Taking the lead, moving ahead

IEC General Secretary’s address to Council

By Claire Marchand

IEC General Secretary and CEO Ronnie Amit reviews the IEC's activities and achievements in the 12 months since the 2010 IEC General Meeting.

In 2011, the IEC published two high-impact standards that received exceptional media coverage In 2011, the IEC published two high-impact standards that received exceptional media coverage

The way ahead

The Masterplan 2011, approved by Council in September 2011 and made available to all delegates at the General Meeting, is the IEC’s action plan for the coming years. It states in clear terms what the next steps are for the Commission in terms of technology watch, positioning in the market, cooperation with other regional and international organizations, governance and structure, processes, financial stability.

The Masterplan is the document on which all future actions and decisions of the IEC will be built. It shows the way ahead, emphasizes the capital role of National Committees in IEC operations and the part played by leaders and technical experts, as well as the importance of the IEC Family on the global scene.

Truly global interaction

IEC membership has been stable in the past year. With 163 countries – 81 members and 82 Affiliates – the IEC truly has a global reach nowadays. Interaction between members and Affiliates is stronger than ever before, thanks, in particular, to those member NCs (National Committees) that have taken it upon themselves to support and guide Affiliates in their region or even further away. Amit thanked the NCs for their commitment and stressed the fact that they are the building blocks of the IEC, which could not operate without them.

Standardization Management Board

The SMB has started to put in place processes that will allow TCs and SCs to become more efficient in their work and will increase effective participation of P-Members.

Since Seattle, the SMB has approved the establishment of two new TCs (Technical Committees). IEC TC 117 deals with solar thermal electric plants while IEC TC 119 covers printed electronics. The IEC also set up PC (Project Committee) 118 to develop standards on Smart Grid user interface.

The SMB also approved the transformation of SBs (Sector Boards) into Advisory Committees, with SB 1 becoming ACTAD (Advisory Committee on Electricity Transmission and Distribution) and SB 4 ACTEL (Advisory Committee on Telecommunication).(see also separate article in this issue)

Market Strategy Board

The publication in 2010 of the first IEC White Paper “Coping with the Energy Challenge – The IEC’s role from 2010 to 2030”, resulted in invitations to participate in several meetings covering energy efficiency, such as the World Forum on Energy Regulation and the World Energy Congress 2013.

A second White Paper on Electrical Energy Storage is about to be published that will include recommendations on research, regulation and standardization as well as the integration of large-scale storage and large-scale renewable energies into the grid. (see also separate article in this issue)

Conformity Assessment

All three IEC CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems keep growing and are financially sound.

CAB is preparing for the systems-approach in conformity assessment and, to respond to market needs, set up working groups charged with developing CA strategies for wind turbines and marine energy systems. Another working group covering electrical energy efficiency made a survey for Affiliate countries which raised much interest and had a very high return rate. (see separate article in this issue)

Technical work

In the past year we published 438 International Standards, with more than half of those developed in less than three years. Our average development time for standards is now 34 months. Today 92 % of all standards are published in less than five years – 57 % of all standards are issued in less than three years – and there is still room for improvement for the remaining 8 % that take more than five years to produce. Industry needs standards and technology is evolving at a very rapid pace. This means the IEC still has to catch up on this.

Globally relevant standards

In 2011, the IEC has published two high-impact standards – specifications for the universal cell phone charger and for EVs (electric vehicles) plugs and sockets – which have received exceptional coverage both in international media and the specialized press. The two standards in question are IEC 62684, Interoperability specifications of common external power supply (EPS) for use with data-enabled mobile telephones, and IEC 62196, Plugs, socket-outlets, vehicle connectors and vehicle inlets - Conductive charging of electric vehicles.

Launch of the IEC/IEEE Challenge

The IEC/IEEE Challenge 2012 was launched on 28 October 2011, coinciding with the IEC Council Statutory Meeting in Melbourne, in the presence of IEEE Executive Director Jim Prendergast. The competition is targeting the academic world and hopes to increase its understanding, recognition and interest in standardization. (see also separate article in this issue)

Affiliates celebrate 10th anniversary

The IEC Affiliate Country Programme, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2011, has proved to be a very successful tool to ensure that developing nations use and adopt international standards. To date, more than 3 500 standards have been adopted at the national level. The programme has helped and is still helping those countries to comply with the WTO (World Trade Organization) TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) Agreement and encourages active participation in technical work.

The Affiliate team is expanding. The Programme has a new Leader since June 2011, Phuntsho Wangdi, Director of BSB (Bhutan Standards Bureau), who took over from Carlos Rodríguez in June 2011. Rodríguez is now Coordinator for Latin America and will continue to work with Affiliates in his region. The team also includes Evah Oduor, the Coordinator for Africa, and the Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. (see also separate article in this issue)

The future of the IEC

"We need to increase the services we offer to the community. We need to move the IEC at a greater pace. We need to build on the successes we have. We have to lead the way – it’s the only way ahead."

Ronnie Amit, IEC General Secretary & CEO

For the second time, the IEC had a Young Professionals Workshop during its General Meeting and welcomed 59 participants from 30 countries, who, together with the three leaders from the 2010 event, showed great interest in the work of the IEC. In addition to the workshop, they had the opportunity to sit in at the SMB and several TC meetings. Their feedback was extremely positive, with 90 % of expectations fulfilled and 91 % of participants planning to get more involved in IEC work. The group also elected the three 2011 leaders, who in the coming year will represent the group and share its ideas with the IEC community. (see also separate article in this issue)

In his conclusion Amit said that “we need to increase the services we offer to the community. We need to move the IEC at a greater pace. We need to build on the successes we have. We have to lead the way – it’s the only way ahead.”

Ronnie Amit addresses Council Ronnie Amit addresses Council
Ronnie Amit addresses Council Amit answers questions from Young Professionals
In 2011, the IEC published two high-impact standards that received exceptional media coverage In 2011, the IEC published two high-impact standards that received exceptional media coverage