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Pacific Islands programme supports standardisation

Standards New Zealand is leading a three-year Pacific programme to support improved standardisation for Pacific Island nations.

The upcoming PISC Forum hosted in Wellington will bring together delegates from across the Pacific region.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) have funded Standards New Zealand to undertake a three-year work programme to help build capability in standardisation and conformance for our Pacific Island neighbours. Initiatives include providing access to standards through our online library portal, hosting a Pacific Islands Standards Committee (PISC) forum, sponsoring delegates to attend locally hosted workshops, and creating e-learning content for ongoing learning.

The plan ahead

This year, we have partnered with PISC to deliver the workshops in conjunction with their regular forum to enable a larger delegation to benefit from a week-long event. This will allow Standards New Zealand to host around two dozen delegates from across the eighteen PISC member nations at a ‘Standards Week’ forum in Wellington later this year.

About PISC

Established in 2021, PISC predominately represents the distinct needs of smaller developing nations in the Pacific Islands, which are also likely to be those most heavily impacted by sea level rises anticipated with climate change. The need for economic development and climate resilience is a stark reality for them.

Members include the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, with New Zealand and Australia representing the largest nations in this group.

The ‘Pacific Island Standards Week’ offers an opportunity for discussion, learning and networking, and will include guest speakers from across New Zealand’s standards and conformance system, looking at industries of relevance and the solutions used across these. This is only the second such in-person gathering for this group who also commenced work on some regional standards development relating to the food and beverage sector and building sector.

Part of the bigger picture supporting Pacific nations

This standardisation capability building work is aligned to the New Zealand Government’s Pacific priorities, which include supporting economic development and trade for and with our Pacific neighbours through quality infrastructure and capability. Initiatives such as the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) focuses on dedicated development support from New Zealand and Australia to attract and increase investment and export opportunities in the Pacific. It specifically seeks a focus on designing, adopting, and applying technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment requirements and procedures to avoid unnecessary obstacles to trade and build trust and confidence in Pacific produced products, services and business enterprises.

Vashna Sahay, Standards New Zealand’s Access Solutions Manager, leading on the project says:

‘Improving capability for our neighbours can bring prosperity across the wider Pacific region. Nobody benefits from isolation or reinventing the wheel, and with solutions already in place and embedded within our industries there’s so much we can lead on. New Zealand is home to thousands of people from across the Pacific region and while we might be small on a global scale, we have much to offer, especially to our Pacific neighbours.’


Vashna Sahay, Access Solutions Manager


For many member nations, the responsibility of standards and conformance may fall under a wider portfolio for government representations, and often knowing who the best people to talk to and learn from comes only from these social in-person forums. So, the impact for the member nations can be far reaching.

Another important consideration is that many of the member nations are not members of international standards organisations like ISO (International Organization for Standardization) or IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). New Zealand has a mandate to engage and participate in global standardisation activity, forums and organisations under the Standards and Accreditation Act 2015, which ensures we remain abreast of updates and advancements that can impact our economy. Collaboration with Pacific nation focused initiatives means we can improve the economic and social prosperity of our closest trading partners so everybody is better off.

We will report on the event and the other initiatives as they develop in the months ahead.