The IAF General Assembly in Shanghai, in October 2010, was my first opportunity to speak to the members as the IAF Chair. I fear I messed up the agenda by taking over an hour making my presentation, but I did receive positive comments from some members, and was asked by the editor of this issue of the IAF Newsletter to document some of the history of IAF that was included in that presentation. I have a copy of the presentation with my notes so if anyone wants that, I will be glad to send them a copy.
January 28, 1993. This was the date of the meeting that resulted in the formation of IAF. This was the beginning. This was the founding of IAF. This was the birth of IAF.
Participants and observers at that first meeting represented organizations that we know of now as ANSI, RvA, UKAS, JAS-ANZ, SCC, ANAB and JAB.
A communiqué of that first meeting is accessible on the member’s side of the IAF website.
Consider all of the concepts embodied in one paragraph of that communiqué: “The consensus…was to cooperate…with organizations who operate similar accreditation programs in exchanging information and procedures in meetings to be known as the International Accreditation Forum. The meetings are intended to contribute to mutual understanding and to build confidence in the operation of such accreditation programs in the interest of international trade.”
The key concepts I identified in that one paragraph are as follows:
- Equivalence of conformity assessment
- Equivalence of accreditation
- Certification in one country being accepted in another country
- In the interest of international trade
These key concepts are what IAF was and is about. And in my opinion, this is what IAF should always be about.
Some other key dates are as follow:
January 1998—IAF Bylaws formally adopted.
January 22, 1998—the first MLA for QMS.
September 27, 1998—IAF was legally incorporated in the State of Delaware in the US.
November 2000—IAF Charter was adopted and published.
November 2001—The new structure of IAF, as exists today, was announced and implemented. This was also the first joint general assembly with ILAC.
November 11, 2003—IAF Code of Conduct
October 9, 2004—MLA for EMS and Product
October 2009—Agreement on the new structure for the IAF MLA: One MLA with scopes and subscopes.
October 10, 2010 was the 24th IAF General Assembly and the 10th IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly. IAF has evolved from six accreditation bodies at that first meeting in 1993 to 62 accreditation bodies, 18 association members, and 4 regional cooperations. As all of you remember, in Shanghai we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the ILAC MRA and the 12th anniversary of the IAF MLA. It was a memorable meeting.
The future…for us to decide—together.- Randy Dougherty, IAF Chair