, including the potential for financial returns, the desire to make a positive environmental impact and the increasing pressure on businesses to address their carbon footprint and contribute to net-zero targets.
    However, as nature markets continue to grow, so too do concerns about greenwashing and the lack of standardization in the sector. Greenwashing, the practice of making misleading or unsubstantiated claims about the environmental benefits of a product or service, poses a significant risk to the integrity and credibility of nature markets.
    Without clear standards and guidelines, investors may struggle to distinguish between genuine nature-based solutions and those that are merely paying lip service to sustainability.
    The crucial role of standards in building trust and confidence
    This is where the development of robust standards and frameworks becomes crucial. By establishing clear criteria for what constitutes a high-quality nature investment, standards can help to build trust and confidence in the market, attracting more investors and driving sustainable growth.
    One such standard is BSI Flex 701, the first in a suite of nature investment standards developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in collaboration with the UK Government, devolved administrations and a wide range of stakeholders. BSI Flex 701 provides a common framework and principles for the design and operation of high-integrity nature schemes, outlining clear requirements for generating, trading and storing nature units.
    The standard is intended for use by all nature market participants and will serve as a foundational element in BSI's Nature Investment Standards Programme. As a BSI Flex, the standard is designed to evolve alongside emerging government policies and market developments, with ongoing review, discussion and improvement.
    While BSI Flex 701 is a UK-specific standard, its principles and framework have the potential to be applied more broadly across the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Standards Network will be exploring how this standard can be adapted and implemented in other member countries.
    The introduction of BSI Flex 701 marks a significant step forward for the UK's nature markets, providing a robust framework that can help to combat greenwashing, build investor confidence, and drive sustainable investment.
    Download BSI Flex 701 today.

    Ben Hedley
    CSN Publication & Webinar: Climate Action Guidance 
    Climate change requires action across society, and standards can play a key role in facilitating this.
    The CSN has published Climate Action Guidance aimed at standards development organizations, the publication contains the follwging information:
    The role of standards development organizations in climate action Organizational climate action Climate adaptation in standards development Climate mitigation in standards development Civil society in standards development Conclusions and recommendations The Author, Tom Cantillon has recorded a webinar to highlight the key concepts of the publication and the publication is available for free download: 

    Ben Hedley
    Organizational resilience is vital to safeguard businesses everywhere
    The only certainty in life is change. Businesses that fail to adapt to circumstances quickly find themselves in trouble, while those that invest in resilience find new opportunities in times of change.
    The forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Samoa on 21 October 2024. This year’s theme will be resilience. How can organizations develop resilience, and how can standards help?
    What is resilience?
    Organizational resilience is defined by ISO 22316 as the ‘ability of an organization to absorb and adapt in a changing environment.’ This encompasses anticipation of change, preparation and response and it applies equally to incremental and sudden changes.
    Resilience is determined by four key factors:
    Governance - is there a strong system of senior management and stakeholders, that enables clear decision making, accountability and ease of implementation? Resilience - is the business as robust as it can be in the present moment, before any additional challenges come along? Are problems addressed, or left to linger? Business continuity - is the organization vulnerable to disruption, for example would operations cease if a key staff member fell ill or a piece of equipment malfunctioned? Crisis management - are there workable plans in place to deal with a crisis, which are well understood by employees, actionable and practical? To deliver these factors, an organization needs strong leadership, good risk management, a sense of its values and awareness of how the environment is changing.
    How does increased resilience benefit an organization?
    Clearly, resilience can help an organization when disaster strikes. For example, if part of a supply chain suddenly fails, a resilient organization might have already scoped out alternative suppliers, have a communications plan to manage any reputational impact, and a system in place to make sure that the transition to a new supplier is a smooth one.
    In addition, the process of developing resilience can be beneficial in itself. It might be that an organization looking at alternative suppliers discovers that those alternatives are preferable in some way to the current supplier. Or it might be that the communications plan flags up issues with the organization’s ability to identify and contact key audiences.
    CSN and resilience
     Since its inception in 2018, CSN has made resilience an important focus of its work. The principles and frameworks involved in developing resilience can be used by organizations of any size or sector. CSN will be working to ensure standards and quality infrastructure are on the agenda at CHOGM, helping to support organizations develop resilience.
    This year’s CHOGM promises to be an interesting event. Look out for updates on the discussion and any outcomes or resolutions.

    Ben Hedley
    The CSN has been mapping Commonwealth participation in standards development 
    The story about the blind men and the elephant has been told for thousands of years.
    A group of blind men describe what an elephant is like based on the part each one is touching. The man who feels the tusk says an elephant is hard and smooth, the one stroking its side says the elephant is soft and wrinkly, and so on.  Each man is not entirely wrong, but only has part of the picture.
    This is a familiar parable, but a useful one. By incorporating a diversity of viewpoints, we come to a fuller appreciation of the whole and a greater depth of understanding. It’s a principle that applies as well to standards development as to other areas of life.
    Diversity within standards development
    It is now widely accepted in the corporate world that incorporating different viewpoints is not only equitable, it is also a strategic strength. Executive teams that incorporate ethnic and gender diversity outperform those with low diversity.
    When it comes to standards development, however, diversity remains a challenge. This includes the representation of developing countries alongside developed nations.
    Around three quarters of ISO members are from developing countries, but there is still a perception that ISO and other international standards bodies reflect the priorities of developed nations. Many ISO standards have their origins in national standards developed in Western countries.
    ISO has developed an action plan for 2021-2025 to help developing countries use standards to meet key goals, including the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
    We need to know more about how different countries engage with standards
    The CSN is determined to ensure that diversity of opinion is reflected in international standards. To find out more about how standards are viewed throughout the Commonwealth, CSN is preparing a report to give more detail about how Commonwealth nations engage with standards and what the barriers are to participation.
    The report, built on data collected from a detailed questionnaire, will look at issues such as environmental management systems, governance of organizations, drivers for participation of National Standards Bodies in ISO technical and standards committees and sustainable finance.
    The report will give insights into how standards are perceived around the Commonwealth, including case studies detailing the experience of different NSBs. The findings should help CSN to ensure diversity and inclusion is at the heart of its activities. The in-depth report will be accompanied by training materials and resources to help NSBs explore the issues.
    Why diversity matters in standards for Commonwealth countries
    Use of standards has many benefits for Commonwealth countries, helping to support trade and development, reduce waste and improve efficiency, managing environmental risks, ensuring interoperability and more.
    However, for these benefits to be available within Commonwealth countries, the standards need to be suited to the needs of those societies. A standard that does not take into account the full range or perspectives across the Commonwealth is less likely to be used, or may be applied inappropriately.
    The report is due to be published next week March - check back to get your free copy.

    Ben Hedley
    Standards New Zealand - helping with accessibility for sight-impaired people
    Standards like AS/NZS 1428.4.1 play a crucial role in providing tactile ground surface indicators (TGSIs) to aid orientation and safety for the visually impaired in navigating busy streets.
    Advocating for Safer Environments
    Over 180,000 New Zealanders and 400,000 Australians living with blindness or low vision face accessibility challenges. AS/NZS 1428.4.1 was collaboratively developed to address this need, involving various experts and advocates.
    Encouraging Compliance
    While not mandated by New Zealand building regulations, adhering to AS/NZS 1428.4.1 aligns with broader legislation promoting equal rights for disabled individuals. It assists councils, landowners, contractors, and surveyors in integrating TGSIs effectively into public spaces.
    Ensuring Proper Implementation
    AS/NZS 1428.4.1 provides comprehensive instructions for TGSI installation, ensuring uniform application and promoting consistency and safety across various environments.
    Standardized Practices for Inclusive Access
    Following established standards like AS/NZS 1428.4.1 in TGSI installation ensures equitable and safe access for thousands of visually impaired individuals.

    Ben Hedley
    Singapore ramps up support for businesses transitioning to a low-carbon, sustainable future
    Initiatives include grants to boost energy efficiency, extend green financing, and enhance sustainability reporting. Notably, a new Sustainability Reporting Grant will aid large companies in aligning with international standards, gearing up for upcoming regulations mandating climate-related disclosures.

