UNBS Standards Developers undergo training in development and harmonization of East African Standards

Staff drawn from the Standards department of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) have been trained in agri-inputs and food standards development and harmonization.

The week long training organized by the EAC Secretariat was aimed at enhancing the capacity of the current and future TC members to effectively steer the process of agri-inputs and food standards development and harmonisation in the EAC.

Additionally, the training is to create awareness of the importance and processes for setting/development and harmonization of standards; develop expertise amongst institutions, associations and private sector bodies participating in the EAC standards setting; and improve communication and linkages between standards setting bodies and the private sector.

While speaking at the opening session, the UNBS Manager Standards, Andrew Othieno highlighted the importance of training of TC chairpersons, members and secretariat to ensure that quality, effective and useable standards are availed to the public.

He emphasized that, “an efficient, effective, balanced and responsive standards development and harmonization process is as a critical component for trade development in the region.”

Participants were trained in the history of standardization, principles and rules for structure and drafting of standards, EAC Procedures for development and harmonization of standards, the institutional framework for food standard setting and harmonization, among others.

The expected outcomes of this training were summarized as:

  1. a)       Knowledge of key tasks, competences and code of conducts required for standards professionals.
  2. b)      A common understanding of the concept of standardization including purpose, role and benefits of standards.
  3. c)       Knowledge of the international standardization system including institutional framework, principles and practices for development and harmonization of standards.
  4. d)      Knowledge and skills in stakeholder engagement including the roles of different international, regional and national stakeholders in standardization.
  5. e)      A common understanding of the principles and rules for structure and drafting of Standards.
  6. f)       A common understanding of procedures for development and harmonization of East African Standards.
  7. g)      Knowledge of importance of good communication and negotiation skills in standards development and harmonization.
  8. h)       A common understanding of concept and application of risk analysis in food standardization at international, regional and national levels

The training which took place from 11th -15th October drew participants from National standard bodies (TC Secretaries and Chairpersons, Editors, and others), National Drug Authority, Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industries and Fisheries (MAAIF), Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, private Sector Associations, Academic and research institutions, and civil society organizations (Consumer Associations).

Development and harmonization of standards at the EAC is guided principles and procedures formulated in accordance with the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO TBT Agreement).

In 2020/21, the EAC Secretariat in partnership with GIZ, developed a manual for training of standards developers on effective participation in development and harmonisation of the EA standards. With this manual, 19 Standard experts, drawn from the Partner States, were trained to serve as national trainers and they participated in training sessions involving 142 Standards Technical Committee (TC) members.