African Continental Platform on Voluntary Sustainability Standards

The African Continental platform will be coordinated by the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), an Intergovernmental Organisation established by the former Organization of African Unity (OAU, currently African Union (AU)) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in 1977 whose mandate is to promote standardization in Africa to boost intra Africa and global trade. This includes; develop and/or harmonize African standards for all products of interest to intra- African trade and operate a regional certification marking scheme with a view to certifying the quality of and promoting African products. ARSO is a membership organization of African countries through their National Standards Bodies and or Departments dealing with standards and Trade. It represents Africa in international Bodies like ISO, IEC, ITU, CODEX and supports member states in harmonization of standards. ARSO with the engagement of stakeholders has developed six sustainability standards in agriculture fishery, forestry, tourism and aquaculture (African cat fish and Tilapia).

The Continental  platform for Voluntary Sustainability Standards (VSS) will serve as a mechanism to strengthen the capacities of public and private entities in Africa in terms of sustainability, being an initiative that will contribute to the African Strategy for the promotion of sustainable consumption and production of goods and services as well as implementation of the SDGs.

The launch of the African platform will take place in 2021.


Steering Committee is led by ARSO

Multi-Stakeholder Committee comprises of:

  Governmental agencies

  National standardization bodies

   African Regional Economic Communities (RECs)

   Representatives from private sector industries

   Civil Society


Activities of the ARSO VSS Platform

Networking with multiple stakeholders in the dissemination of VSS

Raise awareness on Africa’s sustainability prospects and their advancement in the light of VSS implementation

Contribute to develop international research about benefits and impacts of VSS in African private sector

Launch Date:



Dr Hermogene Nsengimana

Secretary General

African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO)

ARSO Central Secretariat

3rd Floor, International House

Mama Ngina Street

P.O. Box 57363-00200

Nairobi, Kenya

Tel.  +254-20-224561/ 311641/ 311608

E-mail: /


Website of the African National Platform


Related Documents:

Case study n°3 Implementation of the Eco Mark Africa Certification System through the Eco Mark Sustainability Standards