BEIRUT, 15 June 2011 – UNIDO, the United Nations agency tasked with promoting industrial development, today launched the first Arabic version of the guidebook “Making Private Standards Work for You”.
The publication was presented in Beirut by UNIDO Representative in Lebanon, Khaled El Mekwad, under the auspices of the President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Lebanon, Mohammad Choucair.
The guidebook was funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and developed in collaboration with the Dutch Centre for Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI).
Private standards, also known as business values, norms, ethics, codes, principles or morals, are considered to be one of the ways of promoting social development and environmental sustainability in global value chains. Some estimates suggest that more than 1,000 codes of conduct and management systems exist. But most companies in developing countries do not have much tangible information.
Participants at the event included Dutch Ambassador to Lebanon, Hero de Boer, and the Chargé d’Affaires of Norway, Mai Tonheim. Both of them commended the cooperation of their respective countries with UNIDO for developing a practical guide, which will be of use for policy makers, producers, consumers and NGO’s.
Muge Dolun of UNIDO’s Trade Capacity Building Branch introduced the guide and presented the information available on private standards, outlining a strategic approach for suppliers in Lebanon.
The Economic Researcher from the department of Economic Studies and Industrial Development Department at the Ministry of Industry, Manal Yassine, together with the Acting Director General of the Lebanese Standards Institution, LIBNOR, Lena Dragham, presented major challenges the country faces in relation to standards and agreements. Lena Dragham stressed the need to elaborate standards for Lebanon’s garments, footwear and furniture sectors.
Khaled El Mekwad highlighted the growing importance of standards for local producers as well as for implementing national legislation. He said that the Arabic edition of the guidebook will be disseminated in other Middle East countries.