World Standards Day is celebrated every year on October 14 in recognition of the efforts of thousands of experts worldwide who collaborate within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to develop voluntary international standards that facilitate trade, transfer knowledge and support technological advancement.
World Standards Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of global standardization to the world economy, and to promote its role in facilitating the needs of business, industry, government, and consumers worldwide.
As the Minister with responsibility for the development and enforcement of standards, I am pleased to join the other 161 members of ISO and those of IEC and ITU in celebrating another World Standards Day. This year’s theme is: “International Standards and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the emerging technologies that are slowly eroding the traditional boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds. These emerging technologies are providing numerous opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs, creating niche markets and unique business solutions. Standards play a pivotal role in the development of these new technologies, by establishing the morals, rules and values that underpin their advancement, application and use.
The evidence regarding the positive impact of international standards on economic, social and environmental development is compelling on a global scale. Through them, the manufacture and supply of goods and services have become more efficient, environments have become safer, healthier and cleaner, and countries are better positioned to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), from climate change to energy efficiency. Moreover, they foster innovation and aid in the transfer of technology and knowledge from developed countries to developing countries.
Barbados, through the Barbados National Standards Institution, is a full member of ISO and an affiliate member of IEC. Barbados is also a member of the ITU through the Telecommunications Unit, Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology.
The Government of Barbados is therefore fully committed to the development and enforcement of domestic and international standards. It is against this backdrop that the Government places high priority on the establishment of National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) Model with Standardization, Metrology, Testing, and Conformity Systems (Certification and Accreditation) as its building blocks. The objective is to improve the country’s competitiveness, consumer protection, trade facilitation and market access by enhancing the competence and performance of the BNSI. The NQI will be essential to the dismantling of technical barriers to trade, particularly exporting, and is the key to the greater integration of Barbados into the international trading system.
On this World Standards Day, I therefore wish to commend all those local experts and officers who participate in the formulation and implementation of national, regional and international standards of interest to Barbados.
As citizens of Barbados, let us continue to contribute to our society by actively participating in the standards process. As people, all Barbadians have the right to a quality of life based on the highest standards; but by the same token, we all are responsible for creating, implementing and preserving these standards. Let’s all play our part as we grapple with the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight G Sutherland