Invaluable support for developing countries

IEC Affiliate Country Programme encourages active participation in IEC work

By Claire Marchand

Each year sees an increase not only in the number of countries participating in the IEC Affiliate Country Programme but also in the number of International Standards adopted as national ones, national electrotechnical committees (NECs) established and Affiliate Plus status granted. In the past 12 months, the Programme has seen changes in its leadership, and the Secretariat has been extremely busy supporting participating countries through workshops, seminars, webinars and training sessions, to name but a few of the activities organized to raise awareness and know-how in developing countries. 

Rojas Manyame and Thomas Robertson Affiliate Leader Rojas Manyame and IEC Affiliate Country Programme Executive Secretary Thomas Robertson

Changes at the helm in the Secretariat

Françoise Rauser, IEC Affiliate Country Programme Executive Secretary since November 2003, took early retirement at the end of 2017. Rauser was instrumental in shaping the Programme, bringing new countries into the fold year after year and assisting them in their development – a number of them have made the leap to IEC membership. Under her leadership, the Affiliate Plus status, the ACAS and mentoring programmes were established. In her 14+ years, Rauser has built a strong community of people sharing the same challenges and ready to tackle them, knowing that they always had a professional and benevolent ear to guide them to success. 

Thomas Robertson, who joined the Programme in 2013, has taken over as Executive Secretary of the IEC Affiliate Country Programme and International Liaison for developing countries since January 2018. In turn, Sei-Yun Park has replaced Robertson as Affiliate Country Project Coordinator. 

A new Affiliate Leader

Rosario Uría of Peru stepped down as Affiliate Leader at the end of her three-year term (2015-2017). In March 2018, when Peru became a member of the IEC, Uría, who is Director of Standardization at INACAL, the Peruvian National Quality Institute, took the role of Secretary of the IEC National Committee of Peru. 

To succeed Uría, the Programme named Rojas Manyame of Namibia, also for a three-year term (2018-2020). Manyame is President of the Namibian National Electrotechnical Committee (NEC) and the First Vice-President of the African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC); he is also General Manager for Regulation of the Namibia Electricity Control Board (ECB). 

Membership news

As mentioned above, Peru joined the IEC as full member in December 2017, followed by Côte D’Ivoire, an associate member since March 2018. (see article The IEC family is growing in e-tech issue 02/2018) 

Another affiliate, Bangladesh, applied for associate membership at the beginning of June. The application is out for vote until 10 August 2018. 

A new affiliate – São Tomé and Principe

After an initial contact between the IEC Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) and São Tomé and Principe’s National Service of intellectual Property and Quality (SENAPIQ) in January 2017, the country received an invitation to become part of the IEC Affiliate Country Programme. In December the Ministry of Finance, Commerce and Blue Economy expressed their interest in IEC activities and their intention to become part of the Programme. In March 2018, the IEC was informed of the establishment of a NEC and the Pledge was signed within a couple of days. The NEC structure was officially confirmed in June 2018. 

The IEC family now has 171 countries – 85 members and 86 affiliates (86 members and 85 affiliates when Bangladesh application is approved). 

Regional collaboration 

IEC and ECOWAS

In February 2018, the IEC Affiliate Country Programme and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) signed a collaboration pledge. The ECOWAS Technical Management Committee and the IEC Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) will work together to promote the participation of ECOWAS members in IEC activities. 

IEC and SADCSTAN

In March 2018, the IEC Affiliate Country Programme and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Cooperation in Standardization (SADCSTAN) signed a collaboration pledge. SADCSTAN and IEC-AFRC will work together to promote participation of SADC member states in CA events in the region, organized jointly by the IEC and AFSEC. They will also collaborate to encourage SADC states that are IEC affiliates to take an active part in the Programme. 

IEC and CROSQ

In May 2018, the IEC and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Under the terms of this MoU, IEC and CROSQ agree to exchange information on standardization and promote communication; encourage the use of IEC International Standards as CARICOM regional standards (CRS) once at least three quarters of the membership of CROSQ have adopted them as national standards; facilitate the use of IEC CA Systems through the Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status (ACAS); have cross representation in annual meetings and workshops; and enhance participation in the IEC Affiliate Country Programme. 

ACAS

The Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status (ACAS) was launched in 2013 to raise awareness and provide a better understanding of the specific requirements linked to conformity assessment (CA) activities. The objective is to train Affiliate Countries to use IEC International Standards and benefit from its CA Systems through the recognition of IEC CA certificates at the national level. 

As part of ACAS, e-learning modules help further affiliates’ understanding of and involvement in IEC CA activities. All four IEC CA Systems – IECEE, IECEx, IECQ and IECRE – now have e-learning modules available free of charge on the IEC website. The modules are intended to train developing countries on the IEC CA Systems, including how they operate, and how developing countries can get involved. The modules are split into three levels of knowledge, with short tests available between levels. IEC intends for developing countries to use this resource, in conjunction with regional ACAS events, to familiarize themselves with IEC CA procedures. 

Any affiliate country that has met the following criteria is entitled to request ACAS:

  • Officially declared the national adoption of at least one IEC International Standard used within the scope of one or more of the IEC CA Systems
  • Nominated at least one individual to use the Level 0 and Level 1 ACAS learning modules 

Results since the launch of ACAS

In June 2018, 29 countries had requested the ACAS status, 15 of those since July 2017: Bhutan, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Gambia, Guinea, Mauritius, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Togo and Uganda. 

