Biobanks play an integral role in the life science industries, particularly in medical research and development. When Dr. Marta Castelhano, Associate Research Professor from Cornell University and Director of the Cornell Veterinary Biobank (CVB), approached A2LA with a request to create a program for the newly published ISO 20387:2018 General Requirements for Biobanking, we were happy to develop a program for Biobanking organizations. This initial effort was led by Accreditation Officer Jason Poore, now positioned as A2LA’s Contracts Manager, and later transitioned to Cory Arant, Program Manager for the Biological field in the Life Sciences department. A2LA created the initial program to facilitate the first ever ISO 20387 Biobank assessment for Cornell University. In order to be considered for ISO 20387:2018 accreditation, the biobank must acquire and store biological material and/or the associated data, as well as at least one other activity to include collection, preparation, preservation, testing, analysis, and distribution. Not only did CVB need to document its processes and maintain strict record retention according to the requirements of ISO 20387:2018, but they also had to meet the applicable requirements imposed by A2LA. True to A2LA’s vision of ‘Accreditation Accepted Everywhere’ the program must include applicable requirements set forth by ISO/IEC 17011:2017 and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).
In April 2019, CVB successfully received their accreditation demonstrating competence in their processes and activities in the field of Biobanking becoming the first biobank in the world to receive accreditation to ISO 20387:2018 – see below CVB press release:
Since that first assessment, led by Jason Poore and long-time biological assessor Tina Buffington, A2LA has performed 8 assessments resulting in 5 Biobanking organizations gaining accreditation. This is a giant step that our accredited Biobanks took towards ensuring the quality of their biological material is at the highest level for research and development purposes.
A2LA underwent our quadrennial Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) re-evaluation in June 2022; the first evaluation to include ISO 20387 Biobanking under the MRA. The APAC MRA Council rendered their affirmative recognition decision on October 15, 2022, marking A2LA as the first Accreditation Body in the world to achieve regional Mutual Recognition for our ISO 20387 Biobanking program.
World Accreditation Day (WAD)
World Accreditation Day 2022 was successfully celebrated on 9 June with the theme:
“Accreditation: Sustainability in Economic Growth and the Environment”
Information and materials associated with WAD are all available from the ILAC website: https://ilac.org/news-and-events/
The ILAC MRA
The ILAC MRA Annual Report 2021 and associated infographic was published in June 2022 and is available from https://ilac.org/publications-and-resources/ilac-promotional-brochures/.
Work to extend the ILAC MRA to include the accreditation of biobanks continues following the adoption of the following resolution during the 25th ILAC General Assembly in 2022: ILAC Resolution GA 25.09 The General Assembly endorses the recommendation of the ARC to extend the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) to include accreditation of biobanking as a Level 2 activity, to the criteria specified in the Level 3 normative document, ISO 20387. ILAC will therefore accept applications for recognition as soon as the documents within ILAC applicable to the MRA are updated to cover this new scope.
The relevant documents, ILAC P4, P5 and R6 have now been revised and published on the ILAC website. ILAC is therefore now able to accept applications from the regional groups for evaluation to extend their scope of recognition to the ILAC MRA to include this new activity.
The scope of recognition of the recognised regions to the ILAC MRA is available from https://ilac.org/ilac-mra-and-signatories/recognised-regional-cooperation-bodies/.
There are currently 108 signatories to the ILAC MRA representing 116 economies. The ILAC MRA covers recognition for accreditation in the areas of calibration (ISO/IEC 17025), testing (ISO/IEC 17025), medical testing (ISO 15189), inspection (ISO/IEC 17020), proficiency testing providers (ISO/IEC 17043) and reference material producers (ISO 17034). The list of signatories to the ILAC MRA is available from the ILAC MRA Signatory Search.
Case studies and research on the recognition of the ILAC MRA by governments and regulators are available from the Public Sector Assurance website. The website is a collaborative initiative of the INetQI members and there are over 330 case studies, 90 research papers and 60 supporting materials available to view.
The Business Benefits website a reference website designed to demonstrate the monetary value of standards, conformity assessment and accreditation for businesses. The website represents another successful collaboration of the INetQI partners with over 95 case studies categorised into 6 areas of value. All of the case studies identify a clear financial benefit. The site also includes more than 75 research papers.
