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SADCA Publishes 2022 to 2026 Strategic Plan

The Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA) has published its 4th strategic plan. The strategic plan covers the period 2022 to 2026. The process started with the development of the Strategic Plan survey questionnaire which was subsequently circulated to stakeholders for completion. Inputs from stakeholders were then collated and analysed, following which two strategic planning workshops were successfully held, one with stakeholders on 25 March 2021 and then with the SADCA Executive Committee on 26 March 2021. All inputs were then consolidated into a draft strategic plan which was then circulated to all members for comment. The comments received were then considered by the Executive Committee following which the final draft strategic plan was circulated to all members and subsequently approved through Resolution 14 of the 25th SADCA General assembly held on 6 May 2021.

With a fresh design and colourful outlook, the 2022 to 2026 Strategic Plan covers the Chairperson’s Statement; SADCA mandate and aims, vision, mission and values; situation analysis; performance environment; organisational environment; performance information; and links to the long-term infrastructure and other capital plans, private partnerships, financial plan, budget, and indicator description.

Speaking during the SADCA General Assembly, Mrs Maureen Mutasa (SADCA Chair) thanked members for their input into the strategic plan; Dr Josias, the facilitator of the strategic planning process; and the SADCA Executive Committee for their hard work which has resulted in a well thought out strategy for the 2022 to 2026 period, during which the SADCA Mutual Recognition will be internationally recognized.  A plan that supports the SADC industrialization thrust and sustainable development in the region, facilitates trade and regional integration and enhances human capital development and competence. A plan where SADCA will work towards self-sustenance of its operational activities and a plan where SADCA’s thrust will also focus on awareness creation on its MRA and designed to also increase membership in SADCA especially private sector involvement in its activities. A plan that avoids unnecessary duplication with the African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC). The 2022 to 2026 Strategic Plan was uploaded on the SADCA website and the link circulated to stakeholders for notification of its upload.

The Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Accreditation (SADCA) is a Cooperation of accreditation bodies in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. SADCA is a Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Cooperation Structure established under the TBT Annex to the SADC Protocol on Trade. SADCA currently has a total of 20 Members:

  • 3 Arrangement Members (MRA Signatories);
  • 12 Ordinary Members;
  • 0 Associate Members; and
  • 5 Stakeholder Members.

 

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EA: How Quality Infrastructures support transition to Industry 4.0

The 2021 edition of the International Congress of Metrology, held in Lyon, France, closed its doors on 9th September 2021. It was the first time the Congress was organised based on a hybrid model: conferences and roundtable talks being held simultaneously in Lyon and broadcasted online to the registered participants. This new model was very successful.

EA has been a partner of the Congress for 20 years and routinely present on the roundtables. In 2021, Maureen Logghe, the EA President, was accepted as a key speaker on the roundtable on “The Role of Metrology and Quality Infrastructures in the Transition to Industry 4.0”. We asked Maureen for her feedback on the event.

Being a speaker in a hybrid format, Maureen explains, creates new constraints and invites you to be creative when communicating to the public and presenting remotely. It takes some time to adapt to the hybrid model, particularly when engaging with participants you can see and, at the same time, those you cannot see and are raising their questions in writing only. Normally you would be able to interact directly with the audience, you can read the faces and how well your message has been received. This is not the case however, when you cannot see the participants on the other side of the screen. You have to change your method of communication to make sure all questions are answered and issues are communicated clearly. Exciting challenge!

On 8th September, the roundtable brought together all main actors of the international quality infrastructure involved in one way or another in what we call Industry 4.0. The EA President sat at the table with representatives of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC),, Organisation Internationale de Métrologie Légale (OIML), Industry, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

All recognised that Industry 4.0 is no longer an issue for future discussion but rather a challenge we are facing at present. In our daily life we already use ‘connected’ objects and the internet is present in every facet of life, as illustrated by our ILAC colleague in their presentation on digital energy meters in our house. In industry or services, the applications of digitalisation are many and create new challenges for metrology, calibration, conformity assessment and accreditation, but also standardisation and regulations.

In Europe, the European Commission made Industry 4.0 a key European-wide challenge with a number of projects and initiatives in the Information & Communication Technology fields. Cybersecurity is just one example. The Cybersecurity Act will cover many areas, products, processes, supporting higher security and performance while protecting personal data. European legislations have for some time already incorporated in their contents the key challenges brought forward by Industry 4.0. however legislation should be future proof.

On the standardisation side, ISO/IEC 17011 has proved very recently to be up-to-date and fit for purpose as it already contained a definition of remote assessments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, its requirements enabled accreditation and accredited bodies to maintain their services remotely with the same level of reliability, competence and confidence. The standard requirements could be translated readily in the new procedures and processes supporting remote assessments. Working from home, by definition, has led to further development of existing and the introduction of new digital processes. ISO/IEC 17011, and the standards used for accreditation have not been an obstacle or a technical barrier. National Accreditation Bodies and Conformity Assessment Bodies have proven to be able to adapt and continue to meet the requirements. It has helped avoid discontinuity and maintain the quality chain in the market.