    Ben Hedley
    South Africa Bureau of Standards (SABS)  hosted the African Organisation for Standardisation Technical Committee 59 (ARSO/TC 59) 4-8 March 2024 to discuss vital technical standardisation for the continent's automotive sector. With a focus on fuel efficiency and low emissions, discussions aim to align international standards and foster harmonisation crucial for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).   The event underscores Africa's potential to leverage natural resources for sustainable automotive solutions. 03 04 Automotive industry in Africa.pdf

    Ben Hedley
    International Standards supporting SDGs
    The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2023 makes clear that, halfway to the 2030 deadline for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), progress has not met expectations. Urgent action is required to address poverty and inequality, improve social protections, education and gender equality, and widen access to digital technology.
    UN Secretary-General Guterres says that ‘these shifts must be supported by strengthened national institutions, greater accountability, effective regulatory frameworks and stronger digital infrastructure and data capacity.’
    Standards have a crucial role to play in providing the underlying frameworks and assurance that can pave the way to progress on SDGs.
    What progress has been made towards the SDGs?
    In 2015, the UN agreed a 15-year plan to address some of the most pressing issues in the world by 2030. These issues were divided into 17 SDGS, covering everything from poverty and hunger to the environment, economic growth and strong institutions.
    Achieving the SDGs was never going to be easy, but world events since 2015 have created additional challenges. However, some analysts say that governmental inaction is also a major factor: the bold leadership required to change people’s habits has been lacking.
    According to the UN, of the 140 SDG targets that can be evaluated, half show moderate or severe deviations from the desirable trajectory. Almost one third (30%) of targets have shown no progress or have even reversed below the 2015 baseline.
    For governments, especially in developing countries, making progress on MDGs has to be balanced against other priorities. The long-term, open-ended nature of MDGs and the additional vision required to translate the goals into tangible, country-specific action might mean MDGs lose out to other needs.
    ISO standards to help meet SDGs
    The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published over 22,000 standards and related documents setting out guidelines and frameworks formed through international consensus. Many of these ISO standards can be used to put ideas into practice.
    ISO has even identified how many standards in its portfolio relate to each SDG – by far the most standards relate to SDG 9: industry innovation and infrastructure; 14,847 standards relate to this goal.
    For example, ISO 44001 covers business relationship management systems, which can help to facilitate business practices and relationships, while ISO 56002 sets out guidance on innovation management systems and ISO 56003 offers tools and methods for collaborative innovation partnership. Use of these standards can help to create an environment where businesses work together to become more than the sum of their parts, allowing them to innovate, grow and compete internationally.
    ISO standards can also help businesses to operate safely and with minimum impacts on the environment, for example by providing test methods to determine pollution levels, or specifications that help to ensure buildings are safe for users.
    Another key area where ISO standards can help is with SDG: Good health and Well-being. In developing countries, ensuring access to high quality healthcare is a challenge that can impact on national productivity and quality of life. ISO standards for everything from the ISO 11137 series on sterilizing healthcare products to ISO 37101 on the sustainable development of communities, or ISO 45001 on occupational health and safety, offer support for sectors and organizations looking to make improvements.
    Why not take a look at the ISO standards for yourself?

    Ben Hedley
    African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC)  renew their memorandum of understanding 
    ARSO and ITC recently signed a renewed memorandum of understanding to contribute to continent-wide efforts to establish a ‘Made in Africa’ label and boost trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
    "The agreement renews a working commitment between the two organizations for five years until 2028, with an updated cooperation framework reflecting developments in Africa’s regional integration efforts, underpinned by the AfCFTA, and a growing global shift towards the use of sustainability standards to demonstrate commitment to good environmental, social, ethical and food safety practices.
    The organizations will also promote regional standards in AfCFTA priority sectors and the Eco Mark Africa ecolabel. They will work together to align National Quality Policies with the Africa Quality Policy, and provide other AfCFTA support measures, including tailored training sessions for small businesses, including those led by women and young entrepreneurs.
    At the signing ceremony, ARSO Secretary General Dr. Hermogene Nsengimana said: ‘This MOU will generate greater commitment between our organizations and boost intra-Africa trade, particularly through diversified production of value-added industrial products, across all priority sectors of Africa’s economy. Together, we will accelerate standardization activities to increase the competitiveness of African enterprises, strengthen regional value chains and pave the way for Made in Africa goods and services.’
    In her remarks, ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton highlighted the role of stronger collaboration between the two organizations to strengthen regional integration and industrialization, building on improved quality infrastructure systems. Quality infrastructure services from ARSO enable AfCFTA State Parties to meet AfCFTA requirements."

    Ben Hedley
    A groundbreaking workplace standard
    The creation of the BS 30416 Menstruation, menstrual health and menopause in the workplace standard gives business leaders, employers and managers the tools to establish inclusive organizations.
    The stigma surrounding menopause and menstruation has stalled effective support in the workplace for individuals, leading to avoidable stress for employees and unfairness within businesses. Addressing workplace challenges related to menstruation and menopause is crucial for fostering inclusivity and fairness.  With only a small fraction of workplaces having specific policies in place, there's a pressing need for change to mitigate stress and promote job satisfaction.
    The BS 30416 standard provides a framework for businesses to create inclusive environments through measures like non-stigmatizing language, access to facilities, and flexible working arrangements. By fostering open communication and implementing practical solutions, businesses can support employees experiencing menstruation and menopause, ultimately enhancing productivity and retention.
    To deliver more positive outcomes for women's rights at work, BS 30416 contains guidance around non-stigmatizing language, access to facilities, and menstruation and menopause advocates, as well as provisions for flexible working for more severe symptoms (e.g. those experiencing endometriosis). Other practical measures cover comfortable seating, fans at desks and alternative uniforms. Open communication between employees and managers are also encouraged to remove the workplace stigma around menstruation, menstrual health and menopause.

    Ben Hedley
    Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) and the Tanzania Police Force have joined forces to revolutionize vehicle inspections through the use of modern digital facilities.
    The partnership, marked by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing, aims to enhance road safety and protect lives from potential accidents.
    TBS Director General Dr Athuman Ngenya emphasized the shift from manual vehicle inspections to employing advanced digital equipment, ensuring efficiency and safety for all road users. The initiative,  will deploy TBS experts and modern tools across the country, significantly contributing to reducing unnecessary road fatalities.
    The collaboration signals a new era of enhanced vehicle inspection, promoting adherence to safety standards on Tanzania's roads.


    Ben Hedley
    Business Growth Toolkit  – a series from The Standards Show - developed in collaboration with Innovate UK EDGE.
    The series looks at the relationship between standards and some key business issues, with particular relevance for SMEs.
    In this episode of the series Matthew speaks to Adrian Miller from The Institute of Collaborative Working about ISO 44001 – the international standard for collaborative business relationships.

    Ben Hedley
    Small yards, big tents: How to build cooperation on critical international standards. Published by Brookings 11/03/2024.
    Key points:
    "Government can and should take steps to enable greater participation from a wider range of stakeholders but, if the system of standards development for AI and other critical emerging technologies is to be led by key standards development organizations (SDOs), these organizatons will have to do the most to broaden participation." "Governments can heighten awareness of standards and participation among their own personnel and the public. Elevating the level of the leadership involved standards-related activities will help increase their visibility." "The U.S., EU, China, and other governments and international bodies have recognized a need for international engagement on standards."

    Ben Hedley
    The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has been granted accreditation by the International Accreditation Service (IAS) for four globally recognized Management System Standards.
    "A statement issued by the organisation listed the four Management System Standards as follows: Quality Management System (QMS) ISO 9001:2015, Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) ISO 45001:2018, Environmental Management System (EMS) ISO 14001:2015 and Food Safety Management System (FSMS) ISO 22000:2018.
    The remarkable accomplishment follows a rigorous assessment process conducted by IAS, verifying that the SON MSC department’s operations and audits conducted by SON auditors, comprehensively meet the stringent requirements of these international standards."

    Ben Hedley
    The Ministry of Public Service, Consumer Affairs, and Sports and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on January 25th, 2024. T   his agreement aims to enhance cooperation and facilitate the exchange of vital information between the two entities. As a significant step in implementing the Consumer Protection Act No. 12 of 2020, this MOU solidifies collaboration in various areas, including the publication of standards, identification of goods and services meeting standards, and investigation of complaints. Signed by Mr. Raymond Ryan, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and Mr. Ezra Ledger, Executive Director of the Bureau, this MOU marks a milestone in ensuring consumer rights and product quality.   #MOU #ConsumerProtection #Collaboration

    Ben Hedley
    The launch of the Management System Certification Body (MSCB) marks a significant milestone for Sierra Leone, being the first of its kind in the country. Companies seeking certification for their management systems will now have the opportunity to do so through this innovative initiative. Certification fees range from $8,000 to $10,000, offering companies a valuable avenue to demonstrate their commitment to quality and efficiency.

