Alignment of Efficiency Standards and Labeling Programs in South Asia
In 2000, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) initiated a program called the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy and Development (SARI/Energy) to encourage regional development of energy programs, including standards and labeling for appliances. A team of technical experts from the United States, India and Sri Lanka were assembled to facilitate coordination of standards and labeling programs in participating countries through a series of reports and stakeholder meetings. These activities focused on the alignment of technical specifications for certification of efficiency for refrigerators, fluorescent lamp ballasts, compact fluorescent lamps and ceiling fans as candidates for alignment of technical specifications for certification of energy efficiency. In addition, activities encouraged cooperation towards development of effective policies, through identification of best practices and exchange of technical expertise between participating governments.
The SARI/Energy alignment project is significant not only in terms of energy efficiency policy outcomes in South Asia, but also because it is an instructive case study in the context of regional coordination of efficiency programs throughout the world. The SARI/Energy project is distinct from other efforts in that it is not underpinned by any concrete regional trade agreement. In addition, the project includes the creation of new programs which take advantage of lessons learned by neighbor countries. It serves as an example of how alignment can be framed to address a general set of policy goals and become a process of regional expansion of successful programs, rather than solely a process of bringing existing programs into agreement.