Testing of medical masks is a good example of how well the chain has been maintained, with manufacturers having to produce very quickly a lot of masks, laboratories to carry out the relevant tests and meet the urgent and big demand, accreditation bodies to perform the assessment of the labs and, ultimately, deliver accreditations to give confidence in the masks placed on the market.

The discussions around the table showed that all parties involved share converging views, interests and approaches. Industry 4.0 is not in the future, but in the present. Regulation, standardisation, conformity assessment, accreditation, all have had to adapt and anticipate “present future” changes. The issues of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence have been touched upon several times. Developing use of digital technologies, IA in particular in the many areas of metrology, calibration or in decision making processes gives rise to new challenges for conformity assessment and accreditation. All involved have to keep up with innovation and technology. EA and its members have proven to be innovative, developing use of technologies in their operations and taking up the new questions arising from use and exchange of personal data. Remote assessments have been implemented. Today, we are at the stage of sharing feedback and experience to reinforce our procedures while maintaining the necessary harmonisation. Back in 2017, EA had clearly prioritised digitalisation in its strategic development plan and now we can pick the fruits.

Even if convinced that the digital route is the route for the future, we have to be prudent. In the accreditation field, it cannot be sufficient just to only observe CAB staff performing tests and analyses remotely, there is still a need for further onsite assessment to see how they work. The human dimension is a major asset in conformity assessment processes. The purpose of accreditation remains confidence, it has not changed, and it cannot be based on virtual control only. Competence still needs face-to-face meetings, interviews and interaction. How to combine the tools and approaches will be the next challenge. It is already on the agenda for EA technical committees and EA members have a lot of experience to share, in many areas, from many different contexts and environments.

Furthermore the discussion in the roundtable panel showed that, individually, each actor cannot do it all. We are collectively, all involved in the quality infrastructure, that we will translate Industry 4.0 successfully in all aspects of economy and everyone’s daily life. This constitutes a fantastic incentive, we all have to make headway at the same pace, jointly.

Working together is nothing new for accreditors. Taking account of stakeholders and interested parties’ views and needs is well embedded in our daily work. We are ready and will continue interaction with all our partners, European and national regulators, industry, services, consumers, CABs. We are well aware of the risks and will take up the challenge.

 

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News from ARAC

1.     New ARAC MLA Signatory: Saudi Accreditation Center SAC

1.1   New ARAC MLA Signatory :

Following the acceptance of the Saudi Accreditation Center SAC as new ARAC MLA signatory, ARAC has 5 MLA signatories are the following:

ARAC MLA Signatory

Calibration

Testing

Medical

Inspection

QMS

EMS

FSMS

Product

Persons

EGAC

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

 

EIAC

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

GAC

Y

 

 

Y

 

 

 

 

 

JAS-AU

Y

Y

Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

SAC

Y

Y

 

Y

 

 

 

 

 

2.      ARAC Regional Workshops:

2.1   ARAC Regional Training Workshop on estimation and statement of uncertainty and the new version of “ILAC P14:09/2020 ILAC Policy for Measurement Uncertainty in Calibration

 With the participation of more than 100 ARAC AB’s personnel involved in the accreditation process [ARAC ABs staff, Lead Assessors, Technical Assessors and Technical Experts and decision makers], the ARAC online Regional on estimation and statement of uncertainty and the new version of “ILAC P14:09/2020 ILAC Policy for Measurement Uncertainty in Calibration” has been successfully conducted during the period 22nd – 23rd  June 2021. The regional training workshop that was very ably facilitated by Eng. Mahmoud Eltayeb covered  the requirements and guidelines for the estimation and statement of uncertainty in calibration and will support ARAC ABs members to implement the new requirements of ILAC P 14, which is based on the Guide to Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM) and retains the common understanding of the term CMC from the joint declaration issued by the BIPM and ILAC.

2.2   ARAC Regional Workshop on ISO/IEC 17043

 ARAC conducted during the period 04 – 07 July 2021 an online regional training workshop on accreditation of the PT provider according to the requirements of ISO/IEC 17043 “Conformity assessment – General requirements for proficiency testing” with the participation of more than 100 ARAC AB’s personnel involved in the accreditation process as well as representative from ARAC Stakeholders’ members. These training sessions will support ARAC AB members to extend their activities in order to include the accreditation of proficiency testing providers, which covered the requirements for the competence and impartiality of proficiency testing providers and consistent operation of all proficiency testing schemes.