    Ben Hedley
    St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS) achieves a groundbreaking milestone!   As of January 25th, 2024, it is the first lab in the Caribbean and Western Hemisphere to gain ISO 17025 accreditation in Air Quality. ISO 17025 accreditation ensures technical competence, quality, and reliability of results. Stay tuned as SKNBS aims for accreditation in three more labs by 2025, along with ISO9001 certification in 2024.   #SKNBS #ISO17025 #AirQualityAccreditation

    Ben Hedley
    SCC launches Indo-Pacific standardization activities with Mongolia agreement
    "As part of the federal government’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) is pleased to announce that it is playing a key role in implementing Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and receiving 2.5 million to undertake activities that will enhance trade, investment, and supply chain resilience in the region. 
    ...As Canada’s national standards body and leading accreditation body, SCC is proud to be part of this new strategy as standards and conformity assessment help reduce trade barriers and contribute to the trustworthiness and confidence of the international trading system. "

    Ben Hedley
    The theme for Commonwealth Day 2024, and the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, is ‘One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Common Wealth’.
    Standards and wider Quality Infrastructure play a key role in creating and maintaining resiliance. The CSN is collaborating with our Commonwealth Partners to ensure the use of standards improve resiliance throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.

    Ben Hedley
    WTO Digital Progress and Trends Report 2023 available for download 
    "This report tracks global progress of digitalization and countries’ production and use of digital technologies, from digital jobs, digital services exports, and app development to internet use, affordability, quality, and more.  
    The report also highlights policy shifts and debates, with a focus on developing countries.  Two clear trends have emerged that are shaping our digital future: the importance of digital public infrastructure and the transformative emergence of artificial intelligence.
    Closely measuring digital progress, especially in developing countries, will help policy makers and the private sector best direct their efforts to close the digital divide.  "

    Ben Hedley
    The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs,has announced a $63 million funding to TradeMark Africa.
    "This strategic investment will fuel TradeMark Africa’s Strategy, covering the period till 2030, aimed at driving green, sustainable economic growth, fostering innovative trade practices, and promoting inclusive trade across Africa.............The Netherlands’ contribution will be invested in strengthening trade systems so that they benefit local exporters, foster economic growth, and create sustainable livelihoods across diverse sectors. This investment will be instrumental in improving market access for local products at the global level, in addition to bolstering initiatives that drive innovation, research, and development within the African market, enhancing competitiveness and green trading practices."

    Ben Hedley
    Know Your Rights When Engaging a Service Provider:  As a consumer, understanding your rights and responsibilities when utilizing services is essential. When presented with a standard contract, it's crucial to review it carefully and seek clarification on any unclear terms. Additionally, you have the right to expect a certain level of quality from the products or services provided, and if they fail to meet this standard, you are entitled to seek redress.
    "On Wednesday 14th February, the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority in collaboration with the European Commission organised a Consumer Dialogue to discuss with stakeholders the implementation of The New Consumer Agenda. The Dialogue was held at the EC Representation Office in Valletta.
    The Malta Consumer Dialogue forms part of a series of Consumer Dialogues which the Commission is hosting in all EU Member States with a view to strengthening close collaboration and partnerships at both EU and national level, with the overall aim of bringing swifter and more enduring outcomes.
    In his address, European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders  commended Malta’s high consumer confidence rate as measured through the latest Consumer Conditions Survey. He highlighted that this was also testament of the Authority’s commitment to enforce consumer protection laws. Commissioner Reynders also remarked that protecting consumers in the digital age has brought a new set of challenges and that the Commission is currently assessing existing EU consumer laws for their adequacy in addressing new digital issues such as dark patterns and influencer marketing."

    Ben Hedley
    The Mozambique National Institute of Standardization and Quality (INNOQ) has delivered  workshops 19-21st  February, to discuss its Strategic Plan for the period from 2024 to 2028. The meeting is promoted debates exploring different perspectives that are contributing to the construction of strategic goals and actions:

    Ben Hedley
    The Namibian Standards Institution (NSI) is one of the key performance indicators (KPI) of the country’s national quality infrastructure. 
    "The NSI is pleased to announce the ongoing implementation of the National Standardization Strategy Project. This groundbreaking initiative, funded by UNDP and EPA, aims to bolster Namibia's quality infrastructure and drive socio-economic growth through the development and implementation of robust national standards."
    National standardisation strategy worksjhops are taking place on 12-14 March to engage stakeholders and inform the development of the National Standards Plan:

    Ben Hedley
    Could standards help unleash the potential of AI in the low income countries?
    Artificial intelligence (AI) provides an interesting insight into the relationship between standards and policies. AI is purported to be an historic game changer in the way that the arrival of the railway or the internet was: a force that changes the way we do everything from government to business to running an individual household.
    When this kind of change takes place, policies and standards both play an important role in ensuring that adoption of the technology is done in a way that manages risk while supporting innovation. Standards can be ussed as a powerful tool to support Policy objectives. 
    The potential of AI for emerging economies
    AI could have a radical impact on developing countries around the world, as a recent Economist article points out. Some of the most intractable challenges could be addressed by AI, for example:
    ●      AI chatbots could help to teach children in hard-to-reach places, reducing the workload of overstretched teachers and making learning more engaging;
    ●      Making up skilled labour shortages in specialist areas like engineering and medicine through automation of tasks such as scan assessment;
    ●      Provision of health advice in places where healthcare services are hard to access;
    ●      Giving low-cost training to workers in critical industries;
    ●      Gathering data on agricultural land to help make farming more efficient and productive;
    ●      Generating data about issues like population density to help inform government and charity activities;
    ●      Automation of form-filling bureaucracy that can be time-consuming and limits opportunities for people with low literacy.
    These are just a few of the potential ways that AI could help to make populations in developing countries healthier, better educated and better informed, improving quality of life and addressing global inequalities.
    The challenge of new technology
    The adoption of AI will be shaped by many factors. The technology comes with risks and challenges as well as opportunities. Governments around the world are grappling with the legislation, regulation and policies that will enable benefits to be harnessed, while minimizing risks. Policies might include establishing organizations to promote the use of AI, investment in infrastructure, funding programmes and more.
    Policy decisions require a country’s politicians to make decisions about the direction they want to take. This includes how far technology should be implemented in exchange for anticipated benefits, and where to place restrictions due to aspects such as data privacy or business continuity.
    In contrast, standards distil consensus opinion about the best way to do something. As a recent Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) paper states, standards are typically independent of government but may form part of an overall landscape shaped by government policy. So for example, if government policy states that use of AI must place curbs on how private data should be stored and processed, standards can step in with guidance on how that goal can be achieved.
    Standards and Regulations can support each other
    As the CSN paper explains, good standards practices work in combination with good regulatory practices to provide a framework for progress.
    In the case of AI, standards might assist with:
    ●      Providing a framework for managing risk;
    ●      Setting out best practice in data controls;
    ●      Establishment of shared definitions of key concepts;
    ●      Enabling participation in regional and global markets.
    To find out more, take a look at our Executive Summary on the role of standards in supporting policy.

    Ben Hedley
    Foodborne disease is as much of a problem as malaria – how standards are helping to tackle it
    Foodborne diseases place as much of a burden on developing countries as malaria. The global economic burden is estimated to be over US$100 million each year, with 90% of this impacting low and middle-income countries.
    However, whereas the eradication of malaria is a high-profile goal, improving food safety gets less attention. The good news is that standards have an important part to play in improving food safety, and they can be adapted for anything from complex supply chains to informal local markets.
    The toll of unsafe food practices
    Around 600 million people fall ill and die due to unsafe food each year. In emerging economies, the problem is often complicated by pre-existing malnutrition and reduced access to healthcare.
    Foodborne disease outbreaks in developing countries are likely to be underreported and underestimated. Accurate data on the issue is hard to gather, making it more challenging for governments and authorities to address the issue.
    In addition to the human suffering involved, food safety issues have a socioeconomic impact: reduced productivity, additional strain on health systems and a detriment to trade and tourism.
    Tackling the issue of food safety
    This is not an easy problem to address, because it has many causes. Unsafe raw food, inappropriate storage temperature, poor storage infrastructure, inadequate cooking, poor personal hygiene, improper handling methods and cross-contamination of cooked and raw food all contribute.
    Foodborne disease includes bacterial infection such as salmonella, campylobacter, E-coli, listeria, and cholera. Viruses including Hepatitis A can be transmitted through food, causing lasting liver disease. Food can also carry parasites, prions (infectious agents composed of protein - bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE is associated with ingestion of prions). Food can also be compromised by chemicals, which may occur through mould, pollution of air, water or soil or through other vectors.
    Contamination of food can take place within the home, or at any point in the supply chain – farming, distribution, packing, wholesale, retail and restaurants. The challenge is partly one of awareness and improving the understanding of food safety, but it is also about infrastructure and access to refrigerated transport, clean water, reliable energy and refrigeration.
    Using an international standard to save lives
    There is sometimes a perception that standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are intended for large corporations rather than small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but this is not the case.
    ISO 22000 Food safety management helps organizations to identify food safety hazards and reduce exposure to risk. It outlines the processes that can be used to create a food safety management system (FSMS), for example by identifying hazards and putting controls in place.
    A National Quality Infrastructure can be used to bring about systemic change, helping to enforce regulations, raise awareness and monitor performance effectively. Find out more here.

