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ISTA Seed Symposium 2022

Seed quality, health and identity are of paramount importance for the global economy and the environment and key for global food security. Therefore, the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) is holding this year’s seed symposium under the theme ‘Quality Seed for Sustainable Agriculture’ in Athens, Greece from 02-04 November.

To discuss most aspects of seed quality, the symposium brings together seed analysts, technologists, researchers, and managers from universities, research institutes, the government, and the seed trade. It provides a forum for discussion of the latest advances in seed science and technology, as well as an opportunity to exchange ideas and information

The 5 symposium sessions will each have a notable lead speaker, and are composed of presentations, poster sessions, and discussions – all presenting unique networking opportunities among others.

The detailed programme of the symposium, together with accommodation and venue information is available on the ISTA website and may be accessed from this link.

Registration is still open so please click here to take part of the upcoming ISTA Seed Symposium.

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Progress on the One Organisation Project

On the 29th October 2019 the IAF-ILAC Joint General Assembly (JGA) passed a resolution to establish a single organisation for accreditation based on a survey of Members. This allows for more effective and efficient communication and services as the two organisations already work closely to ensure consistent and complementary services. 

To support the One Organization Project a Steering Committee (SC) was established which executes the project with the support from a contractor reporting to the IAF/ILAC Joint Executive Committee (JEC). This article provides an update on the work to date.


General outline of the new organization

It was confirmed that the new international organization for accreditation would be a worldwide association of accreditation bodies and stakeholder organisations with an interest in the accreditation of conformity assessment bodies such as testing and calibration laboratories, inspection bodies, proficiency testing providers, reference material producers, biobanks, certification bodies for management systems, persons, products, processes and services, verification and validation bodies, with a membership consisting of accreditation bodies and stakeholder organisations throughout the world.


Articles of association

 The draft Articles of Association (AoA) have been through several rounds of review and the next stage will be to further develop these during the JEC meeting on the 8th November 2022. Progress made at this meeting will be reported back to Members at the JGA. Issues surrounding voting rights will also be considered following Member feedback.



The SC has reviewed options for the registration of the new body, taking into account political climate, costs, and administrative hurdles, New Zealand is currently being considered and appears to be the best option.



Under the current timelines the secretariat services needed to manage and operate the single organization will be defined and a tender for the new secretariat will be established by the end of 2022.


Next steps of the One Organization Project

08.11.2022 JEC meeting – discussion on the next steps in this process and confirming proposals for presentation at the November meeting of the IAF/ILAC JGA.
10.11.2022 JGA – information of the status of the project and the proposals from the JEC on how to proceed.
TBD IAF/ILAC Joint SC meeting to implement the agreed on the next steps in the One Organization Project.


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News from ARAC

1. ARAC trains newcomers to ARAC peer evaluation teams

Emirates International Accreditation Centre EIAC in Dubai hosted the 3rd ARAC newcomer peer evaluators training course during the period 27-31 March 2022 to impart future teams of ARAC peer-evaluators with a view to improving ARAC peer-evaluation activities.

The training targeted potential ARAC peer-evaluators from the assessors’ staff of ARAC Members. Its objective was to thoroughly introduce the ARAC peer-evaluation process in order to enable the participants to take part in future evaluations of ARAC accreditation body members.

Eighteen lead assessors from five ARAC accreditation body members took part in this training course. The participants were selected according to ARAC Procedures, while giving priority to those applicants who had more competence for the ARAC MLA scopes that lacked resources in terms of peer-evaluation (Inspection, Management System Certification, Calibration, Medical Testing, Product Certification and Certification of Persons).

The training was led by 2 trainers: Mr Gokhan Birbil from TURKAK and Mr Mahmoud Eltayeb from EGAC and the ARAC secretariat covered the topics related to evaluator training and management.
The training, based on both presentations and group work, considered the following points:

  • The evaluation process as set out in IAF/ILAC A2 an ARAC MD 002;
  • The use of ISO/IEC 17011;
  • The applicable IAF&ILAC documents;
  • The reporting process, IAF/ILAC-A3 and tools;
  • The evaluation of the AB’s office and witnessing;
  • How to get prepared for an evaluation;
  • How to report findings: phrasing, classification and closing;
  • The reporting procedure and the decision to be made in MLA Group meetings.

