What is the MENA STAR Project?

The project to strengthen institutional infrastructure on standards and regulations to support business and industry in Middle East and North Africa (MENA STAR) has been designed to target 10 countries, namely Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen. It covers a series of activities to strengthen institutions developing and using standards, and to increase the capacity of business and industry to apply key standards within the context of sustainable development. The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented by ISO.

Objectives of the project

The overall objective of the project is two-fold:

  • Strengthen the capacity of selected industry support institutions, such as the National Standards Body (NSB) and regulators as well as Trade Promotion Organizations, to enhance the country’s participation in international trade, while increasing international competitiveness and export performance through quality.
  • Contribute to the development of a sound business-enabling environment by encouraging the private sector and other stakeholders to use international standards to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable development.


The activities under this project will include needs analysis and interventions for each NSB using the methodology of the ISO Institutional Strengthening (INS) programme, regional workshops and follow-up aimed at trade promotion organizations as well as on priority subjects linked to institutional strengthening and sustainable development, and the building of capacity and enhancement of awareness in three separate green economy focus areas – environment, energy and water. Emphasis in the sustainable development component will be on the training of national trainers, along with both national and regional awareness-creation and capacity-building by means of workshops and seminars.

Regional coordination

The project has also established a regional coordination mechanism through the meetings of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) involving NSBs and other regional players, including the regional standards organizations. The principles of country ownership, effectiveness and accountability will be applied during the implementation of this project.

Duration of the project

The duration of the project was originally set at approximately 4 years. Following a late start for a number of logistical reasons (2015 instead of 2013), this period has of necessity been reduced, but discussions and negotiations will be pursued with a view to exploring the possibility of reinstating the originally-intended project period.

Useful documents