    Ben Hedley
    The UK Government have published an 'introductory guide for practitioners interested in finding out how assurance techniques can support the development of responsible AI.'
    ISO and IEC Standards are heavily referenced in the publication as a tool to help ensure safety, security, transparency, accountability, and good governance:

    Ben Hedley
    "The UK will today [Tuesday 13 February] sign a partnership with Nigeria to boost trade and investment and unlock new opportunities for UK and Nigerian businesses. 
    The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) is the first the UK has signed with an African country and is designed to grow the UK and Nigeria’s already thriving trading relationship, which totalled £7 billion in the year to September 2023. 
    The partnership will create opportunities across a breadth of sectors crucial to both economies, such as financial and legal services.
    It will see Nigeria commit to working towards removing barriers preventing UK lawyers from practising international and foreign law in Nigeria, a step that could significantly increase UK legal services exports. It will also pave the way for further collaboration in the film and media industry and encourage world-leading UK education providers to offer high quality education in Nigeria.
    Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and one of the world’s fastest growing economies – predicted to be in the top 20 by GDP by 2035. It is also predicted by the UN to nearly double its population to over 370 million people by 2050"  

    Ben Hedley
    Can standards help nations make meaningful progress towards domestic ambitions?  
    A recent article in the FT claimed that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by the UN General Assembly in 2015 are well-meaning but ‘doomed from the start.’  
    Why? Well, the SDGs, a set of 13 ambitious goals which cover everything from ending poverty to ensuring good health and wellbeing for everyone on the planet to creating resilient infrastructure, are said to be too broad.  
    In addition, some goals conflict with each other. Building a road network might generate economic development and improve infrastructure, but it could also lead to more pollution, road deaths, deforestation and so on.  
    Could standards provide an alternative approach?  
    Criticism of the SDGs may sound like a counsel for despair. If the SDGs are too lofty in their ambitions, what’s the alternative? The FT article argues that the SDGs ‘prioritise everything’ and therefore make progress unattainable, especially for lower income countries with limited resources.  
    The world of standards can point the way to a different approach. Standards are developed by experts who have experience in making change happen. They distil best practice and provide a common sense, consensus approach to a given area. In contrast to SDGs and policies that set out a direction of travel, they provide a roadmap of how to actually make real progress on the ground.  
    A National Standards Body (NSB) can assess a nation’s National Quality Infrastructure, develop a National Standardization Strategy and begin to develop a body of standards that work for the specific needs of that country. This provides an invaluable tool for sectors and organizations trying to improve and contribute to economic development.  
    How do standards help? 
    Standards provide guidance and support for anything from manufacturing to managing people. They help to set out criteria for testing and measurements that provide certainty and improve trust in a marketplace.  
    As CSN’s recent 'Roadmap for NSBs'  publication points out, standards have been proven to provide benefits at a company, sector and national level. Firstly, standards help to streamline operations, improving efficiency and reducing waste. Secondly, they help organizations to innovate and scale up, taking the next step in expansion and growth. Finally, standards also provide help to enter new markets, whether this is development of new products or a shift into international markets.  
    Standards enable organizations to access the wisdom of experts and experienced professionals. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, standards users can accelerate their progress and demonstrate competence.  
    A comprehensive system: 
    When FT journalist David Pilling claimed SDGs are flawed, he was envisaging that making progress on many fronts at once would be too difficult. However, organizations around the world have found ways to balance priorities and make informed choices about their priorities. Standards systems help organizations work out challenges such as how to grow while reducing carbon emissions, or how to ensure supply chain partners meet quality requirements.  
     For each SDG, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has identified the standards that make the most significant contribution, they peovide clear pathways to help organisations to achieve SGGs.  With over 22,000 ISO standards covering almost every subject, from products through to procedures, there are many industry specific ISO standards that correspond to each of the SDGs.
    Find out more: 
    CSN Roadmap for National Standards Bodies ISO Standards supporting SDGs

    Ben Hedley
    The Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) has undertaken a rigorous operation resulting in the destruction of a staggering 837,075.07 tonnes of counterfeit goods valued at 21.8 million Tanzanian Shillings. Seized from various locations, including warehouses, hotels, and shops in Dodoma and Singida regions, the counterfeit products, which encompassed expired items and those with hazardous contents, were disposed of at Chidaya in Dodoma.
    Vincent Tarimo, TBS Central Zone quality control officer, emphasized the adverse effects of counterfeit goods on both the economy and public health. Counterfeit products, especially those with expired usage dates, pose risks ranging from short-term ailments to severe long-term diseases, including cancer. Tarimo underscored the continuous inspections across the country and urged traders to regularly assess their products for quality assurance, adhering to producers' guidelines and refraining from selling items with toxic ingredients.
    Strict legal actions will be pursued against unscrupulous traders, reinforcing TBS's commitment to upholding laws and regulations governing product quality and safety.

    Ben Hedley
    "Standards Australia is working to uplift the Timor-Leste standards body, IQTL, in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and its Partnership for Inclusive Prosperity (PROSIVU) program.
    The Timor-Leste Standards Uplift Initiative offers comprehensive training, fellow arrangements, and sector-specific exploration to identify opportunities for standards."

    Ben Hedley
    The Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS), embracing the Circular Economy:
    In a world dominated by the linear take-make-dispose model, the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) actively promotes awareness and action towards a circular economy. The circular approach aims to eliminate product waste by keeping materials and products in circulation, addressing challenges like resource scarcity and environmental pollution.
    TTBS is engaging in key projects, including QI4CE, supporting the Circular Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the National Mirror Committee contributes to ISO TC323  for Circular Economy.
    Collaborating with organizations like the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), TTBS strives for sustainable waste management, exemplified by initiatives such as iCARE, Trinidad and Tobago's first national recycling project. Together, these efforts pave the way for a more sustainable and circular future.

    Ben Hedley
    "The Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) together with the South Sudan National Bureau of Standards (SSNBS) are set to harmonise sampling, test methods and certification processes to enhance bilateral trade between Uganda and South Sudan.
    The two National Standards Bodies have thus agreed that;
    All products covered by Compulsory Standards including cereals and cereal products  (mainly maize flour) must be certified by UNBS prior to being exported to South Sudan from Uganda. A Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) certificate from competent authorities in Uganda MUST accompany other products exported to South Sudan like fruits and vegetables, dairy products like fresh milk and yorghurt, chicken and chicken products, fish and fish products. A technical team from the two standards bodies to be set up to harmonise sampling, test methods and certification processes, among other resolutions.

    Ben Hedley
    The Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and South Africa Bureau of Standards Commercial (SABS Commercial) have signeda Memorandum of Understanding. This collaboration aims to boost trade between Zambia and South Africa by promoting quality in products and services.

