Two years ago, we celebrated the 20th Anniversary of IAF. We are very proud of the significant achievements IAF has made during these years. That is a great success of all IAF Members. All past Directors and Committee Chairs of IAF have also played an important role in the development of IAF.
Mr Randy Dougherty of the American National Standards Institute - American Society for Quality National Accreditation Board LLC (ANAB) successfully completed his two terms as IAF Chairman at the 29th IAF General Assembly in Milan. Over the past 6 years, great progress has been achieved for various activities of IAF. The membership has increased from 78 to 100. The IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) has been progressed significantly. The operation of IAF committees, the service of the IAF Secretariat, the relationship with Regions, and the cooperation with relevant international organizations have been significantly enhanced. The IAF Members appreciate Mr Dougherty for his excellent service and invaluable contributions to the IAF.
This year marks a big change for the leadership of IAF due to the completion of terms by more than half of the Directors and Committee Chairs. The IAF Members at the Annual Meeting in Milan welcomed Mr Emanuele Riva from the Italian National Accreditation Body (ACCREDIA) as the new Vice-Chair of IAF, and Mr Geir Samuelsen from Norwegian Accreditation (NA), Ms Sheronda Jeffries from the Quality Excellence for Suppliers of Telecommunications Forum (QuEST Forum), Mr Norman Brunner from Accreditation Austria (AA) and Ms Andrea Melo from General Coordination for Accreditation (CGCRE, Brazil) as new Directors or Committee Chairs of IAF. The IAF Members expressed gratitude to Mr Thomas Facklam from German Accreditation (DAkkS), Mr Martin Stadler from the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI)/Siemens AG, Mr Steve Keeling from the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ), and Mr Fabián Hernández Colotla from the Mexican Accreditation Entity (EMA) for their excellent service as IAF Directors or Committee Chairs in the past several years.
In the meantime, Mr Vu Xuan Thuy from the Bureau of Accreditation (BoA, Vietnam), Mr Trevor Nash from the Association of British Certification Bodies (ABCB), Mr Ekanit Romyanon from the National Standardization Council of Thailand (NSC), and Mr Jon Murthy from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) will continue their roles as IAF Directors or Committee Chairs.
The implementation of the IAF Strategic Plan (2015-2019) has progressed with important achievements in 2015. Looking at the way forward, we are very excited for the future development of IAF.
The IAF MLA is our major service to facilitate trade and support regulators. In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) released in November 2015, which is a trade agreement between twelve (12) Pacific Rim countries, accreditation recognized by existing regional and international mutual recognition Arrangements is referenced as being as a key measure to support trade through the removal of technical barriers. It is the latest development of the IAF MLA in facilitating trade.
The IAF MLA peer evaluations began in 1996. The IAF MLA was signed for the first time by fifteen (15) Accreditation Bodies with scope for Quality Management System Certification in 1998. There are now sixty-one (61) Accreditation Body Signatories to the IAF MLA from fifty-six (56) economies. The IAF MLA has also recognized three (3) Regional Accreditation Group MLAs. The IAF MLA has been restructured and expanded to cover four Main Scopes and five Sub-Scopes. The Main Scope of the IAF MLA, which demonstrates that accredited conformity assessment results are equally reliable, now covers Management System Certification ISO/IEC 17021, Product Certification ISO/IEC 17065, Certification of Persons ISO/IEC 17024 and Greenhouse Gas Validation and Verification ISO 14065. At the Sub-Scope level, which demonstrates that accredited conformity assessment results are equivalent, the IAF MLA now covers Quality Management System Certification ISO 9001 (QMS), Environmental Management System Certification ISO 14001 (EMS), Food Safety Management System Certification ISO 22000 (FSMS), Information Security Management System Certification ISO/IEC 27001 (ISMS) and GLOBALG.A.P. IFA Control Points and Compliance Criteria. There are more certification schemes to be included in the IAF MLA. In order to better meet the needs of the market and further enhance the effective operation of the IAF MLA, the IAF MLA peer evaluation process will also be further improved, including the scope extension process for inclusion of relevant conformity assessment schemes or standards in a main scope.
The IAF technical documents and various mechanisms to support consistent application of relevant standards are fundamental and have played an important role for the effective operation of the IAF MLA. Continual improvement for consistency of accreditation practices among Accreditation Bodies is a strategic direction which has been discussed recently with important progress. The expectation for the level of harmonized application for relevant requirements may be changed due to various reasons. The communication with common understanding and identification of key subjects from time to time among Accreditation Bodies, accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies and conformity assessment scheme owners is critical for achieving consistency as expected. For the way forward, several actions have been initiated. An IAF online consistency forum will be created as a new mechanism to better facilitate stakeholder feedback and knowledge sharing and more efficiently resolve potential inconsistencies. The feedback process in the peer evaluations will be formalized. The discussion paper process, Mandatory Document development process and relevant information management will be improved. Enhancement of cooperation among Accreditation Bodies and coordination between the Accreditation Body Information Exchange Group (ABIEG) and the Conformity Assessment Body Advisory Committee (CABAC) will be explored.
Communication and promotion are important for wider acceptance of accreditation and the IAF MLA by major stakeholders. There are various actions being undertaken in this area in partnership with relevant international and regional organizations, including further enhancing relationships with technical organizations and key stakeholders such as the World Trade Organization Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade, the International Organization for Standardization's Committee on Conformity Assessment and others, maintaining publicsectorassurance.org to ensure access to case study examples and reference sites to inform the decisions of regulators and specifiers in relation to conformity assessment procedures, and exploring the possibility to establish an IAF Database of Accredited Management System Certifications. The World Accreditation Day on 9th June is celebrated across the world with the hosting of national events, seminars, and press and media coverage, to communicate the value of accreditation to government, regulators and the leaders of the business community. The 2016 theme is “Accreditation: A global tool to support public policy”.
It is a long-term commitment of IAF to facilitate the development of accreditation in developing economies. Further measures will be taken to enhance strategic planning for seeking support from funding agencies for projects to support specific economies, to promote the use of online platforms to deliver training and share best practices information, and to improve opportunities for developing Accreditation Bodies to participate in relevant IAF activities and to obtain support from IAF.
Regional Accreditation Groups play an important role in upholding the objectives of IAF. IAF, together with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), is continually improving the coordination of work between the global level and the regional level to ensure the consistency and efficiency of work with international relevance, while Regional Accreditation Groups may need to meet specific needs for their regions. The rules of IAF for initiating New Work Items will enhance wider relevance and participation across regions. The internal audit and management review procedures for the operation of the IAF management system will be also further enhanced for continual improvement of IAF governance.
The User Advisory Committee (UAC), with Industry and User Association Members from various sectors, representing the interests of end-users of accredited conformity assessment, provides advice and assistance for the development and implementation of IAF strategies to ensure accredited conformity assessment in fulfilling end-user expectations, and to continually improve the value and effectiveness of accredited conformity assessment. The contributions of the UAC to the IAF activities, including the development and implementation of the IAF Strategic Plan, are greatly appreciated.
Great achievements have been made in the past and we will continue our journey with our vision: IAF, along with ILAC, to be preferred partners for worldwide recognition of accredited conformity assessment results that meet the market, regulatory and public needs.At the dawn of 2016, I wish everyone a happy and prosperous New Year!