[Photo 01: Participants at the ARAC Peer Evaluators workshop on ISO/IEC 17043]

2.3   Regional Workshop on Metrological Traceability and the new version of ILAC P10:07/2020 ILAC Policy on Metrological Traceability of Measurement Results

 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 Metrological Traceability and the new version of ILAC P10:07/2020 ILAC Policy on Metrological Traceability of Measurement Results”. These online training sessions covered the Principles of metrological traceability and the new ILAC policy on metrological traceability of measurement results, which shall be implemented by the ARAC ABs MLA signatories no later than July 2021.  In addition, the training sessions covered the ILAC policy with regard to the metrological traceability requirements for the conformity assessment activities where measurement is involved

[Photo 02:  Participants at the ARAC Regional Workshop on Metrological Traceability]

2.4   ARAC Regional Workshop on the new version of P15:05/2020 Application of ISO/IEC 17020:2012 for the Accreditation of Inspection Bodies

 ARAC conducted during the period 11-12 April 2021 an online regional training workshop on the new version of P15:05/2020 Application of ISO/IEC 17020:2012 for the Accreditation of Inspection Bodies with the participation of more than 80 ARAC AB’s personnel involved in the accreditation process as well as representative from ARAC Stakeholders’ members. This workshop will support ARAC AB members to prepare for the implementation of the new issue of ILAC P 15, which shall start in November 2021. 

3.      Arab Accreditation week:

In its second edition and on the occasion of World Accreditation Day 2021 ARAC organized the Arab Accreditation Week [AAW] during the period 06-11 June 2021 under the theme “Together towards enhancing the role of accreditation in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region”.

Several on line activities held during the AAW demonstrate the ways for further developing the accreditation infrastructure in the Arab region and highlight the pivotal role it plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region, in addition to capacity building activities that implemented to strengthen the ARAC members competencies.

3.1  Webinar on the benefits of ARAC MLA recognition to the ARAC Accreditation Body members and the benefits of accreditation to governments

The event, came 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 accreditation body members. By the end of the awareness sessions, the participants had a good understanding on the contributions of accreditation, ARAC MLA and its members for the benefits of:

  • Regulators,
  • Industries and economies,
  • Conformity assessment bodies

[Photo 03:  Participants at the ARAC Regional Workshop on the benefits of the ARAC MLA]

 3.2   Celebration of the WAD 2021

The online celebration covered interventions from ARAC and the regional partner organizations to highlight the role of accreditation in supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Arab region. In addition, examples have been shared on how accreditation and QI services may be applied to meet objectives such as increasing trade, addressing health and safety concerns, and improving the general overall quality of output at national and regional levels.

3.3   Webinar on accreditation in the digital era

This webinar aimed to review the best experiences from the ARAC Accreditation Bodies on how they operate so far under the specific situation of COVID-19 by using information and communication technologies while, most importantly, maintaining the integrity and a robust accreditation system. The event gave ARAC AB members a common understanding and a guidance on how to go digital in a harmonized way with an adequate digitalization tools to operate efficiently and effectively.

3.4   Webinar on gender inclusivity and diversity amongst ARAC accreditation body members:

Within the framework of the implementation of the ARAC gender policy ARAC organized exchange missions amongst the men and women representatives of the national accreditation bodies in the Arab region to share experiences and success stories in the field of gender inclusivity and diversity amongst their accreditation bodies, as well as to learn on the best international practices in gender responsiveness & integration within management and leadership.

[Photo 04:  Participants at the ARAC Regional workshop on gender inclusivity and diversity amongst ARAC ABs]

4.      New ARAC PT programs:

Since March 2021 and with the aim to enhance the measurement capability and traceability in countries and economies of the Arab region through a better regional scientific infrastructure, the following new PT programs has been implemented under the auspice of ARAC:

  • ARAC PT 003: Pesticides in food

Following the request of the ARAC Technical Committee to implement a third PT program on Pesticide in food ARAC launched a mapping in order to determine the number of the laboratories that can participate at this program and types or classes of pesticides. Based on the received feedback a new ARAC PT program ARAC PT 003 has been designed “Pesticides in Fruits and Vegetables” and a competent PT provider was selected to implement this PT program under the auspice of ARAC with the participation of more than 50 laboratories from the Arab region.

In addition, ARAC initiated the following three ARAC PT programs since April 2021 with the participation of more than 60 accredited laboratories in the Arab region:

  • 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”

It should be highlighted that that the results of the participation of the ARAC AB accredited laboratories at the ARAC PT programs are using in 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 contact details of ARAC Secretariat are:

ARAC Secretariat
Email : secretariat@arabarac.org
Tel: + 212 600 78 56 78
The ARAC website address is: http://www.arab-accreditation.org

 

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