Products today are integrating more and more advanced technologies and sustainability criteria into their design. Soft toys with computer chips, medical devices that can assist in operations and learn from past uses, repurposed plastic bottles assembled to form a new, different product… each pose particular challenges when considering compliance and security. Government compliance agencies need to adapt and follow these trends in order to ensure a smooth flow of trade across borders. This implies adapting new methods of analysis for market surveillance, defining new criteria for risk management, and ensuring that the standards and education of these follow the trend.
The UNECE Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies (WP.6) follows this evolution closely and will convene forum meetings of all of its subgroups from 1 to 10 June. The Advisory Group on Market Surveillance will delve into current best practices in market surveillance, especially ensuring that compliance continually evolves with the complexity of products. Experts will also discuss the cooperation in this area with customs and border control agencies to ensure that there are no delays in border crossings. The Group of Experts on Risk Management in Regulatory Systems will discuss the challenges linked with cybersecurity and artificial intelligence as well as further study how to adapt existing recommendations to support a transition to a circular economy.
As part of the UNECE WP.6 Forum, focused interest will be given to gender-responsive standards. A launch event to the Forum on 1 June will present the achievements in this area and take a look at what is further needed to conceptualize, build buy-in and roll out gender action plans. This will specifically support the network of gender focal points established through the Declaration for Gender-Responsive Standards and Standards Development. The group will pursue their discussions with exchanges of best practices in gender action plans followed by a discussion on the theme of digitalization, the environment and the importance of gender in creating a fair and sustainable future for all.
The UNECE WP6. Forum will also underline the importance of education on standardization, where it will propose the establishment of a focal point network of academic experts who can implement the relevant guidance on education on standardization, bring back experiences on this implementation and help to develop new modules. One such new module following the trends on environmental issues will also be proposed for inclusion in the model educational programme on standardization.
The Forum will take stock of the achievements to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and notably in the area of the circular economy. It will also delve into digital and green transformations for sustainable development, and hence offer concrete contributions to the two cross-cutting priorities topics of UNECE’s 69th and 70th Commission sessions.
Organizations participating in the UNECE WP.6 Forum include UN Women, the World Trade Organization, the World Customs Organization, the International Organization for Standardization, the International Electrotechnical Commission, the World Intellectual Property Organization, the United States State Department, many standards development bodies and many market surveillance authorities.
The WP.6 Forum will be held virtually (the launch event on 1 June will be hybrid with possibility to participate in person in Geneva). Registration, which is open to the public, is necessary via the event webpages. For more information, visit the WP.6 website.