Compliance support infrastructure and services - UNIDO

Compliance support infrastructure and services - UNIDO

Information dated: 2017

Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation

E-mail: tii [at] unido.org

Quality Infrastructure

To access global markets, exporters must prove compliance with international standards and technical regulations. The necessary institutional infrastructure to govern compliance-related issues includes: a metrology body; a standards body; chemical, microbiology and other testing laboratories; inspection services; a certification body for systems certifications; and an accreditation body.

In particular, UNIDO provides the following services for each compliance-related infrastructure:

Standardization bodies

  • Establishment or strengthening of existing standardization bodies by providing training, setting up sub- sectoral technical committees and pilot standards development exercises;
  • Promotion of the adoption of standards at national and regional level, and assistance for a country’s participation in regional and international standards-setting or harmonization forums and networks;
  • Assistance for the development of product conformity mark schemes;
  • Pilot projects for capacity building related to both product standards and systems standards, such as ISO 9000, ISO 14000, ISO 22000, SA 8000, and traceability.

Metrology (measurement) laboratories

• The establishment or strengthening of laboratory capacities for industrial and legal metrology capabilities covering measurement and calibration requirements in accordance with the manufacturing and export needs of the country. This support involves assisting in the physical set-up and start-up of laboratories, including upgrading measurement equipment, training technicians, providing assistance in networking, and participating in inter-laboratory comparisons, as well as providing support for accreditation.

Testing laboratories

  • The establishment, or strengthening to achieve international accreditation, of laboratory capacities for material and product testing, primarily for microbiological and chemical analysis, and secondarily for specialist laboratories for industrial sub-sectors with export potential;
  • Assistance in specifying testing and equipment requirements; technical support for the harmonization of testing procedures; training of staff, including assistance in networking and participating in proficiency testing schemes; and providing support for accreditation.

Accreditation bodies

  • The establishment or strengthening of accreditation bodies for the accreditation of system certifiers, inspection bodies and laboratories, and for the management of proficiency testing schemes;
  • Assistance to national accreditation bodies to obtain international recognition from the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) through pre-peer evaluation mechanisms in order to achieve multilateral recognition agreements so that the national accreditation has global acceptance and can facilitate market access.
Development of competent authorities for fish and horticulture exports

Competent authorities for fish and horticulture exports are in charge of inspecting products to be exported to the international markets at different stages (production, processing and distribution). Regulatory authorities in international markets requests that developing countries intending to export goods provide accurate and up-to-date information, as well as evidence of the procedures and controls used to inspect these products. UNIDO assists developing countries to establish and upgrade institutions and government bodies to become recognized competent authorities in the field of fish and horticulture.

Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI): Global Markets Capacity Building Programme

For owners of small- and medium-scale farms or businesses from developing countries, market opportunities often exist within formal supply chains where entry requirements are high. These small companies do not necessarily have access to the expertise, technical and financial resources to meet these requirements in terms of food safety.

Within the Global Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), UNIDO collaborates with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in developing Global Markets Capacity Building Programme, a comprehensive step-by-step programme that guides businesses through a continuous improvement process in their food safety management systems, thus facilitating local market access and creating mutual acceptance along the supply chain systems.

UNIDO participates in the GFSI Global Markets Technical Working Group, has developed a comprehensive step- by-step toolkit to guide small and/or less developed businesses as well as producers through a programme that will drive the continuous improvement process in food safety management systems and ultimately help them achieve certification against a GFSI-recognized Food Safety management scheme. This toolkit is drawn from the GFSI Guidance Document and based on the Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene, as well as a protocol to guide companies through the programme. The working group is comprised of food safety experts from inter- national organisations and retail, producer, manufacturing, foodservice and service provider companies.

Numerous programmes to test market readiness of the basic and intermediate level requirements have been successfully carried out all over the world, including Ukraine, Egypt, USA, Chile, Mexico, and China.


Labnetwork is a web-based tool that provides information to assist developing countries to rapidly access authorative information on laboratory development and accreditation. The portal covers laboratory design, development, management, maintenance and laboratory capabilities, and also provides existing laboratories with a road map to internationally recognized accreditation. The main topics covered are:

  • The WTO Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and their implications for developing countries;
  • Laboratory Accreditation guide with sample laboratory design, layouts and quality manuals;
  • Testing areas covered: Chemical, microbiology, metrology, textile and electrical with extensive technical details;
  • Reference materials
  • Proficiency Testing (PT): Contact details on PT providers and guidance on how to select PT agencies;
  • ISO 17025 standard: explanation and guidance on how to use this standard.

The contents of the portal are provided by UNIDO, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC); EPTIs (a network of 39 partner organizations from all continents, mostly national metrology institutes, testing institutes or accreditation bodies); COM- FAR , an international database for certified reference materials; the Bureau International des Poids et Measures (BIPM); the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations (WAITRO); and Vimta labs Ltd., a state of art testing laboratory in India.

Access to Labnetwork is free with online registration. The contents of the portal are available in English and Arabic with future plans for French and Spanish versions.

Quality infrastructure role in adopting energy efficiency measures

Metrology has a strong role to play in adopting energy efficiency measures, enabling developing countries to adopt cost-efficient measures and thereby facilitating their access to international markets. UNIDO is assisting countries such as China and Colombia to develop technical regulations and the necessary technical infrastructure to assess the conformity of processes and equipment under such regulations.

Conformity assessment (certification and accreditation) is a common element of many of the national schemes. Certification and accreditation are bound to be part of any policy framework supporting ISO 50001 and industrial energy efficiency implementation programme.

For energy efficiency measures, UNIDO is expanding its work on metrology, adding aspects of certification of both management systems as well as industrial equipment, to its technical cooperation activities.