As a follow-up of this training course, the successful participants will take part in future evaluations of ARAC-Member Accreditation Bodies (ABs), first as trainee team members, then as team members.

2. Arab Accreditation Week 2022:

In its third edition and on the occasion of World Accreditation Day 2022 ARAC organized the Arab Accreditation Week (AAW) during the period 05-09 June 2022 under the theme “Together towards enhancing the role of accreditation in supporting the Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment in the Arab region”.

Several online activities held during the AAW demonstrated how the accreditation infrastructure in the Arab region could be further developed, drawing attention to how accreditation and conformity assessment provide global solutions for global issues and how ARAC is seeking to help organizations measure, manage and/or report sustainable economic growth and environmental performance, in addition to capacity building activities that implemented to strengthen the ARAC members competencies.

2.1 Discussion workshop on ARAC new Strategy 2023 to 2025

Further to the ARAC Executive Committee decision to develop the ARAC new strategy for the period 2023-2025, this workshop aimed to identify the main areas of specific importance for the development of the new strategy based on SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat) & PEST (Political, Economical, Social, and Technological) analysis of the current situation.

The inputs from these main areas will provide the basis for formulating the ARAC current position and a desired position for 2025. In order to reach the desired position, the new strategy should cover some strategic and specific objectives, actions and milestones, an updated vision and mission and a set of core values.

2.2 ARAC Capacity Building activities:

2.2.1 Regional Workshop on accreditation of Biobanking

Following the extension of the ILAC MRA to include the accreditation of biobanks as a Level 2 activity using, ISO 20387 “Biobanking – General requirements for biobanking” as the Level 3 normative document, this regional workshop will help Accreditation Body personnel and other ARAC stakeholders interested in the development of accreditation in this exciting area.

The main purpose of this workshop is to provide an overview of ISO 20387 and share the experiences of using the standard from both the Biobank and Accreditation Body perspectives and consider the steps needed to establish an accreditation program for Biobanking.

2.2.2 Regional Workshop on the new IAF Mandatory Document IAF MD 25

In order to harmonize the accreditation practices among ARAC members and support the enhancement of members’ capacities in operating existing accreditation schemes of common interest to ARAC members, ARAC organized the regional workshop on the new IAF MD25:2022 “Criteria for Evaluation of Conformity Assessment Schemes”. The objective of this session is to prepare the ABs as well as the certification bodies (CBs) in the Arab region to fulfil the requirements of this MD.

These online training sessions covered the minimum requirements for conformity assessment schemes (CAS) to be applied by ARAC member ABs when evaluating national, regional or international CAS to ensure they meet requirements specified in ISO/IEC 17011, Clause 4.6.3.

2.3 Webinar on the role of Accreditation and Conformity assessment in achieving sustainability

Economic and environmental objectives in the Arab region

The event, which comes in the context of the implementation of ARAC communication strategy, will further contribute to strengthen the visibility of ARAC inside and outside the accreditation community, supporting recognition and acceptance of the ARAC MLA and services/products provided under accreditation issued by the ARAC AB Members.

By the end of the awareness sessions, the participants had good understanding on how accreditation and conformity assessment provide global solutions for global issues and how ARAC is seeking to help organizations measure, manage and/or report sustainable economic growth and environmental performance.

2.4 Celebration of the WAD 2022

The online celebration included presentations from ARAC and the regional partner organizations to highlight the role of conformity assessment and accreditation in achieving Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment in the Arab region. In addition, examples shared on how accreditation and CA services may be applied to meet objectives such as increasing trade, addressing health and safety concerns, contributing to the fight against climate change and protecting the environment by ensuring compliance with standards.