    Ben Hedley
    Celebrating World Quality Day on November 9, 2023, the City of Cape Town achieved a significant milestone as its Brooklands, Blackheath, and Voëlvlei Water Treatment Plants were awarded the ISO 22000 food safety management system certification by the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). ISO 22000, an esteemed international standard, specifically addresses food safety management, with a crucial emphasis on ensuring the safety of the focus product—drinking water. This recognition underscores the City's commitment to the highest standards in water treatment and safety.  #WorldQualityDay #ISO22000Certification #WaterSafety


    Ben Hedley
    On 11th December, ISO published this message from  President, AirVironment Canada Inc., and Chair-elect, ISO/TC 207, Environmental management:
    "Standards create change faster. Climate change is happening fast. The world does not have time to prevaricate. But ISO standards can help us make the right policies and speed up the pace.
    Standards can supercharge our climate efforts .
    It is paramount that organizations clearly report on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their progress on reducing them. Standards are helping to guide the development of greenhouse gas inventories, which comprehensively list GHG volumes and where they come from. As such, they are an effective tool as we work to curb emissions, because they demand verifiable evidence. This bolsters trust that climate action is action and not just rhetoric. "


    Ben Hedley

    BSI at COP 28

    By Ben Hedley, in News,

    As the UK’s National Standards Body, BSI’s presence at COP strengthens collaborations and explores partnerships to further build on the power of standards as accelerators for climate solutions.
    Standards are crucial to ensuring the net zero transition happens successfully and swiftly. The BSI delegation at COP28 has observer status and will come together with policymakers, stakeholders, and other standards bodies like ISO, to leverage the power of standards.
    BSI Calendar of COP events

    Ben Hedley
    Information from
    "What is the main challenge in developing global sustainability standards?
    At IEC, the Standardization Management Board already emphasizes the need to analyze how our standards contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals; and one of the key strategic goals of the IEC is to foster a sustainable future. So, we have agreement on the severity of the issue. Now, the main challenge that we face is to empower technical committees which are usually focused on performance standards to also address sustainability issues. These experts have spent decades perfecting their jobs. However, they do not always have sustainability expertise. And therein lies the gap that we need to bridge.
    ......What are some of the focus areas for the development of standards for sustainability?
    Naturally, standards that accelerate the transition to renewable energy alternatives and lead to a net-zero emissions world, are important. 
    Consequently, we hope for a wider adoption of renewable energy standards, electric vehicle standards, and sustainability elements within existing performance standards for products."

    Ben Hedley

    ISO Climate Action Kit

    By Ben Hedley, in News,

    The ISO Climate Action Kit is available for download
    ISO say:
    "International Standards are a vital tool for accelerating large-scale action by governments, businesses, organizations and individuals on both climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.
    ISO members play a vital role in advocating for policies that promote International Standards and contribute to climate action across all aspects of society. Collectively, we can provide perspectives from the real economy so that policy developments are fit for purpose.
    By sharing best practice and success stories on the role of International Standards for climate action with policymakers and regulatory bodies, we can support them to move faster, with higher levels of ambition. By demonstrating the wealth of expertise and knowledge that goes into the development of International Standards that support climate action, we can demonstrate leadership at the national and international level."

    Ben Hedley
    Participation in-person: 64 attendees representing 26 Nations, plus three regional organisations (ARSO, CROSQ, PACER). Online participation TBC, online recording will also be available.  
    Scott Steedman (BSI DG- Standards) and Raymond Murenzi (Rwanda Standards Board DG) opened and chaired the meeting; Karen Bell gave Keynote speech announcing CSN Phase 3 and Standards Partnership; Ben Hedley provided a CSN work programme update; Charles Davies provided a Standards Partnership programme update; Workshop discussion responding to proposed work programme: Canada: Supportive of CSN simplifying additional sustainability standards to SME audiences. Kenya: Supportive of CSN helping to communicate the value of using standards for private sector and government and building NSB capacity. Rwanda: Rwanda have signed the UN Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards & Standards Development, developed action plan, and published standards and supports CSN sharing learnings from this. Ghana:  Propose that CSN measure the levels of NSB maturity and address gaps - then support NSB discussions with Policy makers. Jamaica: Propose the CSN profile its membership and ability to help address the ‘digital divide’. ARSO: Supporting participation in international standards development is important. Trinidad & Tobago: CSN can support for NSBs to become financially sustainable –helping them develop business models. Presentations attached. CSN Annual Meeting_2023-09-21.pdf

    Ben Hedley

    New CSN funding announced

    By Ben Hedley, in News,

    At the 23rd Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) in New York on 21/09/23, Lord Ahmad announced £2.75 million to directly support Commonwealth countries through the UK’s new Standards Partnership Programme. In addition, £250, 000 of funding will re-energise the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN).
    This work, led by the British Standards Institution (BSI), will support developing countries to use internationally agreed standards, enhancing trade and boosting sustainable and inclusive growth. This will also ensure substantive training resources are available to support all Commonwealth members and open trade opportunities for international businesses.

    Ben Hedley
    CSN Annual Meeting invite and agenda_Thursday 21-09-2023, 13.00-13.50, Room M1, BCEC.pdf
    Event: 2023 Annual meeting of the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN)
    Date/Time: Thursday 21st September 2023; 13.00-13:50 (lunch available in the room from 12.30)
    Location: Room M1, Mezzanine, BCEC, Brisbane, Australia*
    Attendees: Representatives of National Standards Bodies from Commonwealth countries and other interested parties such as regional standards organisations.
    Welcome and Introductions
    ·       Hosted by CSN co-chairs.
    ·       Dr Scott Steedman,
    Director-General, Standards, BSI
    ·       Raymond Murenzi
    Director General, RSB
    ·       Launch of the new phase of UK government funded CSN work.  
    ·       Karen Bell,
    Minister-Counsellor, Head of Pacific Development Unit, British High Commission, Canberra
    CSN Phase 3 Overview
    ·       CSN 2023/24 work programme.
    ·       Ben Hedley,
    CSN Senior Programme Manager, BSI
    Standards Partnership
    ·       Standards Partnership overview – collaboration with CSN.
    ·       Charles Davies,
    Principal Consultant, BSI
    CSN membership programmes
    ·       Overview of membership work programmes relevant to the CSN.
    ·       CSN membership: Updates on programmes and areas for collaboration (e.g., gender responsive standards, inclusive stakeholder engagement, Digital Trade, standards development)
    Workshop discussion
    ·       Feedback on the proposed CSN work programme, areas for collaboration, suggestions for work programmes in future.
    ·       CSN membership
    *Also be accessible via Teams:
    ·       Meeting ID: 339 252 666 638
    ·       Passcode: omkPgL

    Ben Hedley
    The Little Book of Net Zero
    The Little Book of Net Zero is a straightforward 'how-to' guide to help you start your sustainability journey.
    You probably didn’t think much about climate change when you started your business. But climate change affects us all, and we can all play a part in combatting it. In order to address this problem, the UK has set a target to achieve ‘Net Zero’ GHG emissions by 2050. A goal that will only be achieved with the help of businesses.
    The Little Book of Net Zero offers all businesses, particularly small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the opportunity to look at the 2050 UK government's climate goal as a win-win scenario.
    Making a firm committment to achieve net zero in your business will mean that you will:
    Become more sustainable and socially responsible, Take control of energy costs, Improve performance, Become resilient. Download from here:*n4lha9*_ga*MTM2NzQzMzY0OC4xNjU4OTM2OTUw*_ga_RWDQ3VY9NQ*MTY4Nzk0NzMwNS43OC4xLjE2ODc5NDgwNjIuMC4wLjA.&_ga=2.111220164.1919300663.1687947306-1367433648.1658936950

    Ben Hedley
    Happy Commonwealth Day! 
    The 2023 theme is ‘Forging a sustainable and peaceful common future’, this is something that the standards and wider quality infrastructure can play a key role in achieving through standards such as ISO 3700 (Governance of organizations) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems). The CSN will continue to strive to achieve positive developmental outcomes  throughout the Commonwealth through collaboration and sharing of good practice.

    Ben Hedley
    "Delegates from the Americas and other parts of the world are expected to gather in Barbados to attend the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) General Assembly, from April 23 to 26, 2023.
     The high-level meeting, which will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael, will be attended by Secretary General of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Sergio Mujica, and President of COPANT, Mauricio Céspedes.
    Key presentations will be delivered by notable experts from ISO, and the British Standards Institution, Brazil, Costa Rica, United States of America, and the Caribbean. Critical issues surrounding innovation, digital transformation, sustainable development, climate change and global solutions to mitigate against associated events will be among the topics to be discussed."

    Ben Hedley
    ARSO 2nd Regional Quality Conference (21st to 24th March 2023).
    Info from
    The African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) invites you to the 2nd Regional Quality Conference from 21st to 24th March 2023 in Kigali, Rwanda
    Under the Theme – Managing quality in a dynamic work environment for Competitive Advantage
    Key Note Speakers:
    1. Dr Dr. Gregory H. Watson, an Honorary Member and Past President of both the American Society for Quality UTEP (ASQ) and the International Academy for Quality 2. Dr Hermogene Nsengimana, Secretary General – ARSO Target Audience:
    Chief Executives, Management Representatives, Auditors, Champions, Process owners and Managers of Management systems
    Topics to be covered include:
    1. Excellence models applicable in the African context 2. Managing for quality in a dynamically changing world 3. Standardization – building trust for regional trade facilitation 4. Driving excellence in quality through Leadership 5. Data analytics – the game changer in decision making 6. Innovation and process re-engineering for quality improvement – Standard Register Here –

    Ben Hedley
    Information from CEN: 
    "The Covid-19 pandemic made the need for shared rules on community face coverings particularly urgent. In response, CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, developed in record time an initial deliverable that could provide the necessary guidelines: CEN Workshop Agreement 17553:2020 ‘Community face coverings - Guide to minimum requirements, methods of testing and use’. Although a Workshop Agreement (also known as CWA) does not count as an official standard, as it involves no obligation at the national level, thanks to its simplified format it can be produced and disseminated very quickly, and therefore it can help fill urgent needs.
    Based on this work, at the end of 2020, CEN/TC 248 ‘Textiles and Textile products’ started work on the transformation of the CWA into a more formal, higher consensus deliverable, a European Technical Specification (TS). This work was finally completed in 2022, with the publication, on 2 November, of CEN/TS 17553:2022 ‘Textiles and textile products - Community face coverings - Minimum requirements, methods of testing and use’."

