IEC presence on five continents

Regional Centres play major role in raising awareness of IEC work globally

By Claire Marchand

Since the beginning of the 2000s, IEC Central office in Geneva, Switzerland, has decentralized some of its activities, establishing regional offices first in North America, then in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and lastly in Africa.

Global reach

All IEC regional centres are focal points for IEC standardization and conformity assessment (CA) activities in their respective part of the world. They have greatly contributed to raising awareness on and promoting the Commission through country visits, participation in international, regional and national events, networking and establishing an ever growing number of invaluable contacts. 

It is worth noting that the IEC has also been present in Australia for more than 20 years. The secretariats of two IEC Conformity Assessment Systems – IECEx, the IEC System for Certification for Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres, and IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components – are based in Sydney (see articles on IECEx  and IECQ  in the Conformity Assessment section of this issue).

IEC-AFRC

In its nearly three years of existence, the IEC Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) in Nairobi, Kenya, has covered a lot of ground, both literally and figuratively. 

Since its inauguration in November 2015, its two Directors, Evah Oduor and François Ahoti have travelled extensively throughout the African continent, paying visits to IEC members and affiliates to make valuable contacts and assess the need for assistance to enhance their participation in IEC work. Everywhere they meet with IEC national committees or national electrotechnical committees and key stakeholders, including regulators, government agencies, utilities, academia and consumers and emphasize the benefits they could derive from their active participation in IEC Standards development and CA work. 

IEC-AFRC works closely with the African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC) and has also established relationships with a number of regional organizations such as the African Energy Commission (AFREC), the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), the East African Community (EAC) the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). 

The IEC-AFRC Directors: Evah Oduor and François Ahoti.

IEC-APRC

Since 2002, the Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (IEC-APRC) has played a major role in raising awareness of the IEC, increasing the use of International Standards and CA Systems and maximizing participation of all countries in the region in the Commission’s work. It has established communication and networks with key players from industry, businesses and governments. 

IEC-APRC participates actively at meetings and events of key regional inter-governmental committees like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Consultative Committee on Standards and Quality, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Subcommittee on Standards and Conformance, as well as the meetings of their respective regulatory committees on electrical and electronic equipment. The key objective of these fora is to support free trade in the region through the use of International Standards and CA procedures. 

In South Asia, IEC-APRC works closely with the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) which has recently started efforts to adopt IEC International Standards as SAARC regional standards. SAARC, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of nations in South Asia. 

In May 2018, the IEC Immediate Past President Junji Nomura, the IEC General Secretary and CEO Frans Vreeswijk and the IEC-APRC Regional Director Dennis Chew provided updates and had good discussions at the annual general meeting of the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC) which encourages its members to participate actively in IEC. 

Support to National Committees

IEC-APRC works closely with national committees in the Asia-Pacific region to promote awareness of the IEC to potential stakeholders and advocate the use of IEC International Standards and CA Systems. As for Young Professionals (YPs), IEC-APRC, in collaboration with the IEC Central Office, participated in YP Programmes in China, India and New Zealand. 

At the Philippines World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) national workshop in September 2017, IEC-APRC worked closely with the NC to encourage adoption and use of IEC International Standards. The workshop attracted about 110 policy makers and regulators. 

IEC-APRC was also given the opportunity to share at the Indonesia Quality Week seminar on Smart Cities in Makassar in November 2017, which attracted about 700 participants. 

On the technical side, IEC-APRC supports 52 technical committees and subcommittees (TC/SCs) and this number will increase to more than 70 TC/SCs by the third quarter of 2018. In addition, the Centre holds the secretariat of the Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum, the Advisory Committee on electricity transmission and distribution (ACTAD) and the Advisory Committee on energy efficiency (ACEE). Located in a research and development hub in Singapore, IEC-APRC offers meeting facilities for IEC activities. 

The IEC-APRC team: Dennis Chew (Regional Director), Suzanne Yap, Damien Lee and Anson Chiah (Technical Officers), Teo Poh Luan, Amelyn Ching and Pang Chia Li (Assistants). 

IEC-LARC

Established in 2007 in São Paulo, Brazil, the Latin America Regional Center (IEC-LARC) is responsible for all promotional activities in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Its Regional Director is Amaury Santos. 

IEC-LARC was set up to actively encourage the use of IEC International Standards and CA Systems and to enhance participation of countries in the Latin America region. Since its inception, the Centre has seen new countries join the list of IEC members. IEC-LARC also works closely with the Latin American countries that participate in the IEC Affiliate Country Programme, notably countries of the Andean Community and Central America. 

Since 2017, the Centre has observed a growing interest in IEC international standardization and participation in other IEC-related activities, culminating with Peru – an Affiliate since 2002 – accepted as a full IEC member in December. IEC-LARC has also seen a surge in the number of enquiries about IEC CA Systems, linked to concerns about the quality of locally-manufactured or imported products. 

IEC LARC has continued its work with the Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT) and other sub-regional bodies, such as the Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations in the Americas (CANENA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with the aim of bringing knowledge about access to International Standards and IEC CA Systems in order to achieve almost the integrity of the countries of the region. 

Important recognition agreements were established with FINCA, the Forum of the IEC National Committees of the Americas, and also with CROSQ, the CARICOM Regional Organization on Standards and Quality, to improve the participation of the countries from the region in the IEC activities as well to facilitate the use of IEC International Standards and CA Systems. 

IEC-LARC attends, coordinates, and organizes events that match the needs of the region. They range from training seminars on the use of IEC IT tools to workshops on specific technical areas. 

The IEC-LARC team: Amaury Santos (Regional Director) and Iris Szterenlicht (Assistant). 

IEC-ReCNA

Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, US, the IEC Regional Centre for North America (IEC-ReCNA), has been operational since 2001. It provides support for 45 IEC TC/SCs including CISPR, particularly those with secretariats located in North America, and holds the secretariat of one of the IEC systems committees, SyC Smart energy.

IEC-ReCNA offers training sessions on its premises for TC/SC officers and hosts technical meetings. In the past 12 months, it provided training for the chair of IEC TC 78: Live working, and hosted SyC Smart energy working group meetings. 

The secretariats of several IEC bodies are also with IEC-ReCNA:

  • Market Strategy Board (MSB)
  • Standardization Evaluation Group (SEG) 7: Smart manufacturing
  • Advisory Committee on electromagnetic compatibility (ACEC)
  • IEC Directives Maintenance Team (DMT)
  • ISO/IEC Joint DMT (JDMT)
  • Standardization Management Board (SMB) ad hoc Group 81: Electric vehicles and infrastructure landscaping 

As Secretary of the MSB, Peter Lanctot coordinates the publication of IEC White Papers

The IEC-ReCNA team: Tim Rotti (Regional Director), Peter Lanctot (MSB Secretary), Andrew Redgate (Technical Officer), Marlene Maillet and Holly Ducharme (Assistants).