3. ARAC Proficiency Testing Programs:

With the aim to enhance the measurement capability and traceability in countries and economies of the Arab region through a better regional scientific infrastructure, and with the participation of more than 300 laboratories from the Arab region, seven Proficiency Testing (PT) programs have been implemented so far under the auspice of ARAC:

  • ARAC PT 001 “Contaminants in Food: Trace elements (Arsenic, Cadmium, Copper, Cobalt, Fluoride, Iron, Lead, Molybdenum, Mercury, Manganese, Selenium, Total Sulphur, Zinc) in milk powder
  • ARAC PT 002 “SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Molecular Proficiency Testing Program
  • ARAC PT 003: “Pesticides in food
  • ARAC PT Program PT 004 “Veterinary residues in beef, chicken and fish
  • ARAC PT Program PT 005 “Dioxins and PCBs in food
  • ARAC PT Program PT 006 “Aflatoxins in agriculture crops

In addition, and following the request of the ARAC Technical Committee to implement a new SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Molecular PT Program, ARAC initiated ARAC PT 007 program in June 2022 with the participation of more than 70 accredited medical laboratories in the Arab region

It should be highlighted that that the results of the participation of the ARAC AB laboratories in the ARAC PT programs are using the peer evaluation process conducted by ARAC with the aim to check the compliance of ARAC ABs with ILAC/IAF A2 and ARAC applicable requirements. In addition, this PT program will enhance the measurement capability and traceability of measurements in countries and economies of the Arab region through a better regional scientific infrastructure.

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Accreditation of Notified Bodies, a key component for the functioning of the EU Single market for goods

The preferred means to demonstrate the competence of a notified body is accreditation by the National Accreditation Body. To ensure that the National Accreditation Bodies accredit notified bodies throughout Europe (EU, EFTA, and Turkey) in a harmonized way, EA published the Document on Accreditation for Notification Purposes (EA-2/17). The application of this document is mandatory for all National Accreditation Bodies when accrediting a conformity assessment body to become a notified body. EA-2/17 also applies to bodies performing assessment and verification of constancy of performance under the Construction Products Regulation.

The main purpose of the April 2020 revision was the definition of the preferred harmonised standard(s) for the accreditation of notified bodies. That has been done for each Union harmonisation legislation and module, the specific conformity assessment procedure.

Within three years from publication, all accredited notified bodies shall comply with EA-2/17:2020.

The EA Working Group “Accreditation for Notification” (AfN) performed a consultation among the National Accreditation Bodies regarding the implementation of EA-2/17:2020.

The results demonstrated that many National Accreditation Bodies have already implemented EA-2/17: 2020, which means that the accredited notified bodies comply with EA-2/17.

The most critical issue is to transition all accredited notified bodies to the (preferred) harmonized standard for accreditation as defined in EA-2/17. A National Accreditation Body can only deviate from the application of this standard for a specific legislation and module if the national authority requires another harmonized standard.

The notified bodies shall meet the requirements stipulated in the applicable harmonized standard and the additional requirements indicated in the Union Harmonisation Legislation. Relevant harmonized standards for the accreditation of Conformity Assessment Bodies seeking notification are:

  • ISO/IEC 17020 Conformity assessment — Requirements for the operation of various types of bodies performing inspection;
  • ISO/IEC 17021-1 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems — Part 1: Requirements;
  • ISO/IEC 17025 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories;
  • ISO/IEC 17024 Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons;
  • ISO/IEC 17065 Conformity assessment — Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes, and services.


CETA Webinar and partnership renewed between EA and SCC

The Delegation of the European Union in Canada and the Directorate-General for Trade, in collaboration with the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI) of the European Commission, organized a webinar called ‘How to make use of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) Protocol on Conformity Assessment and whether to extend its scope.

This online seminar was held on the 8th of September 2022 and was part of a series of events organized around the fifth anniversary of CETA’s provisional entry into force. The trade agreement remains a core driver of the EU’s privileged and solid relationship with this close ally and like-minded partner. The current geopolitical context creates momentum for even closer cooperation between the EU and Canada.

CETA includes a Protocol on the Mutual Acceptance of the Results of Conformity Assessment (the CA Protocol). This Protocol establishes mutual recognition of European and Canadian National Accreditation Bodies and Conformity Assessment Bodies to accept the results of each other’s conformity assessment. Implementing the CA Protocol enables the industry to certify products to Canadian requirements in the EU and vice versa. This mutual acceptance of conformity assessment results allows for cost reduction for businesses and consumers and freedom of trade by eliminating technical barriers.

