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As part of the Finnish funded Aid for Trade action plan the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) gave a five day-long training to national trainers on social responsibility (SR) starting from Tuesday, February 18.
The training involved an in-depth look at ISO 26,000 which provides guidance on how businesses and organizations can operate in a socially responsible way, and its applicability. It addresses issues like human rights, labor standards, environmental management, consumer protection and organizational governance. Jonathon Hanks, international expert on SR from South Africa gave the training.
In September 2013, the Finnish government signed an agreement with ISO to carry out a two-year project to strengthen national standardization infrastructures targeted at 8 developing countries.
Out of those, the current training was given to 16 representatives from Ethiopia, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda. The remaining four are Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
ISO 26,000 was launched in 2010 following five years of negotiations between many different stakeholders across the world. Representatives from government, non-governmental organizations, industries, consumer groups and labor organizations around the world were involved in its development.
Almaz Kahsay, director general of Ethiopian Standards Agency, stated that the demand for socially responsible behavior is growing rapidly in Ethiopia. This is especially prominent where the ecosystem, work environment and communities are concerned, she said.
Mohamud Ahmed Gass, State Minister of Science and Technology (MoST), said that this training will help Ethiopia achieve sustainable development and integrate socially responsible behaviors into organizations.
Founded in 1970, the Ethiopian Standard Agency (ESA) is the sole National Standards Body (NSB) in Ethiopia. Since its formation ESA has undergone several structural changes.
The latest restructuring occurred in 2010 when the former Quality and Standards Authority of Ethiopia (QSAE) split into four; Ethiopian Standards Agency (ESA), Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise, Ethiopian Metrology Institute and Ethiopian Accreditation Bureau. All of them operate under the auspices of the Ministry of Science and Technology.