20 countries have signed the ACAS Declaration, thus committing to accept IEC CA certificates, 14 of those since last year’s report: Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritius, Saint Lucia, Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Uganda and Uruguay. 

ACAS capacity building events 

IEC ACAS-COPANT-PTB regional seminar

The IEC, in collaboration with COPANT, the Pan American Standards Commission, PTB, the German National Metrology Institute and INACAL, held an IEC ACAS regional seminar in Lima, Peru, on 14-15 November 2017. 

IEC representatives gave an update on IEC activities and the Affiliate Country Programme. Delegates shared their national experiences throughout their participation in IEC as members or affiliates. Topics included the establishment of a National Electrotechnical Committee (NEC), how to structure a mirror technical committee, how to comment on working documents and participation in the IEC Mentoring Programme. The seminar also focused on the IEC CA Systems and ACAS. Representatives of the CA Systems shared information on IECEE certificates, on the IECEx application for mining activities, while other delegates shared on their experience of the application of IEC CA at the national level. 

Twenty-four participants (regulators and national standards body members from the region) from 12 countries as well as representatives from the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) attended the seminar. 

IEC ACAS-AFSEC Conformity Assessment Workshop

The IEC, in collaboration with AFSEC, held an IEC ACAS regional workshop, back-to-back with an AFSEC Conformity Assessment Committee (CAC) meeting. The workshop was organized as part of capacity building on conformity assessment for the African region. Topics covered included: IECEE and its CB Scheme, the main performance and safety aspects of electrical household appliances, and the efficiency of electric motors. 

The interest for many participants relied on how they could use the IECEE System for the purpose of controlling the influx of sub-standard electrical goods into their national markets. Even without the infrastructure to be issuing CA certificates at the national level, it is still possible to benefit from the IECEE certificates by recognizing and referring to them. 

Twenty participants from 15 countries including IEC members, IEC affiliates, and AFSEC members attended the workshop. 

Affiliate mentoring programme

The IEC affiliate country and its respective mentor commit for a period of two years to reinforce the NEC through several activities, including identifying and reaching out to relevant stakeholders, national adoptions and implementation of IEC International Standards, establishing mirror technical committees and participating in IEC work. 

So far, 14 affiliates have taken advantage of these partnerships with IEC members: Afghanistan – Malaysia; Bhutan – Sweden; Côte D’Ivoire – France; DR Congo – France; Ecuador – Mexico; Ethiopia – Germany; Gambia – Netherlands; Mongolia – Germany; Namibia – United Kingdom; Peru – Mexico; Rwanda – Austria; Senegal – France; Uruguay – Norway; Zambia – Austria. 

Mentoring meetings in Vladivostok…

During the General Meeting in Vladivostok, a number of bilateral meetings took place between mentors and mentees: Bhutan – Sweden, Côte d’Ivoire – France, DR Congo – France, Ecuador – Mexico, Mongolia – Germany met face to face and were able to review progress made so far and establish action plans. 

…and in Paris

In the context of the mentoring partnership between Senegal and France, experts from the NEC of Senegal (CEN-Sn) were invited by the French National Committee of the IEC to attend national technical meetings in France. The CEN-Sn has as main objectives to provide Senegal with international electrotechnical standards adapted to national specificities and to enforce them for the sake of developing quality infrastructure and the supply of competitive products and services. The CEN-Sn delegation had the opportunity to exchange and benefit from the expertise of AFNOR and the French NC, by participating in certain technical meetings, presentations, and visits to the Federation of Electrical, Electronic and Communication Industries (FIEEC), to the Electricity Transmission Network (RTE) and to the National Laboratory of Metrology and Tests (LNE). 

WTO TBT Committees

The IEC attended the World Trade Organization (WTO) Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee meetings in November 2017, March and June 2018. The Commission presented its report highlighting activities of the IEC, its members, affiliates and regional centres geared to increasing the participation of developing and industrializing countries in IEC international standardization and conformity assessment activities. 

National adoptions

Since the launch of the Programme in 2001, more than 7 350 IEC International Standards have been adopted as national ones in 53 affiliate countries, seven of which have become IEC members. 

At the end of July 2018, 58 countries had established their NEC with representatives of the public and private sectors, and 32 had become Affiliate Plus. 

To qualify and upgrade to Affiliate Plus, countries have to fulfil two criteria:

  • Adoption of at least 50 IEC International Standards as national ones or for reference in national regulations
  • Establishment of a NEC with representatives from both public and private sectors 

Find out more information on the Affiliate Country Programme

Gallery
Françoise Rauser and Rosario Uría Former IEC Affiliate Country Programme Executive Secretary Françoise Rauser (left) and former Affiliate Leader Rosario Uría
Rojas Manyame and Thomas Robertson Affiliate Leader Rojas Manyame and IEC Affiliate Country Programme Executive Secretary Thomas Robertson
Participants in the Affiliate Forum in October 2017 during the IEC General Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia Participants in the Affiliate Forum in October 2017 during the IEC General Meeting in Vladivostok, Russia