EA and the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) signed a Bilateral Cooperation Agreement (BCA) which was renewed on 29th September 2022. The agreement establishes the conditions and procedures for cooperation between EA and SCC for technical support of activities aimed at mutual recognition of National Accreditation Bodies (NAB) and accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies operating in the EU and Canada and strengthens the implementation of the Protocol, specifically for more product sectors.

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Inaugural SADCA Regional World Accreditation Day Successfully Celebrated

The inaugural Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA) Regional World Accreditation Day (WAD) was successfully celebrated virtually on the 9th June 2022 under the theme: Accreditation: Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment. The theme highlights how accreditation supports 9 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the provision of a trusted platform for defining, developing and verifying requirements for products and services while helping to ensure and demonstrate that products and services meet specified requirements.

The SADCA Regional WAD workshop was attended by more than 170 participants from various backgrounds including the public and private sectors, SADCA members, conformity assessment bodies, and several associations within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

In his capacity as the SADCA Marketing and Communications Committee (MCC) Chair and the Master of Ceremonies for the event, Mr Edward Mmatli, introduced the presenters while SADCA Chair, Mr. Chankar Beekhun gave the welcome remarks.

The following presentations were given during the workshop:

  • Benefits and importance of the SADCA MRA by Mr Xavier Mugari, SADCA MCC Vice Chair;
  • Accreditation and Environmental sustainability by Mr. Shadrack Phophi, SANAS Accreditation Manager: testing Laboratories & GLP/GCP;
  • Accreditation: A route to protect the environment by ensuring compliance with standards by Ms. Pinkie Malebe, SADCAS Technical Manager;
  • How Accreditation has ensured sustainable economic growth and environment in Mauritius over the years by Mr. Robin Gopee, MAURITAS Director and Ms. Cheeshta Matadeen-Domum, MAURITAS Assistant Accreditation Manager; and
  • Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) by Mr, John Ndalamo, SANAS Accreditation Manager.

Presentations were followed by a screening of a video produced by ILAC and IAF entitled, “Accreditation: Sustainability in Economic Growth and Environment”. The audience posted comments and questions which were promptly addressed by the organisers and presenters, making for an interactive and engaging webinar experience. Ms. Tshenolo Molamu, SADCA MCC Vice Chair, gave the closing remarks. Various WAD promotional materials that were developed by ILAC and IAF were utilised during the preparation of the event.   It is hoped that following the successful regional World Accreditation celebration, SADCA would continue to organise the regional WAD event in future over and above the celebrations that are expected to be held at national level.

SADCA is a cooperation of accreditation bodies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It is a Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Cooperation Structure established under the TBT Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade. SADCA currently comprises of a total of 21 Members covering 15 out of the 16 SADC Member States:

  • 3 Arrangement Members namely: MAURITAS (Mauritius); SANAS (South Africa); and SADCAS a multi economy accreditation body servicing the accreditation needs of 14 SADC Member States);
  • 13 Ordinary Members; and
  • 5 Stakeholder Members.

SADCA’s mission is to manage and expand accreditation recognition arrangements that support SADC industrialisation, facilitate trade and regional integration through credible, reliable and sustainable conformity assessment services that will contribute to the SADC region’s sustainable development.

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INAB: Strategy for Accreditation, Ireland

The Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB), which is part of the Health and Safety Authority, published Ireland’s first ever Strategy for Accreditation in May 2022. The Strategy sets out a vision and an ambitious roadmap for accreditation from 2022 to 2026. It was developed through intensive stakeholder engagement, market analysis and consultations over the course of 2021. Four strategic priorities will direct the strategy for Accreditation over the 5-year period. As part of this Strategy, INAB wants to grow the number of accredited Conformity Assessment Bodies in Ireland to meet demand and support Irish industry. The Strategy for Accreditation will be delivered through specific and detailed actions across four key priority areas:

Under each of the priority areas are clear goals and objectives that are and will be implemented throughout the next 4 years. The implementation of the Strategy sets out a clear path for how Ireland can utilise the many benefits of accreditation. We are now in the process of implementing the strategy through the programme of work each year, that contain actions and key performance indicators for the year ahead.

