2018 marks the 25th Anniversary of IAF and also the 20th Anniversary of the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). At this point in time, I would like to highlight some points to show IAF’s significant development.
- The IAF was formed on 28 January 1993 in Houston, USA with representatives from 8 organizations.
- The IAF Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by 9 Accreditation Bodies to make IAF a fully operational organization on 9 June 1995 during the 6th IAF meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The first IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement for Quality Management System Certification became operational on 22 January 1998 when 13 Accreditation Body Members signed the Arrangement at the 11th IAF Plenary meeting in Guangzhou, China.
- IAF was legally incorporated on 27 September 1998 in the State of Delaware, USA.
- The IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement for Environmental Management System Certification and Product Certification became operational on 9 October 2004 at the 18th IAF Annual Meetings held in Cape Town, South Africa.
- The current structure of the IAF MLA, i.e. one MLA based on ISO/IEC 17011 with main scopes and sub-scopes, came into effect on 22 December 2009.
- A new procedure for processing IAF MLA sub-scope extensions in a more efficient manner was launched on 5 April 2018.
- The number of IAF Members now totals 108, with 83 Accreditation Body Members, 19 Association Members, and 6 Regional Accreditation Group Members.
- The IAF MLA now has 67 Accreditation Body signatories and 4 Recognized Regional Accreditation Groups with 4 main scopes and 9 sub-scopes.
The above is just a glimpse of significant changes of IAF during the past 25 years.
Looking at more recent developments, progress is also very encouraging.
- IAF Accreditation Body Members had accredited 6,681 certification bodies as of 2016, an increase of 9% over the previous year. A total of 1,644,357 valid management system certificates were issued by Certification Bodies accredited by IAF Accreditation Body Members as of 2016, an increase of 8% compared to the previous year.
- Implementation of ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 is progressing with a significant increase in the number of certificates transitioned between December 2017 and February 2018.
- Establishment of the IAF Database of Accredited Management System Certifications reached a new stage in May 2018 with signature of a contract between IAF Database, LLC, a company formed by IAF to manage the database, and a service provider for the database.
- IAF MLA sub-scope extensions were granted to 3 Recognized Regional Accreditation Groups and 39 Accreditation Bodies during the IAF/ILAC Mid-Term Meetings in April 2018.
- IAF continues to enhance engagement with relevant international organizations, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), World Trade Organization/Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (WTO/TBT), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the World Bank, etc.
- Significant progress has been achieved with implementation of the Strategic Plan (2015-2019). The IAF Executive Committee has also commenced preparatory work for developing a new IAF Strategic Plan.
Looking forward, the future is bright.
- Acceptance of and interest in accreditation is increasing. Case studies from 64 economies and relevant research papers on the Public Sector Assurance website (http://www.publicsectorassurance.org/) and Business Benefits website (www.business-benefits.org) provide evidence supporting the value of accreditation, including accredited conformity assessment, and the IAF MLA.
- IAF has built a structure and culture of continuous improvement which supports different categories of Members working together and engaging with partner international organizations with an aim to facilitate trade, support regulators, protect consumers and the environment, and facilitate sustainable development through the IAF MLA. I shared relevant IAF experience in this respect at the 5th Annual Meeting of International Organisations organized by OECD on 12 April 2018 with the theme “Better International Rules for Inclusive Globalization”.
- We will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of IAF, hold a Business Improvement Forum jointly with ISO/CASCO and Industry Members, discuss strategic planning and make new progress on key projects, including joint working items with the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), during the 2018 Joint IAF-ILAC Annual Meetings in Singapore.
All of us are writing the history of IAF. As one of you, I am very honored that I have participated in and witnessed contributions made by many participants from IAF Members and relevant partner organizations to the development of IAF since the 3rd IAF meeting held in January 1994.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you for your support to IAF in the past and extend my warm welcome to you to attend the 2018 Joint IAF-ILAC Annual Meetings from 22 to 31 October 2018 in Singapore.