By Xaverine CYIZA.
Delegates from more than 35 countries from different continents are in Kigali for a five-day 40th ISO Technical Committee 176 (ISO/TC 176) meeting on quality management and quality assurance, the annual meeting that discuss emerging trends and challenges related to international standards and their role in achieving the global sustainable development agenda.
The event is hosted by the Government of Rwanda through Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) in Kigali from October 9-13, 2023.
Raymond Murenzi, Director General of Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) remarked that since Rwanda joined the International Organisation for Standardization as member in 2003, the country has recorded a remarkable increase in participating in standardization activities of different ISO technical committees where it is represented by Rwanda Standards Board as member body to ISO.
He added that the meeting was the third ISO TC meeting hosted following the one for ISO/ TC 283 on Occupational Health and Safety in 2018, the second being the one for ISO TC 323 on Circular Economy held in 2022 and finally that of ISO/ TC 176.
“As RSB, we remain committed to continue increasing our participation in international standardization activities coordinated at ISO level to achieve our shared wish of raising awareness on the use of international standards to sustain their role in sustainable development and promotion of international trade.” Murenzi noted.
The 40th ISO Technical Committee 176 (ISO/TC 176) meeting on quality management and quality assurance was officiated by Richard Niwenshuti, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MINICOM) who appreciated the presence of ISO/TC 176 Members for having accorded Rwanda to be their host.
“On the side of the Government and the Ministry of Trade and Industry in particular, we will continue to support the standardization activities and those related to national quality infrastructure. However, the Government alone cannot attain the set goals in this area of quality infrastructure, the involvement of development Partners and Industry will remain of paramount.” Niwenshuti said.
Mr Jeffrey Hunt, Chairperson of the ISO/TC 176 expressed the Committee’s gratitude for meeting in Rwanda and appreciated the hospitality and support they got to have everything ready on time. He wished all members fruitful deliberations during the week of the Committee’s work.
Speaking on behalf of ISO, Mr Jose Alcorta, Head of Standards Development at ISO said that the meeting will strengthen trade improvement collaboration in the region and engage stakeholders at the national level to boost standardization mutual benefits.
“At ISO, we are happy to develop international standards that provide solutions to challenges facing countries, industry or service providers. We appreciate Members and Partners’ participation in activities to develop and raise awareness on standards. We take this opportunity to call for more African countries to join in and participate in the works of different committees”. Mr Jose Alcorta noted.
The International Organization for standardization (ISO) acts as a bridging organization in which a consensus can be reached on standards and conformity assessment solutions that meet both the requirements of business and the broader needs of society. These activities are carried out by ISO technical committees (ISO/TCs). These committees are made by National Standards Bodies (NSBs) of countries, each per country.
ISO/TC 176 Quality management and quality assurance was established in 1979 and is responsible for standardization in the field of generic quality management systems. As well, the committee develops standards in quality management standardization in specific sectors at the request of affected sector.
The committee is entrusted with an advisory function to ISO and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to ensure the integrity of generic quality system standards and the effective implementation of the ISO/IEC sector policy on deliverables that include quality management system aspects.
The 95 participants and 30 Observer members of ISO TC 176 represent developed countries, developing countries and countries with economies in transition from across the globe, making 75% of the 165 members of ISO.