Enhancing CARICOM’s Export Opportunities with Sustainability Standards

In the interest of facilitating the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)’s goal to strengthen trade-related quality infrastructure, the validation workshop held in Saint Lucia in 21-23 January 2020 aims to improve capacity in Standards and technical regulations development and implementation in CARICOM and to conduct a feasibility study for developing trade capacity enabling Sustainability Standards and associated conformity assessment modalities by the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), modelling the success of African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).

Part of this workshop was also meant to introduce the global landscape of Sustainability Standards and UNFSS is particularly humbled by the invitation extended by CROSQ to present some of the cases experienced by the National VSS Platforms and initiatives on their facilitation of Sustainability Standards as a market response, as well as its impact on international trade, to Directors and associates representing the National Bureau of Standards of the 15 CARICOM states.

These activities were mainly developed as an initial phase towards the direction of leveraging sustainability standards as an instrument to drive sustainable exports to the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), two of the more prominent import markets for CARICOM exports. Thus, a comparative research report on CARICOM and the EU on the development and implementation of Standards and associated Technical Regulations was conducted to understand the EU (in particular CEN/CENELEC) processes and practices for the preparation, adoption and application of Regional Standards (and also, Sustainability Standards).

Where do we go from here? CROSQ and UNFSS will collaborate on a work programme to enhance CARICOM’s sustainable exports to the EU and the US by leveraging on Sustainability Standards. CROSQ will also be looking at coordinating a Regional VSS Platform in order to facilitate capacities for each of these countries to achieve CARICOM sustainable exports effort.

More updates will follow suit.

For further inquiries, please direct your email to Ruby Lambert.

The United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS) is a joint initiative of 5 UN Agencies (FAO, ITC, UNCTAD, UN Environment and UNIDO) that seeks to address these challenges. It is a demand-driven forum for intergovernmental actors to communicate among each other and engage with key target groups (producers, traders, consumers, standard-setters, certification-bodies, trade diplomats, relevant NGOs and researchers) to address their information needs and influence concerned stakeholders. It aims to provide impartial information, analysis, and discussions on VSS and their potential contribution to facilitate market access, strengthen public goods and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Most importantly, the UNFSS focuses on potential trade or development obstacles VSS may create, with particular emphasis on their impact on SMEs and less developed countries.

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