June 9th 2011 will mark World Accreditation Day, a global initiative jointly established by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities.
As in previous years, the day will be celebrated across the world with the hosting of major national events, seminars, and press and media coverage, to communicate the value of accreditation to Government, Regulators and the leaders of the business community.
The theme of the day this year will focus on how accreditation is used to support the work of Regulators. Nationally, there is greater recognition of accreditation, in particular from Regulators, who are adopting accreditation as a mechanism to deliver a multi-discipline solution that can support or act as an alternative to Legislation.
In complex and highly competitive markets, confidence is required when products or services are traded between economies. Such reassurance is underpinned by accreditation. Governments and Regulators, have come to appreciate the importance of credible accreditation programs that are based on internationally-recognized standards. With restricted budgets, many Regulators can no longer do it all themselves and increasingly, they must rely on third-party organisations to support their regulatory objectives. When they do so, they need a fair and meaningful basis for identifying qualified and competent providers. Accreditation provides this declaration of competence.
The influence and use of accreditation continues to grow across a wide range of economies and domestic policy areas. This was highlighted in a survey of the ILAC membership in 2010, which confirmed the growing use of accreditation by Regulators in all the 55 economies that responded.
However, there are still many more policy areas in which accreditation could be introduced as an alternative to regulation from healthcare, health and safety management, education, and waste management, to name but a few.
World Accreditation Day provides an excellent opportunity for the accreditation community to extend its influence and demonstrate how accreditation can be applied to a wide variety of assessment, approval or evaluation tasks that can be used to address a wide range of Regulatory requirements.
A short promotional video supporting World Accreditation Day 2011 has been produced and can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgDJlXdUEwI
Joint Statement from ILAC and IAF Chairs Pete Unger and Randy Dougherty
Supporting the work of Regulators
We are delighted to announce that World Accreditation Day will take place on June 9th 2011. This year's theme is based on how accreditation is used to support the work of Regulators.
Accreditation provides confidence in the competence and integrity of conformity assessment activities that can be used to support the implementation of government policies and regulations that impact on health, welfare, security and the environment.
Government departments and regulatory authorities may specify in their public policies, government specifications and regulations that accredited bodies be used, and so gain confidence that competent bodies have been used to determine compliance with laws, regulations and specifications.
More and more Regulators throughout the world are recognising the benefits of using accreditation. For example, in the US, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for toy testing, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the nuclear area, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for food safety, have all made accreditation a core element of their policy making strategy. In Asia-Pacific, accreditation underpins the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) sectoral MRA for electrical and electronic equipment as a means of meeting the mandatory requirements of each member and to support the implementation of the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA). Whilst in Europe, a legal framework for the provision of accreditation services across Europe is written into Regulation, which recognises the benefits of accreditation by legislating that it be used as a means to show compliance with mandatory regulatory requirements.
The mainstream acceptance of accreditation by pan-regional bodies, and domestic regulators within individual governments, also helps member governments of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to meet their responsibilities of the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT Agreement). IAF and ILAC are now also mentioned as key players by the United Nations.
This increased recognition from Regulators was reflected in a survey of the ILAC Membership carried out in 2010, which reported that accreditation is used and accepted to support Government policy in all the 55 economies that responded. In fact, 77% of economies stated that their Regulators actually require results from accredited organisations. This represents an increase of 36% since 2002, demonstrating the value and confidence that Regulators derive from accreditation.
Whilst this growth represents strong progress, wider recognition remains a core objective for IAF and ILAC, both through the adoption of accreditation into new policy areas but also its expansion into new territories and regions. Accreditation is a proven tool that can be applied to a wide variety of assessment, approval or evaluation tasks that can be used to address a wide range of Regulatory requirements both in Developed or Developing economies. World Accreditation Day 2011 provides the ideal platform to build on this progress and to gain even wider recognition.