10 October 2017

CROSQ on Good Path

The following is an edited version of the speech by Outgoing Chairman of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality, Mr. Jose Trejo at the Opening of the 31st Meeting of the Council of CROSQ, held at Marriott Resort, Frigate Bay, St. Kitts & Nevis on October 5, 2017.

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 31st Council Meeting of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality. A special welcome to the Acting Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Weekes, we are glad that you could be here with us this morning to share a little bit of your time, surely enough we welcome you to stay for our seminar that will follow immediately after, to learn about the strides we are making in energy standards etc.  Let me also extend our sincerest gratitude to our host, Mr. Hiram Williams, Director of the St. Kitts Bureau of Standards for receiving us so graciously during our short stay. To the Directors, friends and colleagues present, I extend a warm welcome.

Before I address you, in my last capacity as Chairman of the Council, I would like to take this time to express our deepest sympathies to all the Caribbean Islands – CARICOM and non-CARICOM – that have been devastated by the passing of two successive and powerful hurricanes in the likes of Irma and Maria. As I watched the images light up on the television screen, I admittedly was jaded, as I am sure most of us were, in disbelief that this could be happening and that it did. The images that you no doubt have seen are a stark reminder that Mother Nature unleashes her fury at will and that the only thing that we can be thankful for in the aftermath, is life itself. Anything outside of this can be replaced. Anything outside of this can be rebuilt; but more so it speaks to the resolve of the unbreakable human spirit to carry on despite the heartbreaking devastation. I am positive that the strength and courage of the peoples of the Caribbean will prevail and that life as we know it will return to some sense of normalcy. We wish for a speedy recovery with the hope that the rhythmic sounds of steel pan and salsa will soon reverberate, flowing from the comfort of homes into the streets, fast restoring what we have come to recognise as truly Caribbean.

Colleagues, now to the order of business. As we gather here today at this 31st meeting, there is an enormous sense of pride felt as I reflect on what we collectively have achieved. It is without question that the Regional Quality Infrastructure (RQI) that we have been tirelessly focusing on over the past decade, is now bearing fruit.  In no special order, the region boasts its first ever Regional Quality Policy; a 5-year regional standards development priority plan; laboratories accredited with some as I speak in the pipeline; establishment of two Caribbean Reference Laboratories in Volume and Temperature; Quality Awards schemes developed, marketing and communication plans that in principle are packaged to promote and sell QI services; a Secretariat that has developed an on-demand skill-set that can now confidently extend itself to the wider region.  Fair to say that the majority of this was accomplished under the 10th EDF-TBT project executed by the PTB with CROSQ and INDOCAL serving as sub-executing agencies.

To this end, it is important to recognise the technical and financial support that the region has received from its regional and international partners and donor agencies. Arms outstretched, it also serves as given testimony that the region has slowly gained the trust and confidence of it partners and agencies as evidenced in the scaling up of recent initiatives, namely CDB, Tradecom and the PTB to mention a few.  As this pool widens so will the benefits flow towards the continued advancement of the RQI.

Colleagues, as we push towards a new frontier we are bound to encounter challenges. I therefore urge you to be ever so mindful that we must in collective fashion, continue to rally as a group to overcome these challenges. Please allow me to say, that no one institution should bear the burden and struggle of solving institutional challenges on its own especially when among you is a repository of experiences that can be draw upon to provide the lift that we more than often need.

With this, I ask those of you who have spent a great portion of your professional careers in quality systems to continue to provide your support and to continue to be the stalwarts for QI. To the new comers – and once upon a time I would consider myself in this group but my grey hair now tells me otherwise – I want to encourage you to be open and willing to bring fresh and innovative ideas to a dynamic field that could  never be short of it.

If you will allow me, I would now like to personally thank the Council for giving me this opportunity to serve as the Chairman. It was indeed an honour and privilege to serve in this capacity for the past two years. It was quite an experience, as I have candidly echoed to some of you, much of the credit is due to the work of the CEO and the staff of the Secretariat. Under his sound leadership and support CROSQ is gradually distinguishing itself from the pack, elevating itself as a premier CARICOM Organisation on this platform for RQI.

The CEO continues to thread the needle to ensure that the internal environment at the level of the Secretariat continues to evolve to meet the multidimensional and multidisciplinary needs of the external environment in our region. This has brought to bear a Branding Strategy that is tightly knit to meet the region’s needs in an efficient and effective manner. It should come as no surprise then that we are indeed turning heads. The CEO’s efforts to draw the attention of regional and international organisations to the unfolding of an RQI in the Caribbean has been nothing short of relentless.

This pivoted on the successes that the region has been experiencing despite the multiplicity of needs across an economic and geographical space that may at times, appear far and wide. The push for the RQI in the Caribbean to stand its own, is an opportunity to explore new frontiers across other regional organisations that not only can assist and support our region but that can also equally learn from us. The CEO has ensured that this plays out to the tune of a region that is outward looking; fully embracing of new alliances that will undoubtedly propel the growth and development of the RQI further into the foreseeable future.  To the CEO and his staff, I extend my deepest and sincerest gratitude for all the support that they have given me during this time. 

