The Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality (BBSQ) Executive Director Dr Renae Ferguson-Bufford was recently welcomed to the International Organization for Standardization DEVCO Chair’s Advisory Group for the 2023-2024 term. ISO’s efforts to assist developing countries are integrated into a five-year action plan, the implementation of which is monitored by DEVCO. The DEVCO Chair’s Advisory Group (CAG), which comprises 10 members, assists DEVCO in monitoring the implementation of that plan.
In a recent statement, Mrs Julia Bonner Douett, DEVCO Chair and Mr Sergio Mujica, ISO Secretary-General expressed confidence in Dr Ferguson-Bufford’s ability to serve on the CAG.
The statement reads: “The International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Policy Development Committee on developing country matters (DEVCO) is delighted to welcome Dr Renae Ferguson-Bufford as the Caribbean representative to the Chair’s Advisory Group (CAG).
“As the Executive Director of the Bahamas Bureau of Standards & Quality (BBSQ), and with her experience in both the not-for-profit and public sectors, Dr Ferguson-Bufford brings a wealth of knowledge to the CAG. Dr Ferguson-Bufford’s expertise of quality infrastructure (QI) systems, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement, as well as strategy and policy matters at the national, regional, and international levels will be of great value in furthering the objectives of the ISO Action Plan for developing countries 2021-2025.
“The DEVCO Secretariat looks forward to working together with Dr Ferguson-Bufford to achieve ISO’s vision of making people’s lives easier, safer and better by leveraging the power of international standards in support of developing countries.”
As the CAG’s Caribbean representative, Dr Ferguson-Bufford joins nine other standardization experts—seven developing country members (one per region) and three members from developed countries. In addition to monitoring the implementation of the ISO Action Plan for developing countries 2021-2025, the CAG also oversees the DEVCO Working Groups and prepares the agenda for DEVCO’s annual plenary meetings. Dr Ferguson-Bufford participated in her first DEVCO CAG meeting on March 22, 2023.
“During the meeting, we discussed opportunities to support developing countries in joining ISO, priority areas for standards development, and the ISO toolkit for supporting standards and policy makers. Topics covered included trade, capacity building, conformity assessment, and key areas such as climate change, food safety, energy, environmental management, digital strategies, and gender actions. Each member was allowed to participate, making the meeting both informative and engaging,” said Dr Ferguson-Bufford.
She added: “As a newly afforded member of the DEVCO CAG, I am committed to dedicating all my professional endeavors to the necessary and laudable mission of developing and maintaining standards throughout the Caribbean and other developing countries.
“My experience as Executive Director of the Bahamas Bureau of Standards & Quality has prepared me well for this role. In The Bahamas before 2006, standards and quality were largely idiosyncratic or even patented to specific institutions, companies or individuals. The Bureau was established to create, apply, and monitor these essential foundations of development. When I joined the Bureau in 2012, I continued to support its mission of establishing and maintaining standards for all goods, services, practices and processes in order to protect the health and safety of all Bahamians, safeguard the environment and enhance the economy of The Bahamas.”
Significant milestones of Dr Ferguson-Bufford’s leadership in recent years include the following:
● Fostering regional cooperation through the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ)
● Implementing the “Enhancing the National Quality Infrastructure of The Bahamas through the Establishment of the Metrology Laboratory” project. The 24-month initiative is financed by the European Union (EU) under the CARIFORUM-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Standby Facility for Capacity Building, which is managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
● Launching Stakeholder Engagement Meetings throughout The Bahamas.
● Signing the Collaboration & License Agreement between BBSQ and Underwriters Laboratories.
● Chairman of CROSQ (CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality) 2019-2021 term which provided The Bahamas with an opportunity to be an Observer on the ISO Council, thus raising the country’s profile and spotlighting our serious pursuit of quality development.
● Spoke at the 42nd ISO General Assembly, Cape Town, South Africa in September 2019
● Organized National Forum 2019: Standards Facilitating Trade