13 September 2021— Pacific nations keen to improve the quality of goods and services and facilitate market access for their products have put standards and measurement systems under the spotlight this week, as part of the Pacific Islands Forum’s Pacific Quality Infrastructure (PQI) Initiative.
Pacific trade and marketing officials met virtually with key implementing partners, Standards Australia and the National Measurement Institute, Australia (NMIA), who are supporting the PQI implementation. Their support will include mentoring and capacity building and the establishment of regional committees with the aim of developing and harmonising standards and measurement and testing capabilities across the Pacific region.
The PQI Initiative focuses on strengthening quality infrastructure in the Pacific. A major first step in providing quality goods and services to markets is to introduce international best practices in developing and adopting standards towards the end goal of increasing trade competitiveness for all Pacific economies. The PQI Initiative will also deliver training in measurement and testing techniques and facilitate access to internationally recognised calibration and testing services. These activities will be complemented by quality promotion to raise awareness of the importance of Quality Infrastructure to the production of goods and services that satisfy safety, environmental and market demands.
“The PQI Initiative leverages the Pacific region’s strengths in collaborating as small island economies to address common challenges. Despite our distance from other regions, the Pacific Islands collectively have an abundance of unique products and services to offer the world, and this initiative will help facilitate access to global markets,” said Mr Zarak Khan, Director of Programmes and Initiatives at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
“We are pleased to have strong endorsement from all Forum Islands Ministers, as well as a robust group of partners including Standards Australia and the National Measurement Institute, Australia, to help us achieve our goals of people-centred development,” added Mr Khan.
“As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, Australia has a long-standing history of engagement with our Pacific neighbours. Standards Australia is pleased to be reinforcing this collaboration under the PQI Initiative,” said Adrian O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer at Standards Australia.
“Standards are essential in supporting and enhancing both national and regional safety and quality. We commend the Pacific Islands Forum for reigniting this important work and for partnering not just with Standards Australia but other members of the Australian Technical Infrastructure Alliance,” Mr O’Connell concluded.
NMIA’s CEO, Dr Bruce Warrington commented: “NMIA is pleased to support the PQI project as an implementation partner, together with Standards Australia. We look forward to working with our Pacific partners and PIFS on this important initiative to help reduce barriers to trade and increase regional economic resilience.” NMIA is a division of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy & Resources.
With a staged approach to address the various pillars of quality infrastructure, the first year PQI project will focus on standardisation, quality promotion, and metrology, and testing.–ENDS
About the PQI: The Pacific Islands Forum’s Pacific Quality Infrastructure Initiative began in October 2020, working to strengthen a demand-oriented quality infrastructure for developing Pacific nations, leading to better access to services that enhance trade competitiveness in the region. The overall objective is to generate change towards higher quality products and processes making products safer and more competitive on domestic and international markets. Funding partners to this Pacific-led initiative are the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), DFAT, the EU, and Germany through PTB, the National Metrology Institute of Germany.
The Forum’s PQI Coordinator is Dr Ulrich Diekmann.
Pacific Islands Forum: Lisa Williams-Lahari, Public Affairs, PH +640210642704 Email: Media@forumsec.org
Standards Australia: Samantha Smith, Communications Officer PH. +6102 9237 6021 Email: Samantha.Smith@standards.org.au
National Measurement Institute, Australia: Alicia Afuang, Communications Officer, PH: +61 425 293 965; Email: Alicia.Afuang@measurement.gov.au