I think it is most appropriate to close with a bold declaration that the RQI is on an unprecedented path of development and as it continues to gather momentum, I remain ever so excited and positive about its future. It is my sincerest hope that we continue to support the Secretariat and the incoming Chair as they carry us into what I consider a promising future.

Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, let not our hearts be troubled, the RQI is in a good place.  I welcome you and thank you once again.

(Mr. Trejo is also the Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards.)

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The following is an edited version of the speech delivered by Acting Executive Director of the St. Kitts & Nevis Bureau of Standards (SKNBS), Mr. Hiram Williams at the Opening of the 31st Meeting of the Council of CROSQ, held at the Marriott Resort, Frigate Bay, St. Kitts & Nevis on Thursday, October 5, 2017. 

"Being part of the global market, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is signatory to trade agreements such as the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, implemented within the World Trade Organisation (WTO), for which the Bureau of Standards is designated as the Enquiry Point. Under the TBT agreement, states parties are obligated to base their national technical regulations on international standards and to participate in conformity assessments systems.

The World Trade Organization Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO/TBT) recognises the importance and the role of international standards and conformity assessment systems in improving efficiency in production and facilitating global trade. The process of developing National Standards requires significant technical and financial resources. Member States have to use the limited technical and financial resources well.

Developing and effectively implementing standards is not only a lengthy exercise but also costly. It is important that we make good use of these limited resources to develop our Quality Infrastructure as it relates to Standardisation, Metrology, Certification, Accreditation and Conformity Assessment. Our membership in CROSQ provides us with access to standards developed and harmonised through the coordinated effort of the organisation's Technical Management Committee (TMC). Hence, the Government will continue to support  the  Bureau’s  participation in our own regional organisation CARICOM Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), and also support our strategic alliance with International Organisations such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM), Codex Alimentarius (the world’s  most recognised food standards body), Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and ASTM International.

The SKNBS is happy to participate in CROSQ's programme to harmonise regional standards and promote their awareness to improve competiveness and facilitate regional and international trade.  In this regard, we commend CROSQ for developing a regional standardisation strategy and also for assisting the Member States in developing their own National Standardisation Strategies.

We are pleased with our partnership with CROSQ and the other Member States as we work together as a region to influence the content of International Standards.  And indeed, this was demonstrated recently under the SKNBS's project – “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of ST. Kitts and Nevis”, where we received valuable technical assistance from CROSQ in providing the Technical Officer for Standards from the Secretariat and the Chief Technical Officer for Standards at the Barbados National Standards Institute (BNSI), Mr St. Prix and Mr Scott respectively, to assist us in the implementation of the National Standardisation Strategy. Similarly, we are grateful to the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS) for facilitating training attachments for SKNBS technical staff.

Standards and Conformity Assessment procedures are critical and essential to our national quality infrastructure as it relates to health and safety, industry and commerce and to the nation's economic performance. It is estimated that about 80% of global trade in goods and services is affected by standards and technical regulations based on standards.  For this and other economic reasons, it is essential for countries to develop and implement national standardisation strategies that will facilitate the development and adoption of standards to meet market needs and requirements to effectively compete and trade globally.

Our membership in regional and international organisations permits us to influence the development and content of regional and international standards and conformity assessment programmes that enhance our position in the global marketplace.

So in addition to our involvement in CROSQ and being the enquiry point for the WTO - TBT agreement, the Bureau is also:

  • Contact point for Codex Alimentarius, the leading international food standard organisation,
  • one of the contact points for International Food Safety Authorities Network (INFOSAN),
  • focal point for the Stockholm Convention that deals with the reduction and eventual elimination of persistent organic pollutants, and also,
  • the focal point for the Minamata Convention.

And I am pleased to inform you that on the advice of the Bureau of Standards, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis ratified the Minamata convention in May 2017.  The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.

In keeping with the Bureau’s responsibilities and the Federation's obligations under international trade agreements, such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Bureau has embarked on the development of training programmes and projects specifically geared towards building our Quality Infrastructure. And, as mentioned earlier, we requested and received technical assistance from CROSQ for development and implementation of a process to adopt and develop standards according to best practices. One of the main outcomes was the establishment of six (6) technical committees to address issues and matters that are relevant and important to the Federation. The committees established were:

  • National Committee on Environmental Management;
  • Committee on Labelling;
  • Committee on Tourism and Related Services;
  • National Committee on Codex, to deal with Food Safety and Standards;
  • National Committee on Information and Communication Technology, and
  • The Energy, Electrical and Mechanical Technical Committee

And these six committees are in addition to the existing National Committee of Conformity Assessment Bodies, which is chaired by Dr Marcus Natta, SKNBS’ Science and Research Manager, who is also the National Accreditation Focal Point and presently in Geneva attending  one of ISO's -  Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) working group meetings.

Another programme that the SKNBS benefited from was also supported by CDB under the 10th EDF standby facility project “Enhancing the National Quality infrastructure of St. Kitts and Nevis”. This project provided assistance to the Bureau (SKNBS) to undertake development plans to ensure accuracy and reliability of its test results. Hence a major milestone in this plan is to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 standard and upgrade and acquiring key pieces of equipment. During the last 12 months, the SKNBS staff has worked extremely hard in developing and receiving training for the implementation of a Quality Management System as per the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025. And as I said, our aim is to be accredited by 2018 starting with selected microbiology tests.

