1. ARAC TRAINS NEWCOMERS ON THE ARAC PEER EVALUATION TEAMS
Following the recommendation of the Arab Accreditation Cooperation (ARAC) Multi-Lateral Recognition Arrangement Committee (MLA), the ARAC Executive Committee meeting held in Tunis, Tunisia in February 2016 approved the proposal for conducting an ARAC Peer evaluators regional training course. The aim of this training is to enlarge future teams of ARAC peer evaluators with a view to improve ARAC peer evaluation activities.
The training targeted potential ARAC peer evaluators from the lead assessors of ARAC Accreditation Body (AB) Members.
Fourteen enthusiastic lead assessors from eight ARAC accreditation body members took part in this training course held on 14-16 November 2016 in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. The participants were selected according to ARAC Procedures, while giving priority to those applicants who had more competence for the ARAC MLA scopes that lacked resources in terms of peer evaluation (inspection, certification of Management System, calibration and medical testing).
The course was developed and led by Mrs Roxanne M. Robinson (International Accreditation Forum [IAF] & International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation [ILAC] Regional Peer Evaluator Team Leader, trainer for Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation [APLAC] Peer evaluators, former APLAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) Council Chair, former ILAC Arrangement Management Committee member and former Chair of the ILAC&IAF Joint Working Group A-Series documents) and Mr Mahmoud Eltayeb (ARAC Chair and Peer evaluator Team Leader); the course covered the requirements and processes of peer evaluation primarily for ARAC, but also included ILAC and IAF requirements.
As a follow-up of this training course, the successful participants will take part in future evaluations of ARAC-Member national accreditation bodies (NABs), first as trainee team members, then as team members.
ARAC wishes to extend its gratitude to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for supporting the organization of this training course.
ARAC Regional Peer evaluators training course opening ceremony
2. ARAC COOPERATION WITH THE OTHER REGIONAL COOPERATION BODIES
The implementation of the ARAC Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) MoU, signed on 5th November 2015, continued by conducting a joint Peer Evaluation of the Dubai Accreditation Center (DAC) during the period 4th – 8th September 2016.
The objective of this Peer Evaluation is maintaining the MLA scope for the accreditation of Quality & Environmental Management System Certification Bodies and to extend the MLA to the accreditation of Food Safety Management System Certification Bodies.
PAC Peer evaluation team and DAC team
2.2.1. Participation of the accredited laboratories by ARAC ABs members at the APLAC PT Proficiency Testing Programs
Within the framework of the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between ARAC and Asian Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC), ARAC ensured and followed up on the participation of the laboratories accredited by its Accreditation Body members at three APLAC PT Proficiency Testing Programs.
ARAC wishes to extend its gratitude to APLAC for this great opportunity to allow ARAC AB accredited laboratories to participate in these programs.
2.2.2.Participation of ARAC Peer Evaluators at APLAC Peer Evaluations
One ARAC Peer evaluator participated in the APLAC Peer evaluation of the National Accreditation Body of Indonesia (KAN) during the period 25-29 July 2016. The ARAC Peer evaluator covered the evaluation of the accreditation of Inspection Bodies according to the standard ISO/IEC 17020.
ARAC and African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC) continue to work closely to identify further areas for cooperation in support of their Technical Cooperation Agreement signed in March 2013. The implementation of this Technical Cooperation Agreement continued with the participation of ARAC Peer evaluators at AFRAC Peer evaluations.
3. ILAC & IAF EVALUATION OF ARAC SECRETARIAT
The ILAC and IAF Evaluation of ARAC started with the evaluation of the ARAC Secretariat during the period 20-22 September 2016. The ILAC & IAF Evaluation team was composed of Mr Peter Unger, as a Team Leader, and Mr Stefan Schramm, as a Deputy Team Leader.
The objectives of this evaluation were to evaluate ARAC’s management system, ARAC’s Arrangement, competence of its personnel and implementation of the peer evaluation process and their compliance with IAF/ILAC requirements.
