Theme: “Protect the Planet with Standards”
Fellow Saint Lucians, the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards joined the global community in observance of World Standards Day on the 14th October, 2020. World Standards Day provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the importance of Standardization to our country and the world.
This year’s theme “Protect the Planet with Standards”, is relevant and timely as it captures the significance of standards in an era of global sensitivity and awareness of the impact of human activities on our planet.
Through our experiences in the current COVID-19 pandemic we recognise the significance of this theme which encourages us to use this excellent opportunity to focus attention on our peculiar situation as a small island developing state. Every citizen must be involved and appreciate his or her role in the protection of our planet by deliberate action as we live our daily lives.
Our safety is of paramount importance and we need to ensure the sustainability of our communities and planet. Notwithstanding, we are witnesses to catastrophic environmental events in recent time. The passage of record powerful hurricanes in our region and North America, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the threat of rising sea levels as a result of climate change, floods and a pandemic of the magnitude of COVID 19, unlike anything the majority of us living today have experienced. The threat to human existence is real!
These are sobering thoughts. When we think of our own situation, as a small nation vulnerable to natural disasters, a largely tourism and agricultural based economy; it means adverse weather conditions and other environmental events are significant threats to our social and economic welfare. Having regard to the enormity of these calamities, an active agenda in standards development is being pursued as part of the options to mitigate the present degradation that our human activities are having on the planet.
As we observed World Standards Day, it is a good juncture to share with you how much progress we have made as a country and globally, which affect our fortunes through standards. Standards offer widely accepted and recognized solutions to protect our people and planet.
We have to date, implemented a combination of strategic options to include policies for emission-reduction technologies and practices, economic incentives, addressing factors that are related to overall development issues [e.g. political stability, market development, education, income and poverty levels] and application of regulatory measures, and standards.
In the last year the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards augmented its standards portfolio by adopting a suite of standards as practical tools in addressing and mitigating environmental impacts.
The adoptions included standards for environmental management and performance evaluation, guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions and combating land degradation, energy management and standards related to the development and use of new energy efficient technologies and renewable energy sources.
Running concurrently, are a number of regional projects with major environmental significance for the Caribbean and Saint Lucia. These include:
- The CARICOM Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (CREEBC), with the accompanying Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for Buildings.
- Strengthening of the Regional Quality Infrastructure in the Caribbean in the Areas of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (R3E) including Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling Programme (ES&L).
The aforementioned CROSQ projects are being piloted in Saint Lucia under the coordination of the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards.
These projects are high value interventions which will aid in our efforts to address climate change and meet critical United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG’s) for Saint Lucia. Indeed, as a pilot country, Saint Lucia has done extensive work in its participation in the work programme for the development and adoption of standards for the building code and for energy efficiency labelling.
To date stakeholders in the retail and manufacturing sectors have been part of a series of consultations with the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards in the preparation for the implementation of the energy efficiency labelling project.
Energy efficiency labelling standards will ensure that the information in relation to the energy cost of a particular product becomes more visible and measurable to the consumer. This will enable consumers to make informed decisions when making a purchase as this will take into account the relative energy efficiency of a product compared to other similar products. Labelling standards also aim to stimulate innovation in energy-efficient and climate-friendly products and technologies.
I can also announce that in addition to standards and regulations for energy efficiency, a significant number of standards which support practices aimed at reducing deforestation, improving land and farm management practices and waste management are providing clarity to the combination of options for mitigating and adapting to environmental conditions that can threaten our planet.
As I stated from the outset, as a small island developing state, there are factors we can ill afford to ignore. Factors such as geography (low lying islands), climate (influenced by higher ocean temperatures) and economic makeup (developing economies reliant primarily on agriculture, natural resources and tourism) that make us very vulnerable to environmental conditions. Right before our eyes the phenomenon of climate change impacts is unfolding, with rising air and water temperatures, increase in frequency and severity of weather events, such as the scale of flooding, coastal erosion and increasing incidence of vector borne diseases. It is clear from these observations and occurrences, that we must seek every solution and do our part to protect ourselves and the planet by extension.
This is our planet, this is our country; the immense consequence of environmental impacts, ranging from climate change to deforestation present a threat and a challenge of great magnitude to future development, peace and prosperity of all countries and in particular island states like Saint Lucia.
I am encouraged by our progress as a nation, the standards development agenda has kept pace with the threats and the onus is on us to use the standards that have been developed in these key areas of environmental protection to address the myriad of environmental concerns.
There is still a lot to be done, but the capacity building to date is remarkable and this is the opportune time to say thank you to all of those who have been working tirelessly to make the planet safer for us and the future generation.
I wish to extend a sincere thank you to the people of Saint Lucia and the volunteers on the technical committees, who have contributed to the development of our national standards.
Let me therefore wish you a Happy World Standards Day 2020. I thank you.