I want to take this opportunity to commend the CEO and staff of CROSQ, particularly over the last year where there has been a drive with success to develop and establish new partnerships and cooperation with relevant regional and international organisations of interest to Member States. We have to adapt to a changing world and this type of partnership and cooperation will help CROSQ to demonstrate and establish itself as a significant and relevant regional standards organisation that can prepare Member States to have an impact on the content of international standards.

Therefore, on behalf of the Minister and the Ministry of International trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, we express our appreciation for having the opportunity to host the 31st Council of CROSQ meeting and Energy Awareness Seminar and wish that we have a fruitful and successful two days of deliberations.

Thank you."

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Facilitator Mrs. Silvana Demicheli leading the trainers through a number of exercises aimed at building their own abilities as trainers. Featured

Efforts are being made to equip the Caribbean’s measurement scientists (metrologists) with training skills to assist industry in addressing their calibration needs as well as their counterparts in National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) across the Region.

Eighteen such metrologists, practitioners in the science of measurement, from a number of National Standards Bureaux in the CARICOM Region, are in Barbados this week to participate in a Training of Trainers workshop at the Divi Southwinds Hotel, St. Lawrence Main Road, Christ Church.

At the weeklong workshop, which opened on Monday, July 24 and ends Friday, July 28, 2017, Finance Manager with the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Mr. Mohan Nandwani underscored how important the event was to aid in the facilitation of regional trade.

“When we talk about quality, we are not just talking about science, we are talking about developing the financial infrastructure of the Caribbean; trade – that is what it is really all about. Quality will drive the trade that the Caribbean does and it is only through these kinds of workshops and so on that we can build that quality which will eventually feed itself into public and private sector development, and trade is the key here. This is what we are aiming towards,” said Mr. Nandwani on behalf of CROSQ.

The Training of Trainers workshop was facilitated by CROSQ, but funded by the German Federal Government through the “Capacity Building in Technical and Scientific Organisations Using Regional Knowledge and Experience” Project, more commonly called CABUREK and the Regional Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project, known as the R3E Project. Both projects are initiatives of the German National Metrology Institute (PTB).

About this collaboration, Mr. Nandwani said: “This CABUREK project has been organised into three working groups of which the Working Group 2 is tasked with developing a regional training programme in metrology for industry. In addition to developing the curriculum and content for this training course, the Working Group aims to create a group of trainers that are qualified to offer training in mass metrology, temperature metrology, volume metrology and the estimation of measurement uncertainty.”

Calibration is the comparison of a measurement device with an established standard. Businesses of all types need this service to ensure that their measurement devices such as scales, thermometers and other meters are giving accurate readings.  Their staff also need to know how to use these measurement devices correctly and how to do their own internal calibrations. This workshop aims to address these training needs of industry and other quality management professionals.

PTB Consultant, Mrs. Anett Matbadal explained a bit more about what CABUREK was and why it was important to the Caribbean and industry.

“The current CABUREK Programme runs from March 2016 to March 2018, so we are pretty much over half of this; and the idea is working with and learning from your peers. You are all representatives of NMIs and you all basically do the same jobs. CABUREK is implemented in Latin America and the Caribbean, so it is just logical to learn from one another.

“Some [of you] are a bit ahead in the development; some are still to find themselves, so it is good to sit together, work together in groups on specific topics, to learn from others, experience the good and bad lessons learnt. That is why this is a pretty interesting concept and you are here working within this programme,” said Mrs. Matbadal.

While Working Group 2 of CABUREK is tasked with Developing a Regional Training Offer, the PTB consultant said that overall the idea is to strengthen the capabilities of the human resource in metrology within the Caribbean.

“We start in the Caribbean . . . and that is the idea, [that this training can] be extended to other regions – Latin America or even beyond that. We started with developing a regional training offer, and you will understand that the basis for a good training offer is a good trainers’ pool, who is capable, well-trained, and our idea is that these trainers use standardised training material. So the idea is to develop certain training courses that the Caribbean needs, using standardised training material. It can be organised in every country, every region. It is targeting primarily, the industrial sector, private sector, public sector, but not the NMI itself,” said Mrs. Matbadal.

The training is being conducted by Mrs. Silvana Demicheli of the National Metrology Institute of Uruguay (LATU), with Mrs. Matbadal and CROSQ’s Technical Officer, Metrology, Mr. David Tomlinson, providing support, as part of the CABUREK group of trainers.

Metrology is the science of measurement and in the Caribbean region, most NMIs are located within the National Standards Bureaux.

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Members of the Regional Project Team, with invited officials in the front row (L-R): Mr. Glynn Morris, Programme Leader of the GIZ implemented Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme; Mrs. Sandy Peters-Phillips, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce, St. Vincent and Grenadines; Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager for Energy in the CARICOM Secretariat; Mr. Ezra Ledger, Director of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Bureau of Standards; Mr. Deryck  Omar, Chief Executive Officer of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality. Featured

Energy conservation and implementation of an Energy Efficiency Building Code are critical to mitigate the impacts of climate change which pose great risks to countries, like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, within the Caribbean.

