IAF Chair's Message
by Xiao Jianhua

2018 is the 25th anniversary of IAF. IAF celebrated its 25th anniversary during the IAF/ILAC Joint Annual Meetings on 21 – 30 October 2018 in Singapore.

 

IAF, as the international organization of accreditation bodies and other bodies interested in conformity assessment such as management systems certification, product certification, certification of persons and validation/verification, has achieved great success in the past 25 years.

 

The number of IAF Members now totals 109, with 82 Accreditation Body Members, 21 Association Members, and 6 Regional Accreditation Group Members. The IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (IAF MLA) now has 72 Accreditation Body Signatories and 5 Recognized Regional Accreditation Group MLAs. IAF Accreditation Body Members had accredited 7,493 Certification Bodies worldwide as of 2017, an increase of 12% over the previous year.

 

Progress on development of the IAF Database of Accredited Certifications (now known as IAF CertSearch) continues. During the October 2018 IAF General Assembly in Singapore, a demonstration of the CertSearch website was provided to IAF members. The aim is for the database to go live in 2019.

 

As reported at the General Assembly, data gathered from IAF Accreditation Body Members and their accredited Certification Bodies by the end of September 2018 gave a 93% transition rate to the 2015 versions of the quality and environmental management system standards ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 – see related article ‘Transition Rate Confirmed at 93% from IAF Members’.

 

The above just highlights some of many recent achievements. The great success of IAF is the result of all Members’ efforts and support from many partner organizations. Many people have made great contributions over the years. As I said at the IAF General Assembly, it is impossible for me to mention the names of all the individuals who have contributed.

 

On this occasion, I would like to express my sincere gratitude again to the past Chairs of IAF who participated in relevant IAF activities during the Singapore meetings, Mr. Randy Dougherty of the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) and Dr. Thomas Facklam of Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS), for their invaluable contributions to IAF. They served as IAF Executive Committee members with different positions for more than 15 years preceding the Singapore meetings. Mr. Dougherty retired after this General Assembly, and we wish him all the best for the future.

 

In addition, Mr. Ekanit Romyanon of the National Standardization Council of Thailand (NSC), Chair of the IAF Technical Committee, Mr. Jon Murthy of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), Chair of the IAF Communication and Marketing Committee, and Mr. Trevor Nash of the Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB), Vice Chair of the IAF Technical Committee, have completed their second terms at this General Assembly. I thank them for their leadership and contributions over the years.

 

IAF has built a structure and culture for different categories of Members to work together and engage with partner international organizations.

 

The IAF Conformity Assessment Body Association Members, Industry and User Association Members have made great contributions to the success of IAF. Notably, most Working Groups and Task Forces of IAF have Co-conveners from the Association Members. It is a clear indication of the relevance of IAF activities with stakeholder members and of in-depth participation of stakeholder members in the development of IAF documents.

 

Looking at past achievements, the IAF Secretariat has provided great support for the operation of IAF. The team of the Secretariat under the leadership of Ms. Elva Nilsen, the IAF Secretary, has worked very hard to cope with increased demands for support from the Secretariat.

 

Support from relevant organizations has also been very important for IAF to achieve its significant progress. Its close cooperation with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) is the most important partnership for IAF.

 

Many other partner organizations have also provided very important support to IAF. During the Annual Meetings in Singapore, IAF and ILAC signed tripartite Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the World Bank and International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF).

 

In addition, IAF, alone or jointly with ILAC, has signed MoUs with the International Standards Organization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for cooperation, and with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), GLOBALG.A.P., Quality and Safety System of Specialty Feed Ingredients (FAMI-QS) and International Personnel Certification Association (IPC) for endorsement of relevant certification schemes as sub-scopes of the IAF MLA.

 

IAF is also engaged with the World Trade Organization (WTO), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Economic Cooperation for Europe (UNECE), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

 

IAF has achieved great success in the past. Looking forward, we need to meet new expectations and deal with new opportunities and challenges, including the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. IAF needs to listen to and understand the needs of customers and stakeholders, and to continue collaborating with them, for further development of accreditation as an integral component of the quality infrastructure.

 

On the subject of the quality infrastructure, the International Network on Quality Infrastructure (INetQI) had its inaugural meeting on 30 November 2018. 12 international organizations, including IAF, renewed their commitment to promote quality through a global network.

 

The IAF General Assembly in Singapore decided that the IAF Executive Committee would conduct a new strategic planning exercise in 2019, working jointly with the ILAC Executive Committee for joint activities. A survey to all Members and partner organizations will be undertaken to seek input for the development of the new Strategic Plan. I look forward to receiving your input regarding priorities for strategic directions and actions for 2020 to 2025 and to your continual support for the bright future of IAF.

 

2019 is coming soon, I wish all of you and your families a happy and prosperous New Year!