    Ben Hedley
    Message from The International Federation of Standards Users (IFAN) 
    IFAN serves as the Voice of Standards Users Worldwide.  We are initiating an annual survey series to gather data on the needs and requirements of standards users globally.  We would greatly appreciate your assistance in getting this survey distributed to as wide a selection of standards users as can be found. 
    The survey will help us provide standards developers with user feedback on such topics as pricing, available formats and products, and new concepts in developing and distributing standards and standards information We will share the results of our survey with our partners from the international standards organizations such as ISO, IEC and CEN/CENELEC.
    Please forward the attached sample email to standards users affiliated with your organization.
    All answers are anonymous.  The data will be aggregated into a report once the survey period closes on January 15, 2023.  Should you participate, a copy of that report will be made available to you upon request.
    More information on the survey and on IFAN is available in our newsletters and on our website,  And of course, you can always reach out to us by email for further clarification. 
    With our best wishes for the Summer/winter season and for the upcoming holidays.

    Ben Hedley
    'Preparations underway for launch of first IEC Global Impact Fund project'
    The IEC Global Impact Fund has announced that its first project will focus on promoting sustainable battery e-waste management in Africa. It has now issued the first formal documents as part of the project entitled Catalysing innovation for circular models in Africa - turning battery e-waste into e-resources.
    “We are really excited to be able to move forward with the first project of the IEC Global Impact Fund”, stated IEC President Yinbiao Shu. “With this project, we will bring the benefits of IEC International Standards and the IEC Conformity Assessment Systems to help solve the challenge of e-waste and its harmful impact on human health and the environment.”
    The first project will support an SME-led project in Africa. Interested parties are invited to respond to the Call for Expressions of Interest (CEI) (23rd December 2022 deadline). Feedback to the CEI will be incorporated into the Request for Proposals (RfP) which is expected to be issued in early 2023. Further information is available from the Project Concept document.


    Ben Hedley
    CSN Annual Meeting 2022 presentations and meeting report attached. 
    CSN 2022 Meeting Report_2022-09-20.pdf
    CSN Annual Meeting_20-09-2022.pdf
    Link to CSN Annual Meeting 2022 recording:  
    Passcode: CSN_Annual Meeting_2022

    Ben Hedley
    Invitation from UK Government Department For Internatiojnal Trade: 
    Commonwealth Market Awareness Webinars - Register Now!             The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games have now come to a close. However, The Department for International Trade aims to build on the collaboration and spirit shown throughout the games with our second round of Market Awareness Webinars.   These sessions are designed to highlight the business and exporting opportunities across a range of Commonwealth Markets and begin to support businesses in building relationships with support organisations and prospective future clients overseas.
    Each session will include: Market opportunities panel discussion Overview of specific sectors of interest within the market Potential barriers to export Insight into projects taking place in market that UK businesses can engage with Logistics & access to market Inspiring trade success story with a UK business Q&A Australia – 7th September 9am-10am The Commonwealth Opportunity with the Commonwealth Secretariat - 13th September 9am-10am Nigeria - 13th September 10am-11am Malaysia – 14th September 9am-10am Singapore – 21st September 9am-10am (Times are BST)  
    More Info/Registration:

    Ben Hedley
    Subject: Invitation and draft agenda for Commonwealth Standards Network annual meeting
    Dear Commonwealth Standards Network stakeholder,
    I write to invite you to attend the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) annual meeting that will take place Tuesday 20th September, 12.00-13.00 in Abu Dhabi as a side-event of the ISO Annual Meetings.
    The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss CSN activities and to identify opportunities for forthcoming collaborative work and Technical Assistance programmes.

    Tuesday 20th September; 12.00-13.00 (Abu Dhabi time GST) Location:
    Executive Multi-Purpose Room, Floor 2, ADNOC Business Center*, Abu Dhabi. (*The same building as the ISO Annual meetings). Also available online: Meeting ID: 880 1117 2881 Passcode: CSN2022 Attendees: Representatives of National Standards Bodies in Commonwealth countries and other interested parties such as regional standards organisations.
    Draft Agenda:
    Welcome and Introduction CSN Governance Overview of CSN programme and Resources Overview of new Standards Partnership and collaboration with CSN Digital Toolkit Workshop discussion: NSB needs assessments and next steps for CSN (Delegates are requested to provide suggestions/talking points). Closing summary For more information please contact the CSN Senior Programme Manager Ben Hedley: 
    CSN Abu Dhabi meeting invite and agenda_12.00-13.00_Tuesday 20-09-2022.pdf

    Ben Hedley
    The Standards Show | Carbon emissions, trade and standards
    The latest episode of #TheStandardsShow is a conversation with the WTO about their report ‘What Yardstick for Net Zero?’ Cindy speaks to the two of the authors about how WTO principles on regulation, international standards and conformity assessment can support climate change and net zero polices by building trust.
    Have a listen.

    Guest Message from PAS 233 team

    Boosting nutrition and health through standard for enriched food grains

    By Guest Message from PAS 233 team, in News,

    Message from the PAS 233 team:
    One in three people worldwide currently suffers from some type of malnutrition, according to the Global Nutrition Report from 20161. With one in five deaths linked to poor diets2, and poor-quality diets linked to 8 out of 15 factors in the global burden of disease3, enriched food grains can combat malnutrition.
    The PAS 233 standard has been introduced to help government and private sector procurement teams, as well as other organisations in the food supply chain, to feel confident when demanding and purchasing zinc enriched crops, which are proven in boosting nutrition and health especially in developing economies, including many Commonwealth nations. While every country is affected by malnutrition, lower income counties, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria, are more at risk.
    With two billion people around the globe not consuming enough vitamins and minerals, restricting the potential for healthy growth, nutrient rich crops are being used to improve nutrition and public health. Enriched grains now reach over 60 million people across 60 countries4, but it is hoped that a billion people around the world will benefit from enriched crops by 20305.
    Zinc is an essential micronutrient and has several health benefits, including aiding metabolism, digestion and nerve function, and playing a crucial role in cell growth, brain development, and fighting dangerous infections. It’s a particularly important micronutrient for children as it will help them to reach a healthy height and weight.
    PAS 233 considers increasing the natural content of nutrients in a crop through selective breeding, as opposed to adding these nutrients after milling. Selective breeding has been used by farmers and agronomists for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
    To support procurement and trade of these enriched grains, and increase take-up, specific guidance was needed differentiating the zinc content of enriched crops versus standard crops. PAS 233 addresses this need by specifying the requirements for zinc enriched wheat, maize and rice grain intended as food for human consumption. It includes requirements for class levels of zinc concentration, sampling guidance, packaging and labelling.
    The technical authors from HarvestPlus and a steering group of international experts in government, plant and crop sciences, grain procurement and academics were involved in the development of PAS 233. The PAS was sponsored by the Commercialization of Biofortified Crops (CBC) Programme, which is a partnership between the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and HarvestPlus, with funding from Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Development of the standard was facilitated by BSI.
    Find out more about PAS 233 and download your free copy.

    Ben Hedley
    Aid for Trade Global Review to focus on environment, empowerment and connectivity
    "This year’s Aid for Trade Global Review — to take place from 27 to 29 July — will feature over 50 sessions held in-person at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva or online. Under the theme “Empowering Connected, Sustainable Trade”, the Review will examine the opportunities that digital connectivity provides for economic and export diversification in developing and least-developed countries. It will also explore how the WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative can help empower various economic actors, such as women, to realize these opportunities."
    Sessions can be viewed online. More info: ttps://

    Ben Hedley

    CSN at ARSO GA

    By Ben Hedley, in News,

    The CSN will be represented at the ARSO GA in Cameroon and will hold a session on Thursday 30th June 5-6pm to discuss recommendations from the programme to-date, resources available, potential for new work, and governance of the Network.
    Please contact for more information.