This was the sentiment was expressed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce in St. Vincent and Grenadines, Mrs. Sandy Peters-Phillips, on Monday, 24 July 2017, when she addressed the opening of the Second Meeting of the Regional Project Team (RPT) for the Development of the CARICOM Energy Efficiency Building Code. The Meeting was held in Kingstown, St. Vincent over two days, 24-25 July 2017, and according to Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager for Energy within the CARICOM Secretariat, signaled the “collective intent of CARICOM to act in a collaborative and cohesive manner to give life an Energy Efficiency Building Code for the region”.

Dr. the Honourable, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who made an appearance at the technical meeting session, provided critical insight into a number of key issues, especially the legal requirements and socioeconomic considerations at national levels, of which the RPT should be mindful. He indicated that the inclusive approach that was being pursued, with regards to the EEBC development, could contribute toward a balancing of the technical options, which were being considered by the experts, with the national realities and provide to an easier path for country adoption.

At this, the Second Meeting, the RPT reached consensus on a Draft Caribbean Application Document (CAD), just four months after the first meeting was convened in Kingston, Jamaica. The meeting also resulted in the endorsement of a programme of work for the effective, efficient and timely completion of the Regional EEBC.

The RPT, which comprises energy efficiency and standards development experts nominated by National Bureaus of Standards from across the Region, was formally launched in March 2017 with the mandate to review and determine an optimal approach for adapting and developing, an appropriate code for consideration as the Energy Efficiency Building Code (EEBC) for CARICOM.

The first meeting had approved the use of the International Energy Conservation Code 2018 (IECC 2018) as the reference code for the Regional EEBC. Since, a Draft CAD was developed, through a cooperation between the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), and reviewed by Committees established within the Member States that engaged key stakeholders. The revised draft of the CAD will now be open to the general public in Member States for validation.

The EEBC, which will address all aspects of energy use in buildings, is expected to reduce the dependency on imported fossil fuels within the Region by reducing buildings’ energy consumption. Furthermore, it can substantially contribute to compliance with domestic targets for sustainable energy use and global commitments for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction.

 

The development of the CARICOM EEBC is being supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme, as well as the Global Environment Facility (GEF), through the Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Caribbean Buildings Project.

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Standards Coming for Solar Water Heaters and Energy Appliances Featured

Standards for solar water heaters and a number of energy-related appliances are coming to the Caribbean.

And key to this development will be policymakers, standards and energy experts who will meet in Barbados from May 17th to 19th, 2017, for a major workshop on energy standards and policy analysis, at the Divi Southwinds Resort, St. Lawrence Main Road, Christ Church.

The experts and policymakers will be exposed to a Policy Analysis Modelling System (PAMS), designed by the Collaborative Labelling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP) and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) which was developed “to help local policymakers assess the benefit of standards and labelling programmes”.

The one-day policy analysis workshop, which falls on the first day of the three-day training, discussion and planning forum on energy efficiency standards and labelling standards, is being held as part of CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ)-implemented Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (R3E) Project.

The R3E Project focuses on developing standards for the energy sector in the region, namely energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, with supporting infrastructure for energy efficiency testing of appliances – namely, room air-conditioners, refrigerators and freezers, and lights – along with the development of standards for solar PVC panels and solar water heaters in the region. It is funded by a 1 Million Euro investment from the German Government, and is partnered by the German National Metrology Institute (PTB) and the Dominican Republic’s National Standards Body, INDOCAL.

CROSQ’s Technical Officer - Standards, Mr. Fulgence St. Prix explained that at the PAMS workshop, CLASP officials would explain how to estimate potential savings from implementing energy efficiency policies in the region.

“We talk a lot in the Caribbean about energy efficiency and introduction of renewable energies, but there isn’t that understanding at the national levels sometimes about how this actually benefits the countries in terms of dollars and cents. This is what this workshop is aimed at helping policymakers more effectively do.

“We are in the process of developing Energy Efficiency Building Codes for the region and this factor of savings will be a crucial one to getting Member States in the Caribbean to understand how it benefits their economies at the end of the day. So that’s what we aim to do through this workshop, and using actual case studies to further solidify our position,” said St. Prix.

He noted that this was but one day of what would be happening this week when energy, policy and standards experts from across the Region and Germany, gathered in Barbados.

“On the second day of the workshop, energy experts will sit together and plan a Road Map to determine the steps to the development and implementation of a labelling scheme for refrigerators, lighting and room air conditioners. And the following day we will sit as a group to determine which standard will be used from the several examples we’ve been studying over recent months, and plan our next steps in the development of the standards for labelling of energy efficient appliances,” he further explained.

Deciding on the approach and right standards to use as the basis for the regional approach which will then be adopted by CARICOM Member States, is a crucial part of the process for the development of the energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.

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About The R3E Project

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (R3E) Project is primarily based on the premise that the introduction of standards, testing and other quality-related services into the RE and EE subsectors, could result in significant changes to the way energy is viewed and the focus paid by policymakers, retailers, general public and other vital stakeholders in these areas.

Its main components are the development of standards for RE appliances – namely solar water heaters; development of standards for photovoltaic systems; regional energy performance standards for EE appliances – namely refrigerators, air conditioners and lighting; as well as an efficiency labelling scheme for the stated appliances. It also aims to establish centres for testing of these appliances in the region, and other supporting quality systems.