The Accreditation Strategy may be accessed here.

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The participation of the Saudi Accreditation Centre in the World Accreditation Day 2022

In celebration of World Accreditation Day, the Saudi Accreditation Centre held a seminar under the title “Accreditation: Sustainability in Economic Development and the Environment” via remote video communication with participation from the international accreditation bodies and national centres. The seminar was attended by more than 100 specialists and interested attendees.

The Saudi accreditation centre covered many topics, including environmental commitment as a source of sustainability for the national economy, the waste management policy in Saudi Arabia and sustainable development goals. Moreover, Mr Hassan Al-Wahaibi, the Deputy Executive Director of Operations at the Saudi Accreditation Centre, gave a comprehensive presentation of the centre’s services, procedures, and regulations, in addition to the Jordanian accreditation system and the sustainable development goals in the Kingdom of Jordan.

Dr Adel bin Abdulrahman Al-Qaid, the Executive Director of the Centre, opened the seminar by speaking of the Centre’s goals and its contribution to reaching the Kingdom’s quality system to the top ten countries in the world by 2030 and the Saudi Accreditation’s endeavour to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation and quality in all sectors.

The seminar was attended by the Chief Executive Officer of the British Accreditation Authority, Mr Matt Gantley, who confirmed the essential role of accreditation in the quality infrastructure. Mr Gantley spoke about the contribution of mutual recognition between international accreditation bodies to make the exporting goods easier and less costly to reach new markets. Then, Mr Gantley stated that accreditation has a significant contribution to the UK economy, ranging from 600 million to one billion pounds sterling, according to studies by the London Group.

Dr Abdullah Al-Sibai, CEO of the National Centre for Waste Management, reported that the transition to a circular economy will contribute to a domestic product of around 120 billion by 2035. Dr . Al-Sibai also stated that the majority of recycling operations are not economically feasible. The National Centre for Waste Management in Saudi Arabia is currently working to issue technical guidelines on the mechanism for implementing waste management activities. The centre is focusing on achieving its mission based on the principle of circular economy to contribute to environmental protection and quality of life.

The seminar was also enriched by Eng. Lana Marashda, Director of the Jordanian Accreditation Unit. Eng. Marashda spoke about the direct connection of accreditation with sustainable development goals. Then, Eng. Marashda emphasised that the accreditation gives confidence in the purposes used in protecting the environment. At the end of her speech, she mentioned that water quality control laboratories in the Kingdom of Jordan are obligated to obtain accreditation.

Eng. Ahmed Al-Malki, the Chairman of the Council of the Saudi Society for Quality in Medina, stated that the environmental protection activities need to be approved to increase their credibility, and the presence of environmental protection associations contributes to creating a culture and providing initiatives to address environmental issues. He added that the global economy during the last twenty years had doubled fifteen times, and with this massive transformation, there has been an enormous consumption of natural resources that affects the concept of sustainable development and the need to ensure sustainable protection to preserve the resources for future generations.

The symposium closed with a speech by Eng. Yasser Al-Shehri, the Environmental Advisor at the National Centre for Monitoring Environmental Compliance in Saudi Arabia. Eng. Al-Shehri stated that the National Environment Strategy aspires to raise the level of environmental commitment for all development sectors and enables the National Centre for Environmental Compliance to the environmental commitment by considering the air quality and safety. The centre will have a monitoring station in every region and governorate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to calculate the spread of pollutants.

