Broad IEC representation
The COPANT General Assembly was organized by ABNT (Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas), Brazil's national standards body. The event brought together delegates from the Americas, representing public and private sector standardization organizations. The Latin America region, which is growing in importance globally and for the IEC, was well represented by a large number of IEC NCs (National Committees) as well as several Affiliate Country Programmeparticipants. The territory covered by COPANT now comprises seven Full IEC Members, one Associate Member and 17 Affiliates.
The annual General Assembly offers the IEC, which has had a cooperation agreement with COPANT for close to 20 years, a good opportunity to interact with one of the Americas’ most important regional organizations and its members, to enhance collaboration and promote participation in IEC standardization and CA (Conformity Assessment) work.
Jacques Régis presented an update on IEC work and activities, globally and in the Latin America region.
Régis first focused on membership and the Affiliate Country Programme, highlighting the fact that interaction between Members and Affiliates was stronger than ever. He informed the audience of the nomination of the new Affiliate Leader, Phuntsho Wangdi of Bhutan, who took over from Carlos Rodríguez of Costa Rica in June 2011 and explained that Rodríguez is now Affiliate Coordinator for Latin America, therefore continuing his work with Affiliates in the region. He introduced the recently launched IECEE Affiliate status, which provides Affiliates with a form of participation in conformity assessment activities without the financial burden of actual membership.
Régis also stressed the long and fruitful collaboration between IEC and COPANT and recent activities initiated and organized by the IEC in the region, namely virtual training sessions to familiarize COPANT members with IEC IT tools.
Active participation is essential
After presenting the recently established IEC TC (Technical Committee) 117: Solar thermal electric plants, IEC PC (Project Committee) 118: Smart Grid user interface, and IEC TC 119: Printed electronics, Régis stressed the importance of effective participation in IEC standardization, explaining that to really benefit from IEC work, industry must be able to participate actively and must be fully represented through the IEC NCs (National Committees). He added that active participation goes further than voting: it involves sending experts to IEC workings groups and project teams to represent all interests and be able to have influence on the standardization process. He also talked about the growing role played by the IEC in CA and the recent developments in setting up a systems approach both in standardization and CA work.
He outlined the success of the first IEC White Paper, “Coping with the energy challenge” and the launch, earlier this year, of a second White Paper on electrical energy storage, a topic that is increasingly relevant in a world where energy demand is growing fast.
Régis updated participants on the implementation of the IEC Masterplan 2011. Key recommendations include technology and market watch to identify emerging requirements in standardization and CA; perception and positioning of the IEC in the market and how to ensure over the long term the quality of the experts and leaders who constitute our essential working resources.
Before concluding, Régis formally introduced the new IEC Deputy General Secretary Frans Vreeswijk to all participants.
The IEC and COPANT are on the same wavelength in terms of strategies. Raising participation in standards development and CA work, focusing on renewable energies and energy efficiency, Smart Grid issues were high on the general Assembly agenda this year.
The 2011-2015 Strategic Plan, adopted by COPANT last year and aiming to define a regional agenda to promote standardization, training and CA, was reviewed and commented during the meeting.
Green and efficient
A report was presented on the PTB (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt) project on Infrastructure Services for Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency in Latin America and the Caribbean, an initiative approved at the 2011 General Assembly. To begin with, four specific areas have been selected, namely renewable energy (solar thermal), Smart Grids, energy efficiency (appliances) and transversal issues. COPANT reiterated its intent to actively participate in all planning and project implementation, and stressed that all COPANT members from Latin America and the Caribbean should be considered as beneficiaries and participants in all project activities.
Additionally, two workshops covering renewable energies, energy efficient household appliances, and a seminar on social responsibility were organized in conjunction with the General Assembly.
The next COPANT General Assembly will be hosted in St. Lucia in April 2013.