The aims of this project are:

·         Support of regional standardisation activities for this sector, and use of these activities for the creation of binding directives and technical regulations.

·         Establishment of technical expertise for testing and measurement services in individual countries.

·         Awareness-raising, informational and public relations activities, as well as dialogue with persons in decision-making and other key positions. 

IIt is funded to the tune of 1 million Euros from the German Government; managed by the German Metrology Institute (PTB) and implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organisaiton for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL) in the Dominican Republic.

 

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The Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) has been monitoring the issue relating to the sale of unwholesome meat and meat products originating from Brazil. 

Several Member States have already instituted measures to restrict the importation of some or all meat products from Brazil. It is noted that China, the European Union, and Chile have also instituted restrictive measures. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has redoubled its food inspection efforts on beef products from Brazil although none of the slaughtering or processing facilities implicated in the Brazilian scandal shipped meat products to the U.S. The Department said it is still conducting "additional pathogen testing” of all shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat products from Brazil.

CAHFSA is endeavoring to obtain more information as it relates to the specific plants and products involved and will disseminate same as soon as possible. 

We are kindly requesting Member States that are conducting tests of the various products, to share the results with the other Chief Veterinary Officers (CVOs)/Member States who may not be in a position to complete the testing protocols.  This is in an effort to assist in the decision-making process regarding the continuance of the measures that would have been taken. 

 

We would also like to advise that Members of the Community to take the necessary measures to protect the well-being of their population, until necessary determinations have been made that the products are safe for consumption.  This may entail a comprehensive review of the operations/production systems in Brazil in general and the specific companies in particular. Thus, the requirement of a Regional Risk Analysis.

(Statement from the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency - CAHFSA)

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A Regional Project Team (RPT), established to develop a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC), among other mandates, will be launched in Kingston, Jamaica, next week.

The launch and the first face-to-face Working Meeting with the contracted consultant will be held 30-31 March, at the Jamaica Bureau of Standards. Nine Member States – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago – are represented on the RPT which consists of 19 Members.

The RPT is tasked with developing the REEBC, as well as its associated application documents and Minimum Energy Performance standards for buildings. To do so, the RPT will review the Minimum Energy Performance Standards for buildings as proposed by consultant, Solar Dynamics, in their final report of the consultancy on the Development of Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS) for public and commercial buildings in CARICOM Member States. The team will also review the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) in an effort to adapt it, where necessary, and present for acceptance and adoption by Member States as a Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code.

This development comes against the background of steps the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has been taking to implement energy efficiency measures and renewable energy resources into their energy mix. The much-needed economic transformation, energy independence and security and the reduction of environmental effects from the combustion of fossil fuels, are expected to flow from the implementation of these measures.

In general, energy efficiency measures are highly cost-effective as investments and all stakeholders in the Region need to re-examine the way in which energy is used and to identify ways of using energy more efficiently. The energy intensity index in CARICOM is higher than the energy intensity index of the world and about two and a half times that of the European Union. A continued focus on energy efficiency practices can help mitigate the increase in the atmospheric temperatures and climatic changes over the years. The CARICOM Energy Strategy recommends a 33% reduction in energy intensity to be applied in all CARICOM Member States by 2027.

Improving the energy efficiency potential across sectors and economies is crucial for countries to deliver not only on climate objectives but to also improve their energy security, economic development and citizens’ health. Despite the benefits from energy efficiency, the current “low” oil prices pose a risk for the serious investment and application of more energy efficient mechanisms. Nevertheless, reducing the energy demand through improved energy efficiency makes renewable and non-renewable energy more affordable. In a world of finite resources; improvements in energy efficiency must be maximised.

Buildings account for over one-third of the world’s total energy use and associated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions; more than half of the electricity produced is consumed by buildings. Typically, 10% to 20% (depending on building type) of the total life-cycle energy consumed is used for the manufacturing and assembly of building materials, construction, maintenance, refurbishing and demolition; 80% to 90% is used, over the life of the building, for heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation, house appliances, etc.

Recently therefore, there has been an increasing trend to promote supranational collaboration to develop international energy efficiency requirements or standards for buildings, such as, via the International Standards Organisation (ISO), International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

In the same manner, the CARICOM Secretariat and the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) are seeking to develop an REEBC. This initiative is being supported by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, through the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Technical Assistance (REETA) Programme.

The REEBC is expected to address all of the aspects of energy use in buildings which comprise of, but are not limited to: thermal performance requirements for walls, roofs and windows; day lighting, lamps and luminaire performance; energy performance of chillers and air distribution systems; the electrical wiring system; solar water heating; appliances; renewable energy; zoning of buildings, climate classification and building energy management systems.

(Submitted by CARICOM Secretariat)

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Region's 10th EDF Technical Barrier to Trade Programme Closes Featured

All eyes will be focussed on Antigua and Barbuda next week, when the 30th Council of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) meets for the close out of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Programme and Directors’ meeting.

The March 13 – 17th Council meeting is expected to attract more than 50 persons from the 15 CARICOM Member States, the Dominican Republic, and even as far away as Germany, as many international organisations and agencies affiliated with trade and the European Union-funded 10th EDF TBT programme arrive in the country for the meeting.