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Strategic Planning 2023 – 2027

Those companies who wish to survive in an increasingly globalized and competitive environment must set their goals and objectives accordingly. Strategic planning plays a crucial role in this case since it provides a set of tools to reach the organization’s potential. However, this is without losing sight of the fact that a rapidly changing and uncertain environment requires the development of internal operations that employ transcendental management processes. This is why, in an organizational environment, strategic planning is one of the tools that most contribute to developing solution alternatives, making decisions, applying best practices, evaluating results, and facilitating interdisciplinary communication and coordination, as it includes processes that extend beyond defining work objectives and direct efforts towards analyzing the environment and defining action-plans. In conclusion, strategic planning connects all the company’s teams, translating the company’s mission, vision, and goals into tangible results and reducing problems, stimulating participation, and stirring concern of all, since it is considered a process that enables the participants to optimize the use of their resources for the achievement of a desired objective. After renewing its planning exercise after five years, ONAC achieve most of its goals by 2022, including updating recognition agreements and increasing the number of accredited OECs. As part of this project, ONAC, with the assistance of SUMMUM, is developing a comprehensive roadmap that will guide its efforts between 2023 and 2027. In this roadmap, its purpose, its strategic pillars, and its objectives will be redefined, as well as indicators demonstrating the organization’s progress will be developed. Since August, several activities have been undertaken to determine the path ONAC has taken with respect to the strategic planning defined for 2017 to 2022. These activities include conducting focus groups with leading evaluators of accreditation schemes and conducting interviews with ONAC management personnel. In addition, this includes key members of entities involved in direct, indirect or government interests. The management team and process leaders participated in a three-day workshop at the beginning of September, in which innovative and dynamic work methodologies were employed in order to evaluate the current state of the ONAC team, as well as the external context. Based on the analysis of trends, it was possible to construct a SWOT matrix. This allowed the concepts for the creation of the redesigned MEGA, the strategic pillars, objectives, and indicators, to be grounded.

At the end of the workshop, an outdoor activity was held to reflect on the consolidation of the ONAC team and the challenging road ahead. It is expected that, by December 2022, the agency will make public the revised roadmap after approval by its Board of Directors. We will share the results with the management team and SUMMUM in the final quarter of the year. By doing so, we will be able to finalize the presentation for the Board of Directors in December. Following approval by the Board of Directors, the roadmap the next five years will be disseminated in the all works teams of our collaborators.


ONAC: Reference Material Producers Accreditation Scheme ISO 17034

The development of more accurate measuring equipment and the need for more accurate and reliable data for informed decision making in scientific and technological disciplines is a worldwide trend, In addition, the general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, as defined in the international standard ISO/IEC 17025, require them to adopt standardized and verified test methods, which can be achieved through the use of certified reference materials. In this way, reference materials are essential for the industry and supporting sectors. They have known and specified properties, with a given value, an associated uncertainty, and a statement of metrological traceability. The reference material certificate can only be issued by a Reference Material Producer accredited under ISO 17034, which is also responsible for assigning relevant property values and uncertainties.

The National Accreditation Body of Colombia, ONAC, through its survey for the Identification of Needs for the Development of New Accreditation Services, identified the need for the development of the service not only for testing, calibration and medical laboratories, who use these reference materials to establish metrological traceability in their measurement results, but also by different industrial sectors: metallurgical, construction, environmental sectors, among others, who agree that accreditation is a means to determine the technical competence of reference material producers to produce reference materials, and a marketing tool, given by the generation of confidence in quality given to end customers.

The development of the service was carried out with and funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) (under the Global Quality and Standards Programme (GQSP)), with the help of the U.S. accreditation body, the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). The latter guided training in ISO 17034 for technical professionals and internal ONAC staff involved in the accreditation and assessment processes under the international standard. ONAC was also able to observe a Reference Material Producer assessment conducted by A2LA. With this training, the ONAC evaluators of the scheme were qualified.

After a year and a half of work in the development of the service, the official launch of the accreditation scheme for producers of reference materials took place on July 6th, 2022 in Bogota, Colombia, with the participation of different entities such as: UNIDO, A2LA, the National Metrology Institute of Colombia (INM), the National Metrology Center of Mexico (CENAM), two laboratories interested in the accreditation service, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism of Colombia, among others, all which had interventions on the different perspectives of the importance of the service in Colombia and in the region.

Currently there are three laboratories interested in accreditation with ONAC under the scheme of reference material producers, knowing that accreditation with ONAC leads to continuous improvement in their management system and activities for the production of reference materials and gives them added value by meeting the quality requirements demanded by the market and articulation with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and is a differentiating element that will give them a competitive advantage in the provision of their services.

