By Byron Mutingwende
Dr Eve Gadzikwa has proved to be the shining light and a source of inspiration for women in leadership not only in Zimbabwe but on the continent and worldwide.
Dr Gadzikwa is the current and first female President of the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. She has enjoyed an illustrious professional career, which spans over 25 years in the public and private sectors.
Eve was appointed to her current executive position as Director General and Board Company Secretary for the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) in September 2008. During her tenure at the helm of SAZ, Eve has led a diverse team of technical professionals and has represented her organisation with distinction on national, regional and international platforms.
The hardworking paragon of inspiration has established broad contacts in government, private sector and civil society on issues relating to Standards, Conformity Assessment, Corporate Governance and Business Ethics. Eve is qualified and experienced medical pathology laboratory scientist (Bacteriologist) and has extensive Proficiency Testing experience. Eve is a Certified Coach Practitioner (CCF Canada). She is credited for leading the establishment of the National Standardisation Strategy.
Eve’s qualifications include a Masters of Business Administration (Nottingham Trent Business School (UK), a Graduate Diploma in Marketing Management (IMM SA) and she is an experienced medical pathology laboratory scientist (Bacteriologist) and has extensive Proficiency Testing experience. Eve is a Certified Coach Practitioner (CCF Canada).
ZIMBABWE NATIONAL STANDARDIZATION STRATEGY 2008-2018
The multilateral trade agreements making The World Trade Organisation / Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO/TBT) Agreement defines a Standards as ‘A document approved by a recognised body that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for products and their related processes or production methods, with which compliance is not mandatory.
The application of standards leads to the production of goods and delivery of services that meet internationally recognised standards. This removes barriers to trade and allows organisations to export their products and services, accessing
international markets. In this global economy, standardisation is a fundamental aspect that enables organisation to have a common trade language. Standards are therefore an important tool for achieving sustainable economic development and growth. The role of standards in trade facilitation is now recognised as evidenced by the various special provision for the development of standards in line with Good Standardisation Principles of transparency, openness, impartiality and consensus, effectiveness and relevance, coherence and process approach. SAZ is guided by these principles in its standards development facilitation role. The development and implementation of standards at national level for the
benefit of a country requires careful consideration in order to fully exploit the potential benefits of standardisation which include:
– Optimum solutions to repetitive problems
– Communication, information exchange
– Interchangeability, interoperability
– Facilitation of market access and trade
– Basis for assurance and the verification of (quality) claims
– Technology transfer and knowledge sharing
– Protection of safety, health, property, the environment
– Supporting network effects and the value of interconnected devices
– Basis for regulations and contracts
The key output areas of standardisation are to impact the following:
– Consumer Protection
– Trade facilitation
In order to benefit from standardisation, standards must exist at national level for
economic growth, competitiveness, responsible business conduct and social
aspects of life, which are all prerequisites for economic turnaround. The
International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) initiative under its ISO 2016-2020
Strategy Plan aims to assist Development Countries to exploit the full value of
standards through the establishment of appropriate National Standardization
A National Standardisation Strategy
A National Standardisation Strategy (NSS) includes the national standardisation
plan, and additionally the main results of the assessment of national economic,
social and other needs that have resulted in the identification of the required
standards in the plan. Put simply, a NSS is a list of standards to be developed and
implemented within a defined time plan by a nation, that will support sustainable
International Standards as a vehicle for Sustainable Development Goals
Recently, Dr Eve Gadzikwa presented on the nexus between the Sustainable Development Goals and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Standards at the “Pathways for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation” conference organised by the Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ) in collaboration with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe with the kind support of the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).
Zimbabwe is facing a number of challenges that need collaboration since without collective and coordinated national efforts people risk starvation.
“We live in a dynamic world of changes, so profound and rapid that no organisation or country can stand alone or in isolation. The world and Zimbabwe’s interlinked threats and challenges require everyone to share responsibility and contribute to a common vision, hence Zimbabwe’s interest in supporting and promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and leveraging on International Standards. International standards can be used as a pillar for promoting sustainable development goals. Government, industry and consumers jointly benefit from implementing standards to promote economic, social and environmental sustainability,” Dr Gadzikwa said.
She said future growth and transformation of economies requires long-term focused qualitative and quantitative modifications in industrial infrastructure. Industrialisation will need to be focused on competitiveness, ease of doing business, enhanced quality of products that will be able to compete internationally. International support and capacity building can play an important role in this effort.
“It is also vitally important in this context to cultivate effective multi-stakeholder partnerships that will bring together all major players. The implementation of SDGs and Standards for industrial development processes is a joint responsibility of governments, development agencies, national and international development finance institutions, the private sector, civil society and institutions of higher learning all of which must play a part.”
Dr. Gadzikwa also touched on the role of standardisation in fighting corruption. Below is her contribution:
THE ROLE OF STANDARDS IN FIGHTING CORRUPTION
It would be remiss of me as ARSO President, which is the continental standardisation organisation formed in 1977 by AU and UNECA, not to highlight the role of standards in fighting bribery and corruption. The African Union declared 2018 as the African year of Anti-Corruption – “Winning the fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation. As the National Standards Body, we adopted the ISO 37001 as the standard to fight corruption. This is in-line with SDG 16 Peace, Justice And Strong Institutions “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” This standard compliments the other standards and allows organisations to put in place supportive measures to fight bribery and corruption which has become a major stumbling block to sustainable development. The anti-bribery standard reflects international good practice and can be used in all jurisdictions. The standard specifies the implementation by the organisation of policies, procedures and controls which are reasonable and proportionate according to the bribery risks the organisation faces. The standard is designed to instil an anti-bribery culture within an organisation and assist it in implementing appropriate controls.
Supporting the efforts to effectively contribute to the SDGs and measuring the progress in achieving targets requires robust quality infrastructure systems with all the building blocks in place: standardisation, metrology, accreditation and conformity assessment in particular testing, certification, inspection services.
The institutions and services of QI provide businesses, policymakers and other stakeholders with a core of knowledge about ways of doing things and tools that can be operationalised to measure and assess almost any type of activity. This knowledge and tools help markets to function and governments to achieve regulatory mandates and objectives. The private sector, governments and the world community can use this infrastructure to disseminate and leverage knowledge, as well as to leverage various QI services to support actions that promote the sustainability (incl. SDGs).
Since 2015, governments around the world have proceeded to translate and mainstream the SDGs and targets into national sustainable development plans setting out what they will do. Some have started to report on the progress they have made. Countries must align their national SD priorities with what national capabilities and resources are needed for effective implementation. Among the requisite capabilities and resources is the technical infrastructure known as Quality infrastructure.
As was briefly explained QI institutions and services have a fundamental role to play to support this transformation – but they also need to be strengthened and expanded to meet a new set of requirements.
New (or existing and extended) requirements of this kind embedded in standards, regulations, codes of practice and other elements of the QI, can help consumers make informed choices, encourage innovation and, lead businesses and industries to take up appropriate new technologies and organisation methods improving current practices, and support public authorities in designing and implementing public policies aligned with the SDGs.
It is important for all countries and all stakeholders of sustainable development to be involved in this activity, to influence it and benefit from the knowledge and emerging innovations, which can be put to use to save lives, monitor pollution and climate change and help societies to advance on many of the other goals associated with sustainable development.