The first day will feature a Close out Seminar of the CARIFORUM 10th EDF-TBT Programme which began in 2012. The programme, which lasted for a period of five (5) years, and will conclude this month, and was centred around the building of the region’s capabilities in the several areas of quality infrastructure, and using these capabilities as a means of managing and reducing technical barriers to trade. Quality infrastructure (QI) refers to the development of standards for products and services; metrology - which is the science of measurements and its related infrastructure; accreditation, and conformity assessment - primarily the services of testing, inspection and certification.

The managers and implementers of the project, namely the German Metrology Institute (PTB), and CROSQ, along with the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL), will give a breakdown of the project, with discussions centred on the successes, challenges, and lessons learnt over the past five (5) years.

The Antigua and Barbuda Bureau of Standards (ABBS), which is serving as local hosts to the week of activities and meetings, will also use the occasion to launch the Antigua and Barbuda National Quality Awards Programme, which, once fully established, will recognise local producers and manufacturers of goods, as well as service providers who are and have introduced quality management and other quality-based systems and activities into their businesses.

“This is going to be a big occasion for Antigua and Barbuda to host an event of significant regional importance, and also to introduce to the public of our country the concept of creating a quality culture with the launch of this National Quality Awards. These Awards, which will be launched on the evening of March 13 will say to our businesses that we recognise the efforts to produce quality for our own consumption, as well as for export to the region and the rest of the globe.

“It is an initiative that was encouraged under the 10th EDF-TBT Programme, but one we thought important enough to introduce to our public and private sector here in Antigua and Barbuda. It will be a great celebration and achievement for all of us; and to have the rest of the region watching the unfolding of this Awards will be a tremendous boost for the country,” said Director of the ABBS, Mrs. Dianne Lalla-Rodrigues.

It was a sentiment shared by Chairman of CROSQ, Mr. Jose Trejo. He noted that the CROSQ Council of Directors was pleased to be hosted by the ABBS and the country of Antigua and Barbuda for the closing of the 10th EDF-TBT Programme which he noted had brought several notable improvements to the development of quality infrastructure in the region.

“We’ve seen advancements in equipment, physical infrastructure, skills of staff who have been trained in various areas and have participated in exercises to prove their competence over the period. I can say without contradiction that this programme has been a benefit to our region and has enabled us to form closer and greater ties with our colleagues across the region and further north to the Dominican Republic,” he said.

The Chairman said he was looking forward to the week of activities and to discussing with partners from the European Union, the CARIFORUM Directorate, as well as Germany and the Dominican Republic, the accomplishments that have been realised, as well as the valuable lessons learnt, which can be used for future developments in our quality infrastructure in the region;.

The 10th EDF-TBT Programme Close-out Seminar will take place on March 13, 2017 and will be followed by the meeting of the CROSQ Council, from Tuesday March 14, 2017 to Thursday March  16, 2017, where Directors and Executive Directors from National Standards Bodies across the CARICOM Region will look at arrangements for further developing QI across the region as well as other collaborative efforts for the year ahead.

 

About the 10th EDF-TBT Programme

The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) component of the 10th European Development Fund - Caribbean Regional Indicative Programme (EDF-CRIP), "Support to the Caribbean Forum of the ACP States in the implementation of the commitments undertaken under the Economic Partnership Agreement", is funded through a Financial Agreement between the European Union and CARIFORUM.

The overall objective of the 10th EDF Programme is to support the beneficial integration of the CARIFORUM states into the world economy, to support regional cooperation and the development efforts of the Caribbean, in an effort to meet the requirements under the current Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and CARIFORUM. The EPA-TBT component is expected to facilitate intra- and inter-regional trade as well as international competitiveness and sustainable production of goods and services within the CARIFORUM states for the enhancement of social and economic development.

It is implemented by CROSQ and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL) in the Dominican Republic, and managed by the German Metrology Institute (PTB).

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From left – Accreditation expert, Mr. Pat Paladino; consultant and trainer, Mrs. Claudette Brown and Technical Officer with CROSQ, Mr. Stephen Farquharson. Featured

The hard work of developing Quality Infrastructure in the Caribbean is just starting to pay off.

That’s the view of quality expert, Mr. Pat Paladino, as he addressed a meeting of National Accreditation Focal Points (NAFP) officials from eight CARICOM countries in Barbados this week. The workshop is an initiative under the 10th EDF-TBT Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ), the German Metrology Institute (PTB) and the Dominican Institute for Quality (INDOCAL). It ends on Friday, February 17.

Mr. Paladino is one of the trainers at the workshop, which is led by Mrs. Claudette Brown – Accreditation consultant and trainer.

Mr. Paladino noted that the global market was moving ahead in areas requiring product tested by labs accredited by an accreditation body that is a signatory to international accreditation agreements. Failure to meet the international requirements could result in a close out for products of the Caribbean, he noted.

“Developed markets set the rules and they’ve embraced the international accreditation system. If the Caribbean can’t meet these rules, our businesses and exporters are not going to be able to do business in these markets. Also, if the region is unable to provide recognized accreditation and conformity assessment services, then businesses and manufacturers will have to look outside the region to be able to have their products tested.

