For almost one hundred and fifty years, May 20th has been set aside to remind the world of the importance of measurements. World Metrology Day (WMD) this year comes at a time when all of us are experiencing the effects of COVID-19. The crisis has stumped every facet of our societies and economies forcing a change in priorities around the world, but even with all that is going on right now, it by no means derails the importance of measurements, in fact, it strengthens it. Testing for cases and more importantly a vaccine is deeply rooted in reliable measurements that cannot be achieved without, instrumentation, competency, laboratory environments, to mention a few. It is through accurate measurements that governments can have confidence in test results, provide care for those who are sick, and ensure protection of frontline workers. While not hailed, measurements remain an intangible asset in the fight against this dreadful pandemic.
The theme planned for WMD 2020 is “Measurement for Global Trade” geared toward highlighting the importance of global trade and the role measurement plays in ensuring fairness and safety in trade and transport of commodities. But it comes at a time when countries around the world have had to shift priorities at short notice and address new national challenges. As such, the pace at which global trade occurs has slowed dramatically, but continues nonetheless as food, medicine, testing, and healthcare equipment are still being shipped across the globe.
The ongoing pandemic is a stark reminder of the unbreakable connection that measurements play in our world. Without accurate measurements, it would be difficult if not impossible to improve productivity, implement standards and regulations, and keep the population healthy and safe. And as countries initiate the steps to recuperation and trade accelerates, measurements will, no doubt, play an important role as it can mean the difference between a fast or slow recovering economy.
The ability to make accurate measurements supports global trade in many ways. Measurements allow the creation of global supply chains where consistency, safety, and quality are defined and maintained. They ensure that products manufactured in one part of the world can be used interchangeably by people around the world. They enable the establishment of requirements for product compatibility in uniform measurements. Measurements empower us to define what we mean by quality in a way that lets companies meet customers’ expectations and allow customers to make informed choices for products and services purchased every day. They help to protect the global environment by allowing us to set and maintain standards for things like air, water, and food quality. Ultimately, the ability to make and share measurements between countries builds trust between them and improves relations and the ability to trade goods and services. As nations recover, so will trade and, expectedly so, the men and women who serve in metrology institutions around the globe stand ready to ensure that trade continues to be underpinned by the unbreakable chain that measurements provides.
Our Bureau in small part remains steadfast in ensuring that Belize is better served by its national measurement system. It is our hope that as we advance our measurement system it will become the fabric of our society and economy for generations to come.