During this evaluation it was agreed that the upcoming steps of the evaluation of ARAC will cover the witnessing of the ARAC Peer Evaluation activities and the MLA Group meetings.
ARAC wishes to extend its gratitude to the ILAC & IAF Evaluation Team for their great efforts and for the very fruitful evaluation days.
4.ARAC EVALUATION OF THE JORDANIAN ACCREDITATION SYSTEM (JAS)
Following the Pre-Peer Evaluation of the Jordanian Accreditation Unit (JAU) held during the period 09-13 November 2014 and following the implementation of the corrective actions by JAU, ARAC conducted the full Peer evaluation of JAS during the period 09-13 October 2016. The scope of the evaluation was the following:
• accreditation of Calibration laboratories according to ISO/IEC 17025;
• accreditation of Testing Laboratories according to ISO/IEC 17025; and
• accreditation of Medical/Clinical Laboratories according to ISO 15189.
It should be noted that this peer evaluation was observed by an ILAC Regional peer evaluator within the framework of the evaluation of ARAC by ILAC & IAF.
5. ARAC MID-YEAR MEETINGS
Successful ARAC Mid-Term meetings (Executive Committee, MLA Committee, MLA Group, Peer Evaluators Working Group, Technical Committee and Communication and Marketing Committee) were held in Cairo, Egypt from 29 to 31 August 2016 hosted by the Egyptian Accreditation Council (EGAC).
More than fifty delegates participated in this event including the members of ARAC committees, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) and EGAC representatives.
An open session for all ARAC Committee members was organized where they updated on the following items:
• new ILAC, IAF and ARAC requirements published since the last ARAC meetings and the new documents that will be implemented during the upcoming period;
• progress of the ILAC & IAF Evaluation process of ARAC that focused on the ARAC committee members’ commitments to the success of the upcoming steps, especially the evaluation of the ARAC Secretariat, the witnessing of the ARAC Peer evaluations and the MLA Group members;
• report on the updated and new ARAC management system documentations;
• progress on the registration of ARAC as a legal entity and the preparation of the business plan;
• qualification of new ARAC Peer Evaluators; and
• ARAC Strategy 2016-2021 and the upcoming steps for the implementation of this strategy by the ARAC committees starting with the preparation for the Committees’ strategic plans.
These meetings were achieved with fruitful results especially in terms of:
• decision on the MLA Signatories: Dubai Accreditation Center became an ARAC MLA Signatory for Product Certification;
• review of the ARAC MLA application received so far and the planning of the upcoming ARAC Peer evaluations;
• the preparation for the 3 Peer evaluations which will be witnessed by an ILAC & IAF Peer evaluation team; and
• follow-up of the conducted ARAC Peer evaluations (conducted jointly with ILAC and PAC).
ARAC wishes to extend its gratitude to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Arab Industrial Development and Mining Organization (AIDMO) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for supporting the organization of the ARAC Mid-Year Meetings 2016.
Participants at the ARAC Mid-Term meeting opening ceremony
6. APPROVAL OF THE ARAC STRATEGY PLAN 2016-2021
As a result of a 30-day ballot, the ARAC General Assembly members approved on 7th November the ARAC Strategy 2016-2021 which is based on the following six strategic thrusts:
• become a Recognized Regional Accreditation Cooperation within IAF and ILAC;
• enhance the ARAC Peer Evaluation System and MLA;
• boost ARAC’s visibility and standing both within the Arab region and internationally;
• serve the interests of and provide support to ARAC members;
• be the regional reference point for accreditation capacity building; and
• ensure ARAC is financially self-sustainable.
ARAC Committees are working on the preparation of their Roadmaps for implementation of this strategy.
7. UPCOMING ARAC KEY EVENTS
ARAC Annual meetings: 19-23 February 2017 in Dubai, UAE
The contact details of the ARAC Secretariat are:
Phone number: + 212 600 78 56 78