“Typically, businesses would have to go to the US, Canada or Europe and the cost of testing in these countries is probably 10 or 20 times the cost of doing it here, if we had the capabilities. That’s pretty significant for these manufacturers,” he remarked.

The expert, who is a former President of the InterAmerican Accreditation Cooperation, the internationally recognised association of accreditation bodies in the Americas and other organisations interested in conformity assessment, said this was why the work of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the National Standards Bodies (NSBs) of the region was so important to mitigating some of the international risks.

“All the hard work is finally starting to pay off. There was a slow start getting people on board, knowledgeable and trained, but today we have an accreditation body that is already recognised internationally. We are also seeing a number of labs, both in the medical and testing area, come forward and attain accreditation. So, we are taking small steps, but the question is, are we moving fast enough,” he said.

Governments, he pointed out, must be made to understand why these processes are so important to national and regional development. Standards development organisation must adopt or adapt international standards as national standards to support businesses and export.

Mrs Brown’s indicated that participants would be reviewing the requirements of the ISO/IEC 17025 standard.  She pointed out that this standard was applicable to all laboratories and can be used by the NAFPs to assist these labs in the development of their management systems for quality, administrative and technical operations.  She pointed out that the workshop would also be covering other supporting information, including the benefits of accreditation, the accreditation process and assessor attributes.   The participants were encouraged to participate fully in the activities of the week in order to maximize the benefits.

CROSQ’s Technical Officer – Accreditation, Mr. Stephen Farquharson explained that the role of the NAFP was to assist Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) with their quest for international accreditation to meet the needs of businesses. He told the officials from Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Haiti, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis and Suriname that the week-long training would give them the basics needed to provide the necessary assistance to CABs, and especially laboratories.

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Barbados' Minister of Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce addressing the R3E Launch. Featured

Consumers need to be knowledgeable about the appliances they are purchasing, and for this among other reasons, the Barbados government underscored the importance of a new energy project launched recently.

Speaking at the CARICOM Member States’ launch of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project, more commonly called R3E, Minister of Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce told the audience at the Radisson Aquatica Resort in Bay Street, St. Michael that the project was needed “quite urgently” in the region.

“Why do we need it? We need it to ensure that consumers are knowledgeable and interested in purchasing efficient appliance; that retailers see the benefits of selling such appliances and that consumers and business places eventually recognise savings in their energy bills,” Senator Boyce stated.

He added: “In short, this project is important in order to maintain customer confidence in the industry ... and the installation of energy efficient and renewable energy devices thereby facilitating us to achieve the benefit of the reduction in fossil fuel usage and foreign exchange that we now spend to import those fossil fuels.”

He highlighted that the project would use the development of standards and testing services for adherence to standards to ensure the importation of energy efficient appliances, thereby reducing use of foreign exchange by reducing energy consumption and changing the source of generation of energy use in the region.

The R3E Project, said Chairman of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ), Mr. Jose Trejo, was envisaged to contribute to the improvement of lives of the average consumer in CARICOM Member States over the long term, by reducing energy bills in businesses, and assisting in making building more energy efficient through improvement in quality services.

How this project differs from others, Mr. Trejo, who is also Director of the Belize Bureau of Standards noted, was in its application of quality services the energy sector.

“The Project is timely given the regional and international focus which is placed on critical energy issues; and its negative effect on climate change and the impact on the region,” he said.

The aim of the project is to develop minimum energy efficient standards as well as a labelling scheme for refrigerators, air conditioners and lighting; to develop standards for solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels; to establish a mechanism to support standards in the testing of the appliances and the calibration of testing equipment and the temperature of the appliances; as well as an information and awareness campaign to bring about a shift in consciousness of consumers related to choice of appliances and behavioural change.

The Project is funded by the German Government, through the German National Metrology Institute, and implemented by CROSQ and the Dominican Institute for Quality in the Dominican Republic.

It is also expected to complement the work CROSQ in undertaking in relation to the development of Regional Energy Efficient Building Codes.

Regional energy expert and head of the CARICOM Energy Unit, Dr. Devon Gardner told the audience of dignitaries, heads of regional and international organisations, as well as the Directorate of CROSQ that the CARICOM Secretariat had placed matters of energy “very high on its agenda”.

He stated that in 2015 energy efficiency was placed as a priority within CARICOM, and in January this year, the Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) for Energy, approved the pursuance of a strategy for energy in the region, a crucial part of that being sustainability.

“A critical part of that strategy is that we need to improve the efficiency within which energy is used in buildings; and so a part of that refers to the standards and regulations related to building energy use,” he said, noting that this partnership with CROSQ was hoped to bring about positive results in these areas for the region.

Dr. Alexis Valqui, Head of Technical Cooperation for Latin America and the Caribbean with PTB, stated that despite this being the fifth Regional Quality Infrastructure project Germany had undertaken directly with CROSQ, and partnering with INDOCAL, and it would be a learning experience for all concerned.

“Energy already is or will be visible in the future as one of the key issues and those countries or regions that solve the energy challenges will be also competitive in the future.”

 

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About R3E

R3E, which focuses on Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) in the Caribbean from a quality standpoint, is primarily based on the premise that the introduction of standards, testing and other quality-related services into the RE and EE subsectors, could result in significant changes to the way energy efficiency is viewed and the focus paid by policy makers, retailers, general public and other vital stakeholders in these areas.

