I thank all of the Members of IAF for the privilege and honor of being able to serve you as Chair and President. It was one of the highlights of my professional career.
Thomas Facklam and Elva Nilsen, the IAF Chair and Vice-Chair with terms ending in Vancouver in 2009, passed on to the new leadership team an organization that was successful and operating well. Nearly all of our governance documents had been updated in 2009, and IAF was well into the implementation of the strategic plan that had been adopted in 2006. This is the year that jointly with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), the Joint Committee on Closer Cooperation (JCCC) was disbanded and the role of the Joint Executive Committee (JEC) expanded. This was also when it was decided to ballot Members on the merger. While a majority of Members of both IAF and ILAC favored the merger, in both organizations the votes failed to achieve the numbers required to proceed. So I was blessed by having some of the more controversial issues resolved near the beginning of my term of office.
My first IAF and IAF-ILAC General Assemblies as Chair of IAF was in 2010 in Shanghai, China. I used my report as Chair to review the history of IAF from founding in 1993 up to the present, and to present some short-term and long term goals. This included a proposal to move inspection to ILAC only rather than continuing to try to manage this by IAF and ILAC jointly. IAF Members supported this proposal and this was accomplished during these meetings. This was also when I proposed expanding the structure of IAF to include two new advisory committees, one for the CABs and one for the Accreditation Bodies. This was subsequently accomplished with the formation of the the Conformity Assessment Bodies Advisory Committee (CABAC) and the Accreditation Body Exchange Group (ABIEG).
The most challenging year for me as the Chair was 2011. We had two unprecedented disruptions to both of our annual meetings, and we lost our Secretary. On extremely short notice, we had to move the mid-term meeting from Tunisia. With extraordinary assistance from Roger Bennett, we successfully relocated the meetings to Epsom in the UK.
• In June, John Owen, the long serving Secretary of IAF, submitted his resignation. So the June meeting of the IAF Executive Committee shifted from development of the new strategic plan to planning for a search for a new secretary.
• In July, the IAF Board put out a tender for a new Secretary and expanded Secretariat.
• In September the Board appointed EJN Consulting as the new Secretariat and its principal, Elva Nilsen, as IAF Secretary. So our past Vice-Chair became our new Secretary.
• In October, the annual IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly, to be hosted by the National Standardization Council of Thailand (NSC) in Bangkok, was cancelled due to the high risk of flooding of the meeting venue.
These challenges had a positive outcome, however. We proved that ILAC and IAF could organize our meeting directly without having to have a host. We also expanded the secretariat, providing resources needed for continued growth and expansion.
2011 was also the year in which we gained the attention of the World Trade Organization. In June 2011, ILAC Chair Peter Unger and I made a presentation to the World Trade Organization Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (WTO-TBT) on behalf of ILAC and IAF. We have expanded our relationship with the WTO-TBT Committee ever since and are now being invited on a regular basis to participate in WTO sponsored workshops and seminars on how the ILAC & IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangements (ILAC MRA & IAF MLA) help to facilitate trade.
Considering that the primary purpose of IAF (and ILAC) is operating our arrangements (the ILAC MRA and IAF MLA) based on peer evaluation for the facilitation of trade based on mutual recognition of accredited conformity assessment results, I am pleased that IAF Members decided to expand the IAF MLA to include the following main scopes and sub-scopes:
• new main scope of ISO/IEC 17024 for accreditation of bodies certifying persons;
• new main scope of ISO 14065 for accreditation of bodies verifying and validating greenhouse gases (GHG);
• new product certification sub-scope for GlobalG.A.P based on ISO/IEC 17065;
• new management systems sub-scope for food safety (FSMS) based on ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO 22003 and ISO 22000;
• new management systems sub-scope for information security (ISMS) based on ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO/IEC 27006 and ISO/IEC 27001; and
• new management systems sub-scope for medical devices based on ISO/IEC 17021 and ISO 13485.
2014 was another challenging year for meetings. The IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly, which was again to be hosted by NSC in Bangkok, had to be moved to Vancouver due to political disruptions, with NSC being the honorary host.
This past year, 2015, we have revised our governance documents to make the regional accreditation groups (the European Cooperation for Accreditation, the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation, the Inter American Accreditation Cooperation, the Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation, the African Accreditation Cooperation, and the Arab Accreditation Cooperation) official Members of IAF, along with Accreditation Bodies, industry associations and conformity assessment body associations.
Jointly with ILAC, it has been decided that 2017 will be the last year of having a host for the annual IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly. Beginning in 2018 all future meetings will be organized by ILAC and IAF directly, but with each meeting being rotated to one of three venues in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
This should eliminate the disruptions and keep costs lower for Members.
I am also very pleased that my successor as IAF Chair and President is Mr. Xiao Jianhua of the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS). He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. Xiao attended the second meeting of IAF in 1994 and nearly every meeting since, he served 7 years as MLA Committee Chair and 6 years as the IAF Vice-Chair. I will stay on as IAF Treasurer to support IAF and Xiao.