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EIAC Updates

EIAC attended ISO meetings

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC), Ms. Amina Ahmed Mohammed and other staff members attended the ISO annual meetings held on 19-23 September 2022 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Ms. Amina who is also the Chair of Arab Accreditation Cooperation (ARAC) participated as panelist in the ISO Session titled “Has covid launched the digital transformation of conformity assessment “. Mr. Marcus Long Chief Executive of Independent International Organisation for Certification (IIOC) was the moderator of this ISO session.

During a Q & A session, she said the accreditation community did organize itself promptly as soon as the pandemic was announced, fast response working groups were created, and both organizations shifted their work to remote work and applied their extraordinary event procedures that existed before the pandemic. ILAC and IAF did also make sure that the confidence in conformity assessment result is preserved especially during the pandemic where these services are sometimes literally vital. A website was created to collect questions and publish FAQs and guidance, this allowed Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs) and stakeholders from around the world to continue providing their services in a harmonized and effective way.

She further said, facing to such extraordinary event, there was surely a need to harmonize practices worldwide, that’s why ILAC, IAF and the regional Accreditation Groups did promptly establish the mechanisms to have an agreement on the way to continue providing CA services while preserving the confidence in the Multilateral arrangements. This is not limited to the pandemic situation. The pandemic did maybe accelerate the process, but the accreditation community was since many years harmonizing its digital work and the adaptation to new technologies imperatives.

In response to another question she said, the main purpose of accreditation is to provide confidence in the competence of the conformity assessment services provided within the national, regional and global quality infrastructure. By building this trust, accreditation facilitates trade, allows for comparability of results worldwide, and hence consumer protection and economic growth. With the development of new schemes and emergence of new industries that require conformity assessment activities, accreditation adapts by gathering the experts from around the world to establish the chain of trust and cover it by it Multilateral recognition arrangements.

Photo: EIAC CEO participating in ISO panel discussion.

EIAC accredited Kazakhstan Standards for Halal Certification

Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) accredited the Halal Certification Department of Kazakhstan Institute of Standardization and Metrology according to UAE halal standards. Ms. Amina Ahmed Mohammed CEO of EIAC presented the accreditation certificate in presence of Prime minister of Kazakhstan His Excellency Alikhan Smailov and Minister of Energy of UAE His Excellency Suhail Mohamed Al Mazrouei in a prestigious ceremony held in Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi.

Prime Minister of Kazakhstan along with his delegation was on a working visit to the UAE.

Photo: EIAC CEO presenting accreditation certificate to KAZ standards.

Ras Al Khaimah Police – the first Forensic Investigation Unit in Gulf Region to get accreditation according to the ISO/IEC 17020

The Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) has granted accreditation to the Forensic Investigation Unit of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Police in accordance with the ISO/IEC 17020 for the scopes of Questioned Documents, Fire and Arson Investigation, Forensic Autopsy & Histopathology, Clinical Forensic Medicine and Women and Child Examination. Ras Al Khaimah police is the first police unit in gulf region that got ISO/IEC 17020 accreditation for the subject scope.

Ras Al Khaimah is one of the seven Emirates of United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is known for its pharmaceutical, ceramics, cement industries, international trade through RAK Ports. Tourism is also a booming sector in Ras Al Khaimah. Its sandy beaches and islands attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

EIAC received approval from ISQuaEEA

The External Evaluation Award Committee (EEAC) of the International Society for Quality in Health Care External Evaluation Association (ISQuaEEA) has endorsed the

 EIAC Accreditation Standard for Healthcare Providers after independent assessment.

The EIAC Accreditation Standard for Healthcare Providers covers the scopes of Hospitals, Clinics, Day Surgery Centers, Fertility Centers, Home Health Services, Medical Tourism and Telehealth Services.

Arab regional forum on voluntary Third-Party Assurance (vTPA)

EIAC CEO participated in Arab Regional Forum on Voluntary Third-Party Assurance in Food Sector Approach and Modalities in the Arab Region, which was held in Amman, Jordan.