Studies have found that “the use of energy-efficient devices, and the application of technologies for using renewable energies in the Caribbean, are impeded by the lack of important QI tools and services such as standards, testing, inspection, certification and labelling. Consumer protection is insufficient, as is the information on these instruments.”

It is a core issue the R3E Project seeks to address. It is funded to the tune of 1 million Euros by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

Enquiries:            Media – Ms. Latoya Burnham – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                          Project – Ms. Janice Hilaire – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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This week at the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, ASTM International President Mr. James Thomas announced the signing of the organization’s 100th Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).  The MoU program supports use of ASTM International standards while also encouraging global participation in the ASTM standards development process.

“This program has been crucial in supporting the global standards community, starting with our first signatory, Colombia, to Gulf nations including the UAE, to Montserrat, our 100th,” said Mr. Thomas. “These signings reflect ASTM’s broad and deep commitment to World Trade Organization principles such as openness, transparency, and the development dimension.” 

“We are thrilled that Montserrat is joining this well-known program,” said Mr. Deryck Omar, CEO of the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) in the Caribbean. “It’s clear that ASTM International standards are recognized worldwide for their high technical quality and market relevance,” said Mr. Omar, an ASTM board member.

During his presentation, Mr. Thomas unveiled ASTM’s new Global Cooperation webpage featuring all 100 countries and regions, including Monserrat as well as Myanmar, which became the 99th MoU partner last week.

MoU partners receive these benefits:

•    free participation in ASTM technical committees;

•    access to a robust collection of ASTM standards for the national standards body;

•    education about ASTM International’s standards development process and technical content;

•    minimized duplication of effort in standards development at the national level; and,

•    communication, awareness, access to special programs, and more.

These benefits are particularly helpful in addressing challenges such as overcoming barriers to trade.

Mr. Thomas made the announcement during “outreach day” of the week-long activities of the ASTM International Board of Directors in the United Arab Emirates.  His speaking engagement – alongside board chairman Dr. Ralph Paroli of the National Research Council of Canada – was supported by the Abu Dhabi Chamber, the Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the U.S. Embassy as part of its Discover America Speakers Series.

ASTM International’s overall global engagement has grown alongside the MoU program. Over the past 10 years, membership in ASTM International committees has increased 42% outside the U.S. At the same time, ASTM has opened several additional offices throughout the world.

In 2016, the organization hosted over 100 delegates from nine countries.  Over the past decade, ASTM International has also hosted 32 standard experts from 28 nations through its exchange program.  Over the next 12 months, the organization plans to host experts from MoU signatories including Bhutan, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam.

Also this month, ASTM International’s Global Cooperation Department, which manages the MoU program, received the International Code Council (ICC) Global Award for their dedicated effort in “promoting and providing access to technical standards supporting the building codes around the world, thus creating an opportunity to expand the ICC’s mission to promote global building safety.”

 

Media Inquiries: Nathan Osburn, tel +1.610.832.9603; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MoU Inquiries: Teresa Cendrowska, tel +1.610.832.9718; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

*This is a release from ASTM International

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ISO Acting Secretary-General, Mr. Kevin McKinley Featured

Next week all eyes will be on Barbados as it hosts the ISO Forum for Chief Executive Officers of National Standards Bodies in the Caribbean, which will be facilitated by the ISO Acting Secretary-General, Mr. Kevin McKinley.

The CEO Forum, which will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott, Hastings, Christ Church, opens on Monday, July 4 at 9 a.m. and concludes Wednesday, July 6, 2016. It is being sponsored by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and is intended to be a platform for heads of national standards bodies, members of ISO, "to get together to discuss issues related to the day-to-day management of their organisations".

ISO describes the forum, which is expected to attract the Directors of National Standards Bodies (NSBs) from across the region, especially from within CARICOM, as an “ideal setting for fellow executives of NSBs to exchange views on matters of mutual interest, to consider possible solutions to the challenges they face, and to identify concrete actions for implementation in their organisations”.

Barbados and the Barbados National Standards Institution (BNSI), will serve as hosts to the forum entitled "What Keeps a CEO Awake at Night and What Are His/Her Top Priorities to be Successful".

Among areas to be discussed are relations with policymakers; national standardization strategies, funding mechanisms and business models; as well as standards development and publishing; stakeholder engagement – success and failures; marketing and sales of standards, NSB services and operational efficiency.

Director of the BNSI, Mrs. Anthea Ishmael noted that, as a member of ISO, it was a pleasure to host such a major regional event here in Barbados.

"Just like our partners across the CARICOM Region, the BNSI is committed to the development of the quality infrastructure and we recognize the importance of collaborating and working together on areas of mutual interest and also sharing ideas and best practices.

"We are looking forward to very interactive and fruitful discussions next week and to outcomes that would provide the bureaux of standards within CARICOM with an even stronger platform to strengthen the quality infrastructure, thereby making our respective organisations, and by extension our region, more competitive," said Ishmael.

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For queries, please contact:
Ms. Latoya Burnham,
Technical Officer, Communication - CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards & Quality (CROSQ)
Tele: (246) 622-7670 ext 671
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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