Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has received an ISOlution and Video Conferencing facilities from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the East Africa Investment Hub.
The facilities will help UNBS increase efficiency of the process of standards development by improving the public enquiry process, enhancing transparency, openness and awareness on new standards and to facilitate information and documents disseminations to national experts as well as reducing cost of participation in standardization at regional and international level.
UNBS secured the in-kind grant from USAID, through the East Africa trade and Investment Hub. The grant included; Payment of ISOlutions’ subscription fees to ISO/CS for the 1st year of ISOlutions acquisition, facilitation to the consultant from the ISO/Cs to travel to UNBS to undertake local system configuration and initial training, procurement and installation of ICT equipment including one unit of video conferencing facility and seven laptops and support towards training of the larger stakeholders (TC members) in ISOlutions application.
The ISOlution system and Video Conferencing facilities were received by the UNBS, Executive Director, Dr. Ben Manyindo.
While handing over the facilities, Marc Shiman, Chief of Party of the USAID Hub, said the facilities are part of the Uganda’s participation in the World’s standards development initiative. He also noted that the facilities will add value to the implementation of standards.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held at UNBS headquarters, Dr. Manyindo thanked USAID Uganda Mission and the East Africa Trade Hub for the support given towards the accomplishment of the project.
“UNBS would like to thank the American People for supporting the economic growth of Uganda through various initiatives. We also would like to thank the East Africa Trade Hub for the effective coordination that guaranteed the success of the project. We trust that the cooperation already established will continue to grow and look towards to many more engagements as we deliver services to the people of Uganda,” he said.
UNBS is committed to ensuring that the ISOlution system remain working to facilitate standards development process to deliver better quality standards.
The handover was officiated by officials from USAID and East Africa Development Hub.
ISOlution is a web-based global system used by International Standards Organization (ISO) members to develop standards that facilitate international trade. With access to the system and a videoconference facility, Uganda will be able to comment remotely on international standards that are up for revision or creation, saving the country money from travel expenses and increasing the ease and efficiency of its participation.
In addition, Uganda’s adoption of ISOlution opens the possibility of introducing a regional ISOlution platform. Uganda is the second EAC Partner State to use the system, following Kenya, and Rwanda is set to follow. With three countries using the system, the EAC can explore the benefits of establishing a regional platform that will encourage other Partner States to participate in international standards development and allow the submission of regional positions.
Since February 2015, with the signing of the U.S.-EAC Cooperation Agreement, the USAID Hub has worked hand-in-hand with EAC Partner States to build their capacity to meet international commitments on technical barriers to trade (TBTs) and sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS) in an effort to promote safe and transparent regional and international trade.
The USAID Hub’s partnership with UNBS, in particular, has been successful. Following a USAID Hub training in 2017 where UNBS staff learned how to use ISOlutions, UNBS made a commitment to implement ISOlutions in the country. The handover ceremony marked the achievement of this commitment.