Shaping the future

IEC CAB focuses on the evolution of IEC Conformity Assessment

By Claire Marchand

Highlights of the IEC CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) meeting that took place in Tokyo, Japan, during the 78th IEC General Meeting.

The wire Cyber security was on the CAB agenda

A tribute to Hiromich Fujisawa

The Tokyo meeting was the last one chaired by IEC Vice-President and CAB Chairman Hiromichi Fujisawa who will step down at the end of the year. To mark the occasion, CAB officers and members expressed their gratitude for his six years of successful leadership and legacy. IECEE Chairman Ron Collis – the longest-serving current Chairman of an IEC CA (Conformity Assessment) System – gave a tribute to Fujisawa on behalf of the IEC CA community and presented him with a souvenir booklet. IECEx and IECQ Executive Secretary Chris Agius presented Fujisawa with a crystal decanter and four crystal glasses each engraved with one of the four IEC CA Systems names. Fujisawa received a very hearty round of applause from all in attendance. (see e-tech article on Hiromichi Fujisawa in this issue)

CA governance

Discussions on the issue of CA governance began in 2013 at the IEC Council and CB (Council Board) levels and led to the formation of a Task Force, CB-TF, whose Convenor was the CAB Chairman.

After consultation of interested parties (CAB and CA Systems representatives), a proposal in two parts was approved by the CB in June.

The first part called for a change in CAB membership, from 12 to 15 members, of which six, representing China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and USA, would be automatically appointed members.

The second part consisted of a request for CAB to implement a series of recommendations concerning the introduction of new services, and how to manage a quick and efficient integration of those either into existing Systems and Schemes, or into new ones.

The CAB Chairman proposed to set up a STF (Special Task Force) to address these issues. The STF will start its work early in 2015 at a kickoff meeting to be held back-to-back with an IECEE Management Committee meeting. The STF is expected to consider its own terms of reference, the target date of the final group output and methods of consulting stakeholders, before getting back to CAB with an action plan.

The governance issue is key for the future of IEC CA activities and how they are managed.

Promotion of IEC CA activities

One of the decisions made by CAB concerned the promotion of IEC CA activities. WG (Working Group) 14: Promotion, was re-established. Based on the IEC Masterplan implementation plan, the WG will define its terms of reference and scope as well as priorities to create an action plan.

The first task of the WG will be to collect information, identify existing material within the IEC, look at what other organizations are doing to promote their activities, and pinpoint areas where new items need to be developed.

The idea is to create a “toolbox” of promotional material conveying a common message that IEC CA people can use when talking to interested parties, including legislators and regulators, at conferences and international events. The objective is to increase awareness and reach out about what the IEC has to offer in terms of conformity assessment.

Developing countries in particular could benefit greatly from using the IEC CA services to ensure that the products they import are safe and reliable. Why reinvent the wheel? Relying on certificates issued under the IEC CA Systems for all electrical and electronic equipment, they can concentrate on other crucial issues – food safety for instance – to protect their population.

Cyber security

WG 17: Cyber security, met in August for the first time and Ron Collis, its Convenor, gave a report to CAB in Tokyo. He explained that the focus of this first gathering was mainly on industrial automation security, but that the scope was much larger.

In industrial automation, the issue of cyber security is of great concern to industry and the establishment of IEC CA services in that field has to move forward fast.

There are several levels that need to be taken into consideration:

  • product level – the product has to be free of all cyber risks (viruses, worms, etc.) at the time of purchase
  • systems level – when installed, the system has to be secure to minimize the possibility of creating openings for cyber attacks
  • maintenance level – because cyber threats evolve or new components are integrated into the systems, security needs to be updated and upgraded constantly.

At the systems and maintenance levels, personnel competences, expertise and skills have to be certified as well.

Beyond industrial automation, other issues, such as data protection and privacy, have to be taken into account. The technical element – to ensure that data cannot be read or corrupted by unauthorized persons – is of concern to the IEC and should be standardized. The legal or regulatory element – who has the right to see the data – is in the hands of governments and varies from one country to another.

Ron Collis explained that cyber security required a systems approach to conformity assessment, including a systems-integration level and an asset-owner (factory) level comprising personnel competence and process certification.

Relations with international and regional organizations

Three international or regional organizations were invited to make presentations to CAB: IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and GCC/GSO (Gulf Council Cooperation/Gulf Standards Organization).


The first to take the floor was Rudolf Kempener of IRENA who began by introducing his organization as the RE (renewable energy) voice, advisory resource and knowledge hub for 170 governments. Based in Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates), their services include renewables readiness assessments, assistance with renewable grid integration strategies and renewable energy roadmaps. He explained that since IRENA was focused towards government ministries and regulators, and IECRE was focused towards the RE industry and financial interests, there could be synergy-building opportunities for cooperation between the two bodies.

Kerry McManama, IECRE Executive Secretary, confirmed that due to the complementarity in their respective audience focus, there were certainly opportunities for synergy-building, and that IECRE would be interested and encouraged to collaborate with IRENA.


Aderina Panggabean of ASEAN first spoke about the organization’s free trade area, established in 1992, initially with limited scope, which had been the subject of planned expansion over the past 20 years. In 2004, 12 priority sectors were targeted for harmonized technical regulations (AHEEERR) and in 2008 a blueprint for the establishment of the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) by 2015 was created. Its scope includes the harmonization of standards.

She then talked about the ACCSQ (ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality), also established in 1992 to address the issues of measurement, standards, testing and quality, and the elimination of technical barriers to trade. Amongst the priority sectors was electrical and electronic equipment. On the CA side, TLs (testing laboratories) must be signatory members of the APLAC MRA (Asia-Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Agreement) and members of the IECEE CB Scheme; CBs must be signatory to the PAC MRA (Pacific Accreditation Cooperation MRA) and members of the IECEE FCS (Full Certification Scheme). This is the basic infrastructure for AHEEERR (ASEAN Harmonized Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulatory Regime).


Basem Salameh began his presentation on the GCC/GSO by introducing the GCC. Created in 1981 with objectives to unify regulations in various fields, the GCC Economic Agreement (revised in 2001) has the objectives to establish a Regional (Gulf) single Market and a Customs Union in which goods and services available in one Member State may be freely available in all others. The GCC strategic deployment was created to achieve these goals through the removal of technical barriers to trade and achieving consumer protection through the setting-up of essential safety and security requirements and conformity assessment procedures to them. To help with this, the GSO was established in 2004. GSO has a roadmap which includes the development of GRSPM (Gulf unified Regulatory System for Product Monitoring), the creation of a Gulf Conformity Marking, a unified regulatory regime for GCC market surveillance and close cooperation with IEC. In 2013 GAC (Gulf Accreditation Centre) was created to provide accreditation services to testing and calibration laboratories, certification bodies and inspection bodies.

In the second part of his presentation, Salameh introduced the Gulf LV TR (Gulf Technical Regulations for Low-Voltage Electrical Equipment and Appliances), a document that will enter into force in July 2016. The Gulf LV TR defines a process based on two risk categories, the lower risk products requiring SDoC (Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity) and the Gulf Conformity Marking (G Marking) which will be affixed by the manufacturer or supplier. Products in the higher risk category will require type examination by a Notified Body or by a certification body participating in the IECEE CB Scheme , and the G Marking which will be affixed by a Notified Body. All products will be conformant with Gulf Standards or IEC International Standards including any national deviations.

Hiromich Fujisawa Hiromich Fujisawa chaired his last CAB meeting in Tokyo, Japan
The wire Cyber security was on the CAB agenda
Signs In the coming months, a Special Task Force will devise an action plan on CA governance