News Releases

Three organizations join forces to promote regional ICT Conformance and Interoperability

For Release Upon Receipt - December 10, 2014

St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago – The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Faculty of Engineering of The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine and the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), coordinated a successful collaboration of some 35 specially selected participants from academic and professional organizations, testing laboratories, certification and standards bodies, regulatory and Governmental agencies from 8 Caribbean nations, the USA, Canada, Brazil and Switzerland at the Workshop for the Caribbean Region to Promote the Development and Implementation of Conformance and Interoperability (C&I) Programmes. The workshop took place from December 2 – 4 at The UWI’s Faculty of Engineering. The Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) was the title sponsor of the event.

Conformance of telecommunications equipment (including mobile phones) to technical standards; and interoperability between equipment are essential to achieve the high performance and swift network deployment demanded by telecommunications service users.  C&I regimes enshrined in national policy and legislation protect consumers from purchasing sub-standard equipment and others from various harmful effects, such as interference as well as health and environmental hazards, emanating from their use.  C&I regimes are also necessary to ensure that local products can verifiably meet the import requirements of other jurisdictions and therefore have access to particular markets. Compliance with applicable EU legislation, for example, is captured in the familiar CE product marking which enables free movement within the European market.

The workshop brought together ITU experts and regional C&I stakeholders to assess the state-of-play of C&I within Caribbean countries and explored opportunities to establish harmonized C&I regimes for the region.  The results of an ITU Conformance and Interoperability Assessment Study of the Caribbean, conducted during the period August – October 2014, were presented and used to focus the discussions. The study was conducted under the ITU mandate to assist developing countries in addressing the lack of conformity and interoperability and to perform context‐appropriate conformance testing of equipment and systems in accordance with relevant ITU Recommendations and Guidelines. The study facilitates part of a broader objective of CARICOM Heads of Government to establish the Caribbean region as a Single Information and Communications technology (ICT) Space.  

Key findings of the study included:

·         Most countries have a regulatory framework that establishes the technical requirements for the importation and deployment of ICT products and services in their jurisdictions.

·         Some countries’ laws permit the delegation of authority to foreign entities, for example through Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) for others it is not allowed.

·         With respect to telecommunications/ICT, virtually all countries do not have a local accreditation body, a testing laboratory, or a certification body. Frequently they rely on marks of conformity issued by other countries or agencies as the basis for allowing the importation of certain equipment.

The workshop considered various options for advancing the development of a regional regime for Conformance and Interoperability and relevant associated structures and institutions. These options included establishment of national or regional accreditation, certification and testing bodies as well as use of Mutual Recognition Agreements. Based on the discussions, the workshop recommended a 5-point action plan for broader stakeholder consultation and ultimately for the attention of Caribbean Governments and relevant regional institutions for appropriate action. Further information can be found at  


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)