Fujisawa gave an update on CAB activities in the 12 months since the Melbourne GM (General Meeting). He briefly reviewed the progress made by CAB WG (Working Group) 15: Marine energy CA (Conformity Assessment) and WT CAC (Wind Turbine Certification Advisory Committee). Both are entrusted with the development of a globally harmonized framework(s) for conformity assessment in their respective fields under the auspices of IEC.
International and regional cooperation
Cooperation with international and regional entities was high on the CAB agenda this year. Facilitating trade and access to the global markets, reducing technical barriers to trade, and eliminating the duplication of efforts among CA organizations are major benefits gained by collaborating closely at all levels.
Cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission
Prior to the Oslo GM, an IEC delegation met in Moscow with the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission), representing the Customs Union of the Federation of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The outcome of this high-level meeting was the signing of a letter of intention stipulating that all three EEC countries should be able to take full advantage of the IEC CA Systems.
Also in October, Kazakhstan officially applied to become a member country of the IECEE, the IEC System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components.
At the CAB meeting in Oslo, Standards Malaysia made a presentation on ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration initiatives in standards and conformance, highlighting important progress among ASEAN member states in mutual recognition of CA results. ASEAN member states’ harmonized regulations already recognize the IECEE System as competent in assessing certification bodies and testing laboratories, thus qualifying them to be designated bodies in ASEAN. While CAB considers this as a crucial development, it further recommends ASEAN to fully accept all internationally valid CA results, such as test reports and certificates issued by the IEC CA Systems.
CAB proposed to invite regional representatives to its future meetings and also to provide such regional organizations with information on international developments on a common regulatory framework. As an example, CAB cited the UNECE’s best-practice recommendations concerning IEC International Standards and the CA System in the field of explosive atmospheres, namelyIEC TC (technical Committee) 31: Equipment for explosive atmospheres, International Standards and IECEx, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres.
Assessment and re-assessment
CAB also approved the revised MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between IEC, IAF(International Accreditation Forum) and ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation), which was signed by all parties at the IAF/ILAC Joint General Assembly meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The new agreement includes initial assessments of certification bodies and testing laboratories that are accredited by IAF and ILAC Member Accreditation Bodies and operate as registered members of the relevant IEC CA System(s). The original MoU only took re-assessments into consideration for “unified” assessment.
Taking developing countries onboard
In his report to CAB, Affiliate Leader Phuntsho Wangdi explained that the Affiliate Country Programme of the IEC needed help and support from CAB and the IEC CA Systems to develop conformity assessment activities at the national or regional level. Practical collaboration is already taking place and should continue to grow – earlier this year, IECEE granted IEC Affiliate Countries to attend the management committee meetings of the IECEE System as observers. To that end, CAB mandated its WG 11: Systems issues, to work out, together with the CA Systems and the Programme, the modalities of providing support to countries in developing their understanding and use of CA services. Decisions concerning the enhanced cooperation with Affiliates should be made at the next CAB meeting.
IEC CA Systems
The Systems’ financial results for 2011 were approved by CAB. All three Systems showed excellent financial health and are developing well in all respects.