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Four Decades of Technical Cooperation

In 1963 PTB launched a program to support the national metrology institute of Argentina. Since that time, PTB supports developing and threshold countries to establish their own infrastructure for Metrology, Standardization, Testing and Quality, Accreditation and Certification (MSTQ). The projects which are funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) are part of a program which focuses on the global fight against poverty. The PTB projects help the project partners to increase their competitiveness, to gain access to export markets, and so, to improve their economic situation.

Since the EXPO 2000, governmental and non-governmental institutions of the German Development Cooperation have presented joint initiatives and initiatives of their own under the One World logo.

What initially started as a promotion program to set up national metrology institutes has meanwhile developed into a comprehensive concept aiming to create viable MSTQ infrastructures. This is the only way to effectively support economic and social development. Sustained development aid also implies the creation of the prerequisites for participation in international trade. The development of trade is considered to be a key to reducing poverty. The problems hindering access to the markets of industrialized countries for developing countries are, however, still numerous. In addition to customs duties and fixed quotas for their products, technical trade barriers in particular must be overcome. Proof of compliance with regulations and standards regarding health, sanitary, environmental or safety requirements must be furnished. In the producer countries, such proofs of conformity often fail, because the required metrology, standardization, testing and quality services are not offered or confidence in the certificates is lacking. This is where the PTB projects start: In addition to establishing the required technical infrastructure, the project measures also cover fostering the awareness of political decision-makers and the qualification of technical personnel.

Experience shows that success can scarcely be achieved on a short term. On the long path towards international recognition of certificates, accreditations by German accreditation bodies are helpful and necessary as long as the partner institutions are not in a position to fulfil the international requirements.

In view of the fact that food commodities are important export products for developing countries, development of metrology in chemistry is of particular importance – a task which also represents a new key area of activity at PTB. Projects which promote regional cooperation to support the realization of regional markets are also gaining importance. At present, such projects are being implemented in Central and South America, in West and South Africa and in Asia.

Contact at PTB:

Phone: +49-531-592-0