Basseterre, St. Kitts — The St. Kitts and Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS), within the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, hosted over 20 persons from the CARIFORUM member states from July 7 to 12, 2014. The “Setting National Standardization Strategies” training course held at the Bird Rock Beach Hotel, was funded through the 10th European Development Fund – Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme, the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL).
The course was facilitated by course mentor Dr Anwar El-Tawil, former Director of the Programme for Developing Countries of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Secretary of the ISO Committee for Developing Country Matters (DEVCO). Dr El-Tawil has wide experience in the field of technical assistance to developing countries with a good part of this experience gained during the many assignments carried out for UNIDO, UNDP and the World Bank as a UN expert in countries of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
The objective of the six-day course was to train officers of national standards bodies (NSBs) on setting national standardization strategies in their respective countries. The ISO defines a standard as a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. Standards are extremely vital for countries as they ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality.
During the course, the participants were provided with training to raise their awareness and develop skills in the field of good standardization practices. Additionally, participants gained a good knowledge of the factors that should be taken into consideration when assessing priorities for national standardization and to give them the skills needed to balance those factors against each other to come up with a set of prioritized need for developing national standards.
Mr Hiram Williams, Acting Director of the SKNBS, in his closing remarks at the end of the six-day course noted that the training course came at an appropriate time for the CARIFORUM states as they look at enhancing their trade development practices. Mr Williams also noted that the critical output from the training course will be the establishment of a multi-year national strategic standardization plan for the SKNBS.
The SKNBS, located at La Guerite, Basseterre, has the major responsibility of protecting the environment, health and safety of consumers. Its activities also focus on preparing, promoting and generally adopting standards on a national, regional or international basis relating to structures, commodities, materials, articles and other things offered to the public commercially, hence promoting standardization, quality assurance and simplification in industry and commerce.