Capacity Building for National TBT Structures in the Gambia

Posted on: July 08, 2014

im

This Project on Capacity Building for National TBT Related Structures in The Gambia is the first of its kind under the ACP-EU TBT Programme. While the ultimate beneficiary are exporters in The Gambia, the implementation of the Project was targeted at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTIE) that has the overall responsibility for the country’s trade and competition policies. The MOTIE takes the lead role in trade negotiations in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Project aimed at strengthening the capacity of national institutions in Gambia for complying with requirements of the WTO TBT Agreement and included:

  • A needs-assessment of the national TBT related structures in The Gambia;
  • Trainings of staff from the National Notification Authority (NNA) in the (MOTIE) and the National Enquiry Point (NEP) in The Gambia Standards Bureau (TGSB) on notifications, information issues and dispute settlement under the TBT Agreement;
  • Training of  members on technical committees in priority sectors (food, agriculture, electro technology) on the elaboration and adoption of technical regulations and standards; and
  • An awareness-raising workshop on the WTO TBT Agreement dedicated to key stakeholders in The Gambia

The execution of the Project first involved a rapid needs-assessment exercise undertaken in February 2014 specifically to identify the country’s current capacity, gaps thereof and needs to fully implement the TBT Agreement. It focused on national TBT-related structures in terms of human resource and, to some extent, other complementary capacity requirements in The Gambia. Guided by the outcomes of the needs assessment, the Consultant team contributed to the capacity development through hands-on training and mentoring of officials from the country’s NNA and NEP, and members of the technical committees. Specifically, the trainings aimed at:

  • Increasing the capacity of the NNA in the MOTIE and the NEP in the TGSB for enhanced implementation of the TBT Agreement. Through hands-on training and mentoring, nine (9) officials from the TGSB (TBT NEP) and the MOTIE (TBT NNA) were trained on the nature, provisions and scope of the TBT Agreement relating to the transparency; management (making, submitting, searching and receiving) of notifications; handling comments from other WTO Members on notifications made by The Gambia.
  • Strengthening the capacity of members of the technical committees for the development of technical regulations and standards. Fifteen (15) participants from the TGSB technical committees representing several authorities and the private sector benefited. The participants selected and agreed on risk areas (namely: electrical installations, packaged/bottled water; fishery products; import/export of plant material, hygienic processes of food entities; and legal metrology) for which to: Assess risks (RA) and regulatory impact (RIA); Explore existing international standards or ongoing international standardisation and propose appropriate government intervention (if any).

As platform for the project work, a virtual “classroom” was established (http://tbt-gambia.blogspot.se/; restricted to the participants). Under this virtual classroom approach, questions could be raised to instructors; and project information could be exchanged within and between the team members to enable them to learn from each other. .The results of the exercise in six risky areas were presented and discussed at a follow-up session in May 2014 Mission to The Gambia by the TBT Programme experts. During this follow up event, participants received feedback from the instructors and from their fellow teams.

The May 2104 Mission to The Gambia also involved a well attended awareness-raising workshop on 20th and 21st of May 2014 targeted at national stakeholders particularly the private sector, followed by the presentation and discussion of the Project findings on 22 May 2014, with coverage on:

  • Overview and discussions about the country’s trade structure (commodity composition and market destinations);
  • Understanding of the TBT/SPS Agreements and key provisions of the TBT Agreement notably transparency;
  • Opportunities and constraints for Gambian export by the use of TBT enquiry points in other countries to map technical requisites for export; and
  • Identification and prioritising areas for potential interventions in the future

Overall, the Project immensely enhanced the knowledge and understanding of stakeholders, business community in The Gambia regarding requirements, process and benefits of implementing the TBT Agreement. The Project enabled and enhanced the interaction between the public and private sector stakeholders on provisions, benefit, current capacity gaps and anticipated constraints to the implementation of the TBT Agreement in The Gambia, and what needs to be done by whom to address such capacity impediments and recommendations regarding areas for future intervention.

TBT Programme, Avenue de Tervuren 32, box 31 - 1040 Brussels - Belgium - Tel: +32-2 739 00 00 - Fax: +32-2 739 00 09 - e-mail: contact@acp-eu-tbt.org - www.acp-eu-tbt.org