    Ben Hedley
    Message from BSI:
    "Dear CSN Members,
    BSI is delighted to be part of the UNCTAD eCommerce Week, 25-29 April, focusing on ‘Data and Digitalization for Development’ to help shape a better digital future for all.
    We would like to cordially invite you to a virtual panel session on 26 April, 5-6 pm CEST where along with our partners UNCTAD, the African Development Bank and the UK Government, where we will be discussing:
    ️ the challenges of digital transformation in developing countries ️ the role of international standards and National Standards Bodies in accelerating digital transformation and facilitating digital trade  how a standards-based digital toolkit can help manage national risks around cybersecurity, privacy, interoperability and digital ID – a key recommendation from our whitepaper.  
    Register here:

    Randy Siew
    As we celebrate World Standards Day 2021, TTBS takes the opportunity to thank all our stakeholders including past and present members of the national, regional and international standards community.
    Stream live our World Standards Day Celebration -
    Happy #WorldStandardsDay!
    #standards4SDGs #WSD2021


    Ben Hedley

    World Standards Day 2021

    By Ben Hedley, in News,

    On the 14th October we celebrate World Standards Day, the theme this year is 'Standards for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)'.
    The SDGs recognize that ending deprivations goes hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve the environment.
    International standards are an important tool to achieving the SDGs; they are developed collaboratively via consensus from experts across the globe and support policy objectives via improved productivity and reduced barriers to trade while also protecting consumers and the environment. 

    Ben Hedley
    Please see attached agenda and presentations that were delivered at the CSN 2021 Annual meeting on 15th September.
    Over 100 participants from throughout the Commonwealth attended, we would like to thank them all for their continued engagement and for helping to shape the work programme.
    The meeting was an opportunity for the CSN secretariat to update the membership on CSN work programmes and to receive feedback.  Also, the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW) delivered a presentation about Collaboration that we will be following-up on with the membership.
    A recording of the zoom session can also be viewed here.
    CSN Annual Meeting_2021-09-15 (final).pdf CSN Annual meeting_Agenda_15th September 2021 (v2).pdf

    Ben Hedley
    BSI Whitepaper: Supporting digital transformation in developing economies
    "The digitalization of economies and wider society is growing rapidly. However, the rate of uptake of digital technology and transition to digital trade is not equal across the globe, widening the digital divide and putting countries' achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals at risk.
    Our whitepaper considers the barriers to uptake and identifies the key role that standards have to play in promoting digitalization in developing economies. It also looks at concerns about cyber security, interoperability and privacy, and building trust in innovative applications of new technology. To address this, our paper proposes a standards-based digitalization toolkit that will help build a resilient and sustainable digital economy."

    Randy Siew
    Join the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards for the virtual launch of the Building a National Quality Culture in Trinidad and Tobago Project.
    Date: Friday 1st October 2021
    Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
    Platform: ZOOM Online
    Register at
    For further information, please contact:
    Cassie Ann James Natalie Dennie Email: Email:  

    Randy Siew
    The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) DEVCO Chair, Mrs Mojdeh Rowshan Tabari, will be the Feature Speaker at a free virtual workshop on “ISO and the role of students in making lives, easier, better and safer”.   The workshop is aimed at introducing students to the development process for international standards and is part of ISO’s ongoing engagement of young professionals and students.   Details on the virtual workshop are provided below.   Registration for these sessions can be accessed at:   The sessions relevant to our time zone are listed below: 12th Oct 2021 from 9:30 am to 12 noon 27th Oct 2021 from 9:30 am to 12 noon 7th Nov 2021 from 9:30 am to 12 noon

    Ben Hedley
    International commitment pledges to accelerate transition to net zero
    ·       New London Declaration to embed climate considerations into all standards to accelerate the achievement of climate goals.
    ·       International Organization for Standardization (ISO) commitment has been led by BSI (The British Standards Institution).
    A game-changing moment for international standards will enable a real acceleration in government and industry transition to net zero. Led by BSI, and approved by the ISO members, the London Declaration is a commitment to ensure global standards will support climate action and advance international initiatives to achieve our global climate goals.
    Following recent research that shows fewer than one in four of the world’s largest companies are on track to meet basic climate change targets and Europe will miss its 2030 climate goal by 21 years[1], the London Declaration commits signatories to embed key climate considerations into every new standard that is created. It will also retrospectively add these requirements to all existing standards as they are revised, a change on an unparalleled scale.
    Susan Taylor Martin, Chief Executive of BSI, said: “There are an increasing number of corporate commitments and government targets around reaching net zero, but a lack of direction as to how these targets can be met. Governments and industry need clear, practical guidance to achieve net zero. Standards are a trusted, global methodology and framework which can be used by both governments and industry to deliver real change. BSI was the originator of the London Declaration. We are very pleased that this will be taken forward by ISO, its members and other standards bodies so that we can work together with other countries to ensure that standards become an enabler for organizations of all sizes to accelerate our transition to a more sustainable world.”
    Scott Steedman, Director-General Standards at BSI, said: “Consensus-based standards are in a unique position to enable positive climate action. The sheer scale that standards operate at and the vital role they play for government and industry alike means they can accelerate the achievement of the goals in the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs and the UN Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience. BSI is proud to lead the development of the London Declaration and is fully committed to seeing it implemented across the 40,000 standards in our national portfolio. The Declaration will help ensure that climate-friendly standards become the norm across all industries.”
    ISO President Eddy Njoroge echoed the commitment: “The ISO community has spoken. Together, we have made a historic declaration that reaffirms our commitment to climate action. As I took up my role as President, I came with a view that ISO standards can be a catalyst for development. Two years on, it has now become my deep-seated conviction. Let’s create a climate future that we, and all our future generations, want, need and deserve.”
    Opening ISO Week London, Minister for International Trade, Ranil Jayawardena said:
    “Today, almost 24,000 international standards developed by the ISO underpin every major  supply chain, from the clothes we wear, to the food we eat. The use of standards - especially truly international ones - makes it easier to produce, sell, and buy products and  services, enabling the global trade that is key to driving growth, creating jobs and securing  value for consumers. Britain looks to galvanise global action on climate change during her presidency of COP26 in Glasgow this November and we welcome the ISO’s London  Declaration, which will support our collective aim.”
    Nigel Topping, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, said: “The London Declaration is a critical international commitment that will enable businesses and organisations across the global economy to accelerate their climate action by using trusted standards aligned with robust net zero targets. We are looking forward to working more closely with ISO, BSI and other national standards bodies to facilitate wider and faster climate action in this race to a zero carbon world."
    Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Climate Action Champion, said: "We celebrate ISO's London Declaration commitment as an important milestone in shifting the landscape of international standards to help non-state actors race to halving global emissions by 2030. This leadership is so welcome, and we are excited to continue working with ISO and its national standards bodies in the run up to COP and far beyond."
    As well as promising that ISO will work with all members, stakeholders, and partners to actively consider climate science in the development of new and revised standards and publications, the London Declaration also stipulates that it will facilitate the involvement of civil society and those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the development of all international standards and publications.
    The Declaration is being formally signed at the BSI hosted ISO Week London 2021, a meeting of all 163 national standards bodies. Afterwards, an Action Plan will be developed which will detail tangible initiatives and reporting mechanisms associated with the Declaration.
    Standards have already begun to enable the transition to net zero. BSI recently developed the Energy Smart Appliances (ESAs) standards in response to the UK government’s transformational energy plans. Smart appliances can make electricity demand more responsive to the availability of renewable energy, helping to reach net zero more quickly by enabling consumers to be involved in managing demand in the electricity system. The standards provide essential guidance and good practice for the fast-moving industry to roll out ESAs safely and responsibly, whilst also helping protect consumers from data and privacy risks.
    Additionally, BSI developed a standardization program for the UK-government backed Faraday Battery Challenge in order to help the rapidly evolving battery production, recycling, and research sectors to work together in a more environmentally friendly and safe way. Standards are supporting the growth of the battery industry both in the UK and now they are now poised to do the same for many more sectors.
      [1] Companies are crucial to solving the climate crisis. 75% are falling short - CNN
    Further details available from:

    Ben Hedley
    Subject: Invitation and draft agenda for Commonwealth Standards Network Annual Meeting (2021)
    Dear Commonwealth Standards Network stakeholder,
     I write to invite you to attend the Commonwealth Standards Network (CSN) annual meeting that will take place online from 2pm-3pm UK time (1pm-2pm UTC/GMT) on Wednesday 15th September 2021.
     The meeting will be an important opportunity for participants to be updated on CSN progress and to help steer the work programme.
    Draft Agenda:
    1.     CSN Updates
    2.     ‘Collaboration’ presentation and discussion led by Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW) Associate Director Adrian Miller
    3.     Next steps for the CSN work programme
    4.     NSB Enterprise Resource Planning systems – sharing of experiences
    5.     Q&A Session
    6.     AOB
    Join Zoom Meeting:
    ·       Date: Wednesday 15th September 2021
    ·       Time: 2pm-3pm UK time (1pm-2pm UTC/GMT)
    ·       Join Zoom Meeting:
    ·       Meeting ID: 964 2567 8422
    ·       Passcode: CSN2021
    ·       Find your local number:
    ·       Join by SIP:
     Note: The session will be recorded, and individual/regional calls will be set up for countries where the timing of the main meeting is not practical.
    Yours faithfully,
    Ben Hedley
    Senior Programme Manager, Commonwealth Standards Network
    T: +44 20 8996 7122

    CSN Annual meeting_Agenda_15th September 2021.pdf

    Ben Hedley
    ISO have created a list of freely available standards to assist in the COVID-19 efforts:
    This action has been coordinated with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), who are making complementary standards freely available at: 

    Ben Hedley
    ISO Publication, May 2021:
    Standards & economic growth: ISO members’ research on the impact of standards on their national economies.
    "Very often, the notion that standards are beneficial to economies is taken as a given. Although it is easy to imagine the efficiencies created by standards at the company level and in trade relationships, these assumptions can be difficult to “prove”.
    ISO members have provided economic analysis that seeks to show, in real terms, the economic benefits of standards. These studies make state-of-the-art knowledge about the economic impacts of standards widely available and help to demonstrate how standards are a critical part of an economy’s knowledge system." 

    Ben Hedley
    BSI Education Podcast – Commonwealth Standards Network
    In this episode of the #bsiedpod, Cindy Parokkil and Matthew Chiles speak to Peter Sissons, Ece Lynch, Patricia Ejalu (Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS)) Charles Davies, and Benjamin Hedley about what drove the development of the #CSN, its impact on the ground in member countries, and the future plans for the network.

    Listen now: 

    Ben Hedley
    Information shared from: 
    Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Benchmarks
    The Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Benchmarks were published in April 2021.  They were produced by the Commonwealth Secretariat in collaboration with GIACC and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).  They were developed in consultation with representatives of the African Union, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Commonwealth law ministries, anti-corruption agencies, and partner organisations.  Catherine Stansbury, Co-founder and Director of GIACC, is the principal author of the Benchmarks.
    The Benchmarks contain good practice anti-corruption measures.   They are intended primarily to help governments and public sector organisations assess their anti-corruption laws, regulations, policies and procedures against international good practice, and implement appropriate improvements.   
    They address corruption across key areas of the public and private sectors which are either important for combatting corruption or which are vulnerable to significant corruption.  In relation to each key area, the Benchmarks promote the concepts of honesty, impartiality, accountability, and transparency and provide for specific anti-corruption measures.
    The Benchmark measures are designed to be achievable, practical, and auditable.   They provide a holistic and interlocking system that aims to reduce and deal with the risk of corruption in the public and private sectors.
    Download Commonwealth Anti-Corruption Benchmarks

    Ben Hedley
    CSN_UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Initiative_Session_30-03-2021 (v2).pdf
    CSN session: UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Initiative
    30th March 2021
    13:00-14:00 GMT/UTC
    As part of the Commonwealth Standards Network’s (CSN) objectives to promote good practices in the use and development of international standards we will be running an online session from 13:00-14:00 (GMT/UTC) on 30th March to discuss the UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Initiative.
    The UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Initiative provides a practical way for standards bodies wishing to take a step towards making the standards they develop and the standards development process they follow gender responsive, it aims to:
    ·       Strengthen the use of standards and technical regulations as powerful tools to attain SDG 5 (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls),
    ·       Integrate a gender lens in the development of both standards and technical regulations,
    ·       Elaborate gender indicators and criteria that could be used in standards development.
    Open access via Zoom:
    ·       Host:
    o   Stephanie Eynon: Chair of the UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Initiative
    ·       Panellists and Presentations:
    o   Emmanuel Gatera, Rwanda Standards Board (RSB)
    o   Gabrielle White, Standards Council of Canada (SCC)
    o   Michelle Parkouda, Standards Council of Canada (SCC)
    o   Judith Fessehaie, SheTrades.
    ·       What is the UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Initiative?
    ·       Why is it important?
    ·       What is the UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Declaration?
    ·       How to adopt the declaration
    ·       How to create NSB action plans and implement changes.
    ·       ISO IWA 34:2021 ‘Women's entrepreneurship — Key definitions and general criteria’
    The discussions will conclude with a Q&A session.
    Please feel free to provide questions or comments beforehand by contacting the CSN Senior Programme Manager Ben Hedley  

    Binu Merin Jacob
    Join BSI’s Quentin Dunstan to explore the key insights from the BSI Organizational Resilience Index Report 2021, which highlights results from more than 500 global business leaders how they survived, stabilized, rebuilt and thrived in 2020, a year that tested resilience more than any other. The report is also a unique benchmarking tool that can help leaders discover how resilient their organizations really are.
    For more information and to register, please click here:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    The Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking Event will assess the trade impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and make the case to mobilise Aid-for-Trade financing to support recovery and foster resilience.
    Click here for more information bout the agenda:
    Click here to watch the live webcast:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    Standards play an important in supporting economic growth through their role in boosting productivity and innovation. Here's a link to the comprehensive report that provides an in-depth analysis of the economic benefits of standards within the UK economy:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    ISO/TC 304 has been created to conduct standardization in the field of healthcare organization management. A series of virtual sessions are being organized for developing countries to create awareness around TC 304 and to train on key elements about ISO, its standard development process and how to participate efficiently. These sessions will help experts and delegates from developing countries to be better prepared for the upcoming virtual meetings of TC 304 and make their vouces heard.
    For more information and to register for the first in the series of workshops, please click here:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    Coinciding with the World Consumer Rights Day, BSI has launched a 'Consumers and standards' podcast series today, in association with CPIN, the independent consumer and public interest network.

    The first episode in the series features Helena Leurent, Director General of Consumers International  - the organization behind World Consumer Rights Day. In the podcast, she talks about this year's theme around "No Plastic Pollution" and the important role of international standards in delivering consumer rights.
    To listen to the podcast, click here:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    Extending the celebrations around World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March, ARSO is hosting a webinar to highlight the various opportunities presented by the AfCFTA w.r.t the role being played by ARSO to ensure the participation of Consumers in Africa's Standardisation, and focuses on:., 
    the Opportunities with the AfCFTA Agreement The Role by the African Union to facilitate Buy in Africa and from Africa The Private Sector role and challenges, especially the Motovehicle industry Role of the ARSO Consumers Committee (ARSO COCO) Role of the ISO/COPOLCO and international best practices. To register, please click on the following link:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration observed by people all over the Commonwealth in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe. 
    This year's theme for Commonwealth Day, will be centred around the same theme as last year - 'Delivering a Common Future' - highlights how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals, like fighting climate change, promoting good governance and boosting trade.
    The Commonwealth Standards Network supports these themes by promoting innovation and building connections for strong trade among all Commonwealth states through the participation, adoption and implementation of international standards.
    To find out more about the scheduled list of online events, download social media toolkit, and to read the 2021 Commonwealth Day Affirmation, click here:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    On the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day, the ILO pays tribute to the tremendous efforts made by women in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
    To read more and to register for the event, please click here:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    On International Women’s Day, the Commonwealth Secretariat will be hosting a virtual event to put a spotlight on women’s leadership in responding to COVID-19 and charting an equitable recovery.  
    For more information and to register for the event, please click here:

    Binu Merin Jacob
    ISO has officially lunched the ISO Strategy 2030, all documents and supporting tools can be accessed here:
    To find out more about the ISO Strategy 2039, please click on the following link and the attachment:
    Launch of ISO Strategy 2030.pdf

    Binu Merin Jacob
    This virtual event will explore the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in the Commonwealth Small States including Antigua and Barbuda, the Maldives, and Grenada - including a review of current policy initiatives being undertaken to tackle the tourism decline. 
    Date and time: Friday, 19 February, 11am - 1:30pm
    For more information and to register, please click here:

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