The ILAC membership as at 20 September 2022 is:
The ILAC membership consists of 154 organisations from 129 different economies worldwide. Over 85,000 laboratories, 13,000 inspection bodies, 600 PTP and 250 RMP are accredited by the ILAC Full Members (signatories to the ILAC MRA).The latest statistics and graphs on the number of accreditation bodies, accredited laboratories, inspection bodies, PTPs and RMPs are available from the ILAC Facts & Figures page.
Decision to Establish a Single International Organisation for Accreditation
The work to establish a Single International Accreditation Organisation in accordance with the 2019 JGA Frankfurt Resolutions continues with the contractor, Dr.-Ing. Thomas Facklam continuing to work closely with the Joint Steering Committee established to oversee this project.
Most recently an Extraordinary meeting of the ILAC GA was requested by some members and held on 15 September 2022. The meeting focussed on specific topics associated with the establishment of the new single international organisation for accreditation. An update on the project was provided by the ILAC Chair and presentations on the specific topics being considered were provided by each of the Regional Cooperation Body members as well as the ILAC LC Chair representing the ILAC Stakeholder members. The meeting provided a platform for contributions from all ILAC members and IAF invited observers, with 29 in total taking the opportunity to present their views on the topics being discussed, in addition to the written comments provided via the meeting chat function.
An IAF/ILAC Joint General Assembly is scheduled for 10 November 2022, where the one organisation project will again be the focus for discussion.
All ILAC Committees, including the Executive Committee and the Joint IAF MLA and ILAC MRA Management (JMC), Joint Marketing and Communications and Joint Development Support Committees have held virtual meetings in 2022.
The IAF/ILAC mid-term meetings were again also held virtually in April this year and included meetings of the ILAC AIC and Inspection Committees. The online platform, registration process and management of these meetings was provided by Say Something Communications.
The Joint IAF/ILAC annual meetings for 2022 that were scheduled to be held as hybrid meetings with the in-person attendance at Le Westin, Montreal, Canada from 2 – 11 November 2022 will now be held as a series of virtual meetings. The schedule and registration information for these meetings have been distributed and registration is open.
In addition to the meetings noted above all ILAC Committees, Working Groups and Task Forces are continuing to progress the items on their work plans via a combination of email and remote meetings.
Information on future meetings and events, including major regional meetings, can also be found in the ILAC Calendar.
ILAC Liaisons and other International Activities
The current list of ILAC liaison activities includes:
ILAC Liaisons with ISO and ISO/CASCO Policy Committees
ILAC Liaisons with ISO/CASCO Working Groups/Task Forces
ILAC Liaisons with Other Organisations
A joint CIPM-ILAC Webinar titled: Digital Transformation in the context of Accreditation was held on 30 June 2022. It was aimed at accreditation body and laboratory staff and addressed topics including: the SI digital framework, digital reporting in an accreditation body, opportunities and challenges with the introduction of digital calibration certificates and a Q&A session. The video recording and related materials from this webinar are now available from the ILAC – BIPM partnership page on the website.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and ILAC have reviewed and re-signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in
August this year. The re-signing of the ITU-IAF-ILAC MoU continues to support and strengthen the three organizations’ commitment to cooperation and collaboration and the ongoing development of ITU-T’s Conformity and Interoperability (C&I) programme.
Information on ILAC’s partnerships, including copies of communiqués, joint procedures, press releases and MoUs, is available from the ILAC Partnerships page.
ILAC thanks all of the ILAC liaison officers, and their organisations, who volunteer their time to assist ILAC in carrying out these activities for the benefit of all ILAC members.
Stephanie Sun, the ILAC Project Officer returned from maternity leave on 1 August 2022 on a part-time basis.
The ILAC Secretariat staff currently includes: Annette Dever, Sharon Kelly, Hannah Yeoh, Rebecca Sheehan, Stephanie Sun (0.7 FTE), Rose De Rota (0.7 FTE), and Joelle Nicolas (0.8 FTE).
Documents and Brochures
Publications available since April 2022 include:
ILAC-P4:06/2022 ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement: Policy and Management
ILAC-P5:06/2022 ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement: Scope and Obligations
ILAC-R6:06/2022 Structure of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Agreement and Procedure for Expansion of the Scope of the ILAC Arrangement
ILAC-G19:06/2022 Modules in a Forensic Science Process
Follow @ILAC_Official on Twitter to receive the latest ILAC news, including information on meetings, events, liaison activities and new publications.
The April 2022 edition of ILAC News has been published and is available from https://ilac.org/latest_ilac_news/.
Subscribe to the latest news to receive updates from ILAC members and liaisons.
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.
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.|
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:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.