Today, the 14th of October, 2017 is World Standards Day. This is a day set aside worldwide to honor the first group of twenty-five (25) countries that, in 1946, sat down together in London and agreed that, to make the world interoperate perfectly, standards needed to be set and agreed upon between nations. On this day, the world, among others, recognises and appreciates the work of all the experts that constitute standards-setting technical committees in all the countries.
The theme of this year’s World Standards Day is Standards Make Cities Smarter. I cannot agree more with this theme as it rings true for most of the cities of the SADC region. I believe that more still needs to be done to make our cities smarter than they are at the moment.
We also concur with the message from the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO), that sufficient fresh water; universal access to cleaner energy; the ability to travel efficiently from one point to another; a sense of safety and security are the kinds of promises modern cities must fulfil if they are to stay competitive and provide a decent quality of life to their citizens.
Standards setting has become a norm worldwide and most of the SADC Member States have set up various bodies and institutions dedicated to standards setting. Today, the SADC Secretariat joins all the SADC Member States and the international community in commending all the standards bodies in the world and in the SADC Region, in particular, for the remarkable achievements they have made in ensuring that standards prevail, especially in the region.
It is pleasing to note the significant milestone achieved by the Kingdom of Lesotho towards the realization of a dedicated national standards institution. It is our fervent hope that soon this institution will be commissioned, and facilitate the SADC region a full complement of standards bodies, and ensure that the standards of the region are maintained and matched to the international standards.
The presence and operation of standards are never appreciated until they are absent. If trade forms the backbone of our economies, standards are the nerves that make it all speak to each other. Through the SADC Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) Cooperation structures, SADC is ensuring that the people of the SADC Region, in both the public and private domains, are aware of their need to adopt and implement international standards.
As the region embarks on the journey to industrialization, standards setting cannot be detached from the Industrialisation process. For the SADC Region to fully industrialise, the Secretariat is conscious of the fact that standards have to be applied in every step of the way to ensure, among other things, the sustainability of the entire hard and soft infrastructure invested into industrialization. Standards will also be important for the maintenance and interoperability of the systems that will be put in place to realize the targeted outcomes of industrialization.
With standards as an integral part of the activities of the SADC region, especially as it industrializes, it is our strong belief that more and more cities in the SADC region will indeed be smarter.
On this special day, the World Standards Day, the SADC Secretariat wishes to congratulate all the SADC Member States for committing to the international process of standards setting and wish them all a Happy World Standards Day.