Rwanda Standards Board

Rwanda Launched the Cook Stoves Testing Laboratory as the Country Celebrated the World Standards Day 2020

Rwanda Launched the Cook Stoves Testing Laboratory as the Country Celebrated the World Standards Day 2020

Minister of Environment launching the Cook Stove testing laboratory

On 14th October 2020, Rwanda joined the rest of the world to celebrate the World Standards Day 2020 in the ceremony that was officiated by Honorable Dr. Jeanne D'Arc Mujawamariya Minister of Environment.

Every year, on 14th October, the members of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) join forces to celebrate the World Standards Day. This date marks the day in the year 1946, when delegates from 25 countries gathered in London for the first time and decided to create an international organization focused on facilitating standardization. The first World Standards Day was celebrated in 1970s.

The celebration of the World Standards Day (WSD) signifies the means of paying honour to the joint efforts of the numerous experts across the world that voluntarily develop the technical agreements that are issued as international, regional or national standards. It is also celebrated to raise awareness among regulators, industry and consumers as to the importance of standardization to the global economy.

This year the World Standards Day was celebrated under the international theme “Protecting the planet with Standardsandthe national theme read: “Achieving Sustainable Use of Natural Resources with Standards”. Life on earth, a finite vessel of life in the vastness of our solar system, depends on energy coming from the sun. However, over the last century human and large-scale industrial activities of our modern civilization have added to the earth’s natural greenhouse gases. They negatively impact our climate and with its all forms of life. At the same time, rapid population growth and broad urbanizationcall for the responsible use of limited resources.

Minister and Ms. Juliet Kabera, DG of Rwanda Environment Management Authority and RSB BoD Members witness a demonstration inside the laboratory

Cooking stove under test

To reduce human impact on our planet, there is need for the political will, concrete action and the right tools. Standards are one of such tools that provide sustainable solutions to technical challenges that we are facing nowadays; they help to share expertise and expert know-how broadly within developed and developing countries.

To celebrate this year’s World Standards Day, RSB in collaboration with national and international stakeholders including the Ministry of Infrastructure, Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), African Organization for Standardization (ARSO) and American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) organized the “Standards Week” where key government institutions, business owners comprising construction, energy and mining companies, solid waste handlers, transport companies and the general public were provided with messages to protect the environment through natural resource management and pollution reduction using national, regional and/or international standards. Standards published each year by national, regional and international standards organizations help to protect the planet through enabling the control of waste, energy management, prepare the ground for renewable energy usage and integration into the power grid and pave the way for circular economy processes, including the recycling and re-use of materials among others. They also facilitate the use of less polluting forms of transport, such as electric vehicles or hydrogen-powered trains and trams to reduce air emissions.

The national celebration of the World Standards Day 2020 was presided over by Hon. Dr. Jeanne D'Arc Mujawamariya Minister of Environment who officiated the launch of new Cook Stove testing laboratory established at Rwanda Standards Board (RSB). This laboratory was established by RSB in partnership with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA)

under the support of World Bank and the Nordic Development Fund.

DG MURENZI Raymond addresses the celebration participants

In his remarks, Mr. MURENZI Raymond, Director General of RSB observed that this year's theme to celebrate the World Standards Day2020 effectively fitted Rwanda's vision to protect the environment and efficiently use natural resources. He recalled that there is no other better way to protect the planet than protecting the environment, promoting green building and energy efficiency.

In the Day's keynote address, Hon Dr. Jeanne D’Arc commended the progress registered by the country in standardization and remarked that it is important that this year’s focus was put on protecting the environment with standards. She added that celebrating the World Standards Day 2020 came at an opportune time when Rwanda established the first Cook Stoves testing laboratory. The Minister and noted that the laboratory is very important in promoting the use of quality cook stoves, as everyone use cook stoves in households and testing is the only way to assure manufactured cook stoves are quality and they protect users from pollution.

According to the National Strategy for Transformation (NST-1), the Government of Rwanda promotes pellets and briquettes as one of the interventions to reduce biomass dependence from 83% to 42% household by 2024. The Rwanda Energy Policy (2015) and National Energy Sector Strategic Plan (2018/2019-2023/2024), recognize that the use of biomass energy has potentially serious environmental implications and may be non-renewable unless properly managed. The policy reckons that Biomass energy will remain dominant for cooking, other household uses and small-scale industries.

Private sector led efforts are contributing to distribute cook stoves that are up to three times more efficient than the traditional 3-stone stove, and can reduce biomass consumption by anywhere between 68-94%. These efforts are significantly impacting health of users due to limited air pollutions and social benefits of transitioning to charcoal, it is likely to increase the pressure on the limited wood supplies. The Government target is to at least promote more than 250,000 households per year across the tier ladder from using traditional cooking technology to improved cooking solutions such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and improved cooking stoves among others. This year over 12,300 improved cook stoves were distributed in partnership with the Private Sector, the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and other stakeholders. 30 Improved Cook stove producers and 24 promoters were supported through training and testing where 33 types of stoves and 10 fuels (mainly briquettes) were tested.

However, the lack of testing facilities, locally made cook stoves were being sent abroad in the region to acquire the services of regional Testing Laboratories. This caused a huge financial burden and time consuming to local manufacturers. Outsourcing cook stove and related products’ quality testing services also hindered approval and certification of local and imported stoves and subsequently impacted the cost of stoves on the market.

Also at the celebration, best performing Members of the Standards development Technical Committees were awarded.