The forum was conducted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in cooperation with the Arab Industrial Development, Standardization and Mining Organization (AIDSMO) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Ms. Amina Ahmed Mohammed CEO of EIAC and Chair of Arab Accreditation Cooperation (ARAC) addressed the forum. She gave overview of the food safety quality assurance programs in the arab region. She informed the participants that a similar voluntary Third-Party Assurance (vTPA) certification scheme for Food establishments/ Food Business Operators (FBOs) was introduced in Dubai in 2008. The scheme was based on Codex Alimentarius CAC/RCP 1-1969 and regulatory body Food Control Department’s Requirements. She informed that Emirates International Accreditation Centre (EIAC) which was known as Dubai Accreditation Department (DAC) at that time initiated and started the accreditation scheme for third party food safety management systems certification bodies to certify food establishments/ Food Business Operators (FBOs) for HACCP based requirements. She said the EIAC’s experience can be utilized throughout the region in this regard.

Photo: EIAC CEO addressing Arab regional forum on vTPA.

Photo: Arab regional forum group photo.

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The first Italian research biobank compliant with UNI ISO 20387 has been accredited

The Multi-specialistic Biobank of the Pisan University Hospital has obtained accreditation in the biobanking of biological material of human origin. An important milestone, the result of international work and institutional dialogue.


A research biobank is a facility that collects, stores and manages biological material and related clinical data in an organized manner for research purposes. Biological material is an essential asset for the progress of biotechnology, an emerging sector on a world scale, which, according to OECD estimates, will have a huge weight on the world economy in 2030 and will account for 2.7% of global GDP overall.

Research biobanks have a wide impact and those who use deposited materials require guarantees regarding the collection, transport, storage, traceability and distribution of these materials. For the progress of research, it is therefore essential that the biological materials deposited are of quality, and that they are managed by the biobanks in order to ensure the reproducibility and comparability of the research results, through standard processes and procedures.

These needs are met by the accreditation of biobanks according to UNI ISO 20387:2019 “Biotechnologies – “Biobanking” – General requirements for biobanking”, specifying the general requirements of competence, impartiality and consistent functioning of the structures. The standard defines a broad framework of reference shared internationally for the collection, storage and subsequent use of samples, and represents the reference for requesting and obtaining accreditation.

On 14 July, the first Italian Biobank – the Multi-speciality Biobank of the Pisan University Hospital – obtained accreditation in compliance with UNI ISO 20387. The assessment process involved an assessment team with expertise in both biobanking and biological material of human origin, in the field of quality management systems, IT and information security, privacy and GDPR. The assessment was carried out on a documentary level and through on-site verification. It is the first Italian biobank to obtain this very important recognition.

The accreditation scheme and related regulations were developed by the Calibration Laboratories Department of Accredia, in collaboration with the National Institute of Health in Italy (ISS – Istituto Superiore di Sanità) and the Testing Laboratories Department of Accredia. The support of a Technical Consultation Table specifically set up and composed of the main institutions involved is also fundamental: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, National Institute of Health in Italy, Association of Zooprophylactic Institutes, Council for Research in Agriculture and analysis of the agricultural economy, BBMRI – Italy, National Institute of Metrological Research, JOINT RESEARCH UNIT MIRRI-IT, National Order of Biologists, RIBES.

A result achieved thanks to the collaboration between Accredia and the Ministry of Health with the launch of a Pilot Project which in 2021 involved three Biobanks belonging to three Scientific Institutes for Research, Hospitalization and Healthcare (IRCSS) in the preliminary assessments in compliance with the standard UNI ISO 20387.

Accreditation provides a clear and reliable index of the capabilities and adequacy of the structure in terms of competence, impartiality and consistent functioning, in line with the international standard. Furthermore, the assessment process preparatory to the issue of the accreditation certificate provides valuable information to support the Biobank in the fundamental process of simplifying the procedures, favouring a potential saving of time and money.

As for the results, accreditation increases confidence in the production of the biobank and ensures that interested parties comply with the crucial requirements, contributing to the progress of scientific research in the sector.

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