There is a wide diversity of international organizations (IO’s) involved in global standard-setting, including inter-governmental, trans-governmental and private. They all have specific mandates, expertise, and strengths, and are organized in diverse ways. In an interconnected world, effective international learning and cooperation can transform the ability of individual nations to make economic, social, and environmental progress.
International regulatory cooperation (IRC) allows lawmakers to leverage global expertise in meeting these goals and is a major focus for the work of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 2021, OECD published a landmark study highlighting the role of ASTM International in this landscape.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC's 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration and the issues APEC addresses.
Guest status grants ASTM:
The ability to attend APEC SCSC meetings and provide an update on ASTM's activities to the SCSC economy and observer delegates
The opportunity to participate in a separately held APEC events, including joint activities with other organizations,
The ability to join specific discussions regarding an APEC SCSC meeting agenda item.
In November 2022, ASTM was approved by the APEC economies as a Guest Organization within the Subcommittee on Standards and Conformity. To receive this status, ASTM was required to successfully demonstrate compliance with three criteria:
Relevance of ASTM’s expertise to the issues addressed in the forum
ASTM’s capacity to make pertinent contributions to the work of the forum
A demonstrated interest in the APEC region and the issues APEC addresses Partner status grants ASTM
The ability to attend APEC SCSC meetings and provide an update on its activities to the SCSC economy and observer delegate
The opportunity to make presentations on APEC-related activities and to comment on and join the discussion
During the 2023 US host year, ASTM will implement a self-funded project on Assisting Policy Makers with Mitigation and Prevention of Plastics Pollution – Standards as a Resource for the Policy Framework.
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, advances economic development and improves the lives of people by encouraging the growth of the private sector in developing countries. IFC applies its financial resources, technical expertise, global experience, and innovative thinking to help their partners overcome financial, operational, and other challenges.
In September 2022, ASTM and the IFC concluded 18 months of collaboration on personal protective equipment (PPE). Through an MoU signed in March 2020, ASTM, working cooperatively with its members and MoU partners in Jordan and Viet Nam, delivered eleven technical sessions related to PPE, sanitizers, and related topics such as additive manufacturing, good laboratory practice and sustainability.
Combined with the technical initiatives was a series of 12 procedural sessions. They were arranged as part of ASTM’s routine capacity building for MoU partners. Both program series were opened to all ASTM MoU partners, routinely engaged between 20 and 80 participants from several nations and were well received based on feedback provided in post-event evaluations.
Beyond the webinar programs, the collaboration was successful in terms of related actions.
Other success indicators include the adoption of three ASTM International PPE standards by the Jordanian Standards and Metrology Organization (JSMO).
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is an innovative and independent U.S. foreign assistance agency created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004. MCC provides time-limited grants promoting economic growth, reducing poverty, and strengthening institutions.
The Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire Transport Project comprises two activities designed to improve efficiency in the transport of people and goods, increase the integration between transport systems, and improve road safety and pavement surface conditions in Abidjan along the major transport arteries.
ASTM is currently working in collaboration with the North Central Superpave Center in Lafayette Indiana to provide training to a visiting team of civil engineers (from Côte d'Ivoire) in 2023, specifically in the areas of soil-cement modification and Superpave mix design methodology.
The Standards Alliance was announced by USAID in November 2012 as a new funding facility designed to provide capacity-building assistance to developing countries, specifically related to implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement. The Standards Alliance involves collaboration with
U.S. private sector partners
U.S. government experts, and
USAID eligible countries and regions, including Latin America, Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and Indo-Pacific
A key goal of the Standards Alliance is to help increase the capacity of developing countries to implement accepted international best practices to reduce instances of poor quality and unsafe products, services, and infrastructure. Project activities will help developing countries prevent and remove non-tariff barriers, and stimulate economic growth, while also preserving and expanding markets for U.S. businesses.
The Standards Alliance is managed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
ASTM and the American Petroleum Institute (API) are working under the Standards Alliance to conduct a three-year project (2021-2023) focused on harmonizing petroleum test methods in West Africa.
In March 2022, two participants from each of four countries, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, participated in the workshop in Ghana. A second successful Workshop was held in July, 2022 in Nigeria.
A workshop was held in Dakar, Senegal in March 2023 that included meeting with public and private stakeholders in Senegal as well as a tour of the Senegalese Refinery and a private petroleum testing laboratory. A Study Tour to the U.S. to attend the meetings of ASTM Committee D02 on Petroleum Products, Liquid Fuels, and Lubricants in June 2023 was also held.
ASTM participated in a Clean Renewable Fuels Workshops Program at the invitation of Pivot Clean Energy, a nonprofit coalition that works to accelerate the transition to clean bioethanol for household energy around the world in November 2022. As a result of the engagement, ASTM signed an MoU with the Agence Malienne de Normalisation et de Promotion de la Qualité (AMANORM), the National Standards Body of Mali. Plans for future events in Mozambique are under discussion.
United Nations (UN)
The United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945. Currently composed of 193 Member States, the UN, and its work, are guided by the purposes and principles of its founding Charter. It remains a place where all the world's nations can gather, discuss common problems, and find shared solutions that benefit all of humanity.
The UN Charter provides arrangements for consultations with non-governmental organizations. Consultative status is granted by ECOSOC upon recommendation of the Committee on NGOs. Special consultative status is given to NGOs with special competence in, and explicitly concerned with, some of the fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC.
ASTM International was granted special consultative status with the ECOSOC in 2021. The consultative status provides ASTM access to the ECOSOC, its many subsidiary bodies, the various mechanisms of the United Nations, ad-hoc processes, and special events organized by the President of the General Assembly
ASTM International has more than ten years of collaboration with other UN agencies and organizations such as ICAO, UN ECE, the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, the UN Environment Program, and the WHO. Its standards relate to 12 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, contributing to sustainable cities and communities, innovation and infrastructure, good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, and climate action. As a signatory to the UN Gender Declaration of May 2019, ASTM has confirmed its commitment to improving gender balance in standards development activities and ensuring that the content of standards is gender responsive.
ASTM participates in-person and virtually at programs held at the UN Headquarters, and in other locations, due to its diverse engagement, paired with special consultative status.
ASTM actively engages by providing oral or written comments and has done so recently on the Evolving Relationship between NGOs and the United Nations and the Briefing of the General Assembly on Science-based Evidence in Support of Sustainable Solutions on the Economics of Water.
Planning is underway for further engagement with the UN.
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