Webinar discusses relevance of standards and testing in fighting COVID-19

The first ever virtual panel organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), entitled ‘Standards and Testing in the Fight Against COVID-19’, was a full success. The webinar attracted a truly global audience; a total of 376 people attended from 64 countries worldwide, engaged in the discussion, and actively participated by posing interesting questions to the panelists; they themselves joined the discussion from six countries on three different continents, namely Europe, Africa and Asia. The virtual event, held on 17 April 2020, was the second within a special series of webinars organized by the Department of Trade, Investment and Innovation (TII) within the framework of its Knowledge Hub, an interactive online platform which serves to create and disseminate knowledge related to the three thematic areas of the department.

The esteemed group of panelists was composed of representatives from UNIDO, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Network on Quality Infrastructure (INetQI). Likewise, attendees were representatives of a wide range of industries, with vested interest in quality infrastructure (QI), such as the national quality infrastructure institutions, energy, manufacturing, food industry, education, international organizations, state and local government, medical, biotech, pharmaceutical and consulting. The webinar garnered a lot of attention, thanks to the very insightful discussion of issues that are both very relevant and timely.

The COVID-19 pandemic is no doubt confronting each of us with unprecedented challenges, with no country being immune to its impacts on their healthcare systems, their economies and societies. Within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and against the backdrop of promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID), QI has and will continue to play a significant role in the fight against the global pandemic. Standards and testing ensure that products, including medical equipment and personal protection equipment (PPE), is fit-for-purpose. Standards, further, ensure that there are business continuity and recovery plans in place to enable organizations at all levels, whether SMEs or multinationals, to continue with the production of essential goods and the provision of essential services while ensuring their workers are safe and stay healthy. The pandemic has catalyzed a new era, where now, more than ever, QI institutions need to show the relevance of their services both during and after the crisis, and advocate the importance of standardization and testing.

UNIDO is at the forefront of providing technical assistance in the area of quality and standards to countries worldwide, thereby supporting the global fight against COVID-19. UNIDO will continue its interactive series of webinars on other relevant topics in the context of ‘quality and standards in the fight against COVID-19’, focusing on relevant topics such as the role of business continuity, conformity assessment, auditing and certification.

All related events will be announced on the TII Knowledge Hub. For more information, please refer to: https://tii.unido.org   

 64 countries attended the event:

 Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, UAE, UK, USA, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Zambia