Since 2001, when the IEC Regional Centre for North America (IEC-ReCNA) opened in Worcester, Massachusetts, the IEC has gradually established regional offices in different parts of the world. The Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (IEC-APRC) was launched in Singapore in 2002, followed by the Latin America Regional Centre (IEC-LARC) in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2007 and the Africa Regional Centre (IEC-AFRC) in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2015.
The IEC has also been present in Australia for more than 20 years through the Secretariats of two IEC Conformity Assessment (CA) Systems – IECEx, the IEC System for Certification for Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres, and IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components – whose secretariats are located in Sydney (see articles on IECEx and IECQ in the Conformity Assessment section of this issue).
Since its official opening in November 2015, the IEC-AFRC has covered a lot of ground, both literally and figuratively.
The Centre is run under the joint-leadership of Evah Oduor and François Yapo Ahoti. Oduor, from Kenya, has extensive know-how and expertise in standardization work – she was IEC Coordinator for Africa – and conformity assessment – she is a Vice-President of the African Electrotechnical Standardization Organization (AFSEC) responsible for CA activities. Ahoti, from Côte d’Ivoire, joined the IEC from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) where he worked as a Chief Technical Adviser in Standardization and Quality.
In less than two years, both have crisscrossed the African continent to meet with national committees (NCs) in IEC member countries, with national electrotechnical committees (NECs) in affiliate countries and with key stakeholders everywhere, including regulators, governmental agencies and organizations, utilities, academia and consumers. The objective has been – and continues to be – to make valuable contacts and to evaluate the needs for assistance to enhance participation in IEC work.
IEC-AFRC works closely with AFSEC and has also established relationships with a number of regional organizations such as the African Energy Commission (AFREC), the African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), the East African Community (EAC) the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and its Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).
IEC-APRC is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year.
Since 2002, the Centre has played a major role in raising awareness of the IEC, increasing the use of International Standards and CA Systems and maximizing participation of all countries in the region in the Commission’s work. It has established communication and networks with key players from industry, businesses and governments.
IEC-APRC Regional Director Dennis Chew and his colleagues regularly participate in conferences, workshops, forums and meetings, many of those organized by regional standards and regulatory bodies such as the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). It is worth noting that in 2015, the 21-member APEC economies were home to around 2,8 billion people and represented approximately 59% of world gross domestic product (GDP) and 49% of world trade.
Cooperation with regional fora has been strengthened with the signing of the co-operation agreement between IEC and the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO) in October 2016 in Frankfurt, Germany. Amongst others, the agreement will encourage the use and adoption of IEC International Standards as well as the use of IEC Conformity Assessment Systems in the region.
On the technical side, IEC-APRC provides support for 54 IEC technical committees and subcommittees (TC/SCs) and holds the secretariat of the Advisory Committee on electricity transmission and distribution (ACTAD) and the Advisory Committee on energy efficiency (ACEE).
Located in a research and development hub in Singapore, IEC-APRC offers meeting facilities for IEC activities. In 2016, the APRC hosted 21 meetings.
The IEC-APRC team: Dennis Chew (Regional Director), Suzanne Yap and Damien Lee (Technical Officers), Teo Poh Luan, Amelyn Ching and Pang Chia Li (Assistants).
Established in 2007 in São Paulo to develop promotional activities in the Latin America and Caribbean Region, IEC-LARC is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Its Regional Director is Amaury Santos.
IEC-LARC was set up to actively encourage the use of IEC International Standards and CA Systems and to enhance participation of countries in the Latin America region. Since its inception, the centre has seen new countries join the list of IEC members. IEC-LARC also works closely with the Latin American countries that participate in the IEC Affiliate Country Programme, notably countries of the Andean Community and Central America.
IEC-LARC provides support to the Forum of IEC National Committees of the Americas (FINCA) and works continuously on strengthening ties with many important standards organizations in the region to encourage their members to participate actively in the IEC. Those include in particular the Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT), the Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations in the Americas (CANENA) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ).
IEC-LARC attends, coordinates, and organizes events that match the needs of the region. They range from training seminars on the use of IEC IT tools to workshops on specific technical areas.
The IEC-LARC team: Amaury Santos (Regional Director) and Iris Szterenlicht (Assistant).
The first regional centre established by the IEC, IEC-ReCNA has been operational since 2001. The centre, located in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA and headed by Tim Rotti, provides support for 40 IEC TCs and SCs, particularly those with secretariats located in North America, as well as multiple advisory committees.
It holds the secretariat of the Market Strategy Board (MSB), Systems Committee (SyC) Smart Energy, Standardization Evaluation Group (SEG) 7: Smart manufacturing and the Advisory Committee on applications of robot technology (ACART).
IEC-ReCNA also offers training sessions on its premises for TC/SC Officers and hosted several important technical meetings.
As Secretary of the MSB, Peter Lanctot coordinates the publication of all IEC White Papers.
The IEC-ReCNA team: Tim Rotti (Regional Director), Peter Lanctot (MSB Secretary), Andrew Redgate (Technical Officer), Marlene Maillet and Holly Ducharme (Assistants).