Going global

CANENA’s annual meeting puts regional standardization in a global context

By Claire Marchand

CANENA, the Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations of the Americas, held its annual meeting on 29 February-1 March 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico.


A forum for harmonization discussions

CANENA focuses on electrotechnical standards harmonization activities within the Americas, providing a forum for discussions among its various organizations, manufacturers, conformity assessment bodies and individual participants that make up its membership. 

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Putting Regional Standardization in a Global Context” with focus on Mexico. Hugo Gomez, President of CANAME, the Mexican electrical industry trade association, delivered the keynote address, offering an industry perspective on the needs in the continuing development of a standards infrastructure in Mexico. A forum of experts compared and contrasted safety fundamentals in national electrical codes of the region and provided a summary of the code making process. A session on practical processes for ensuring “Credible Technical Inputs in Consensus Building” featured the standards committee structure of CSA (Canadian Standards Association).

The meeting was also an opportunity for attendees to discuss best practices and the latest developments on national, regional and international implementation of energy efficiency standards.

Successful harmonization

One of the major outcomes of the meeting was that CANENA’s efforts to harmonize requirements across Canada, USA and Mexico are bearing fruits. The organization has begun to see successes and is recognized by all participants as important and useful to their markets. 

Presentations and discussions during the meeting also highlighted the fact that IEC International Standards are playing an increasing role in the work of CANENA and its harmonization efforts.

IEC activities key to industry and Conformity Assessment

IEC Vice-President James E. Matthews III provided an update on some of the key topics and activities of the IEC, introducing the new IEC TCs (Technical Committees) and Strategic Groups, presenting the two white papers published by the IEC: “Coping with the energy challenge” and “Electrical energy storage”.

Matthews also explained how the IEC CA Systems were also growing in parallel with the standardization activities and how more countries and laboratories were joining and participating in all three systems. He presented the IEC CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) WGs (Working Groups) that have been set up to address the certification needs of two alternate energy areas: marine and tidal generation on the one hand, and wind turbines on the other.

The way ahead

Matthews then spent some time on the IEC’s action plan for the coming years, outlined in the IEC Masterplan 2011. It states in clear terms what the next steps are for the Commission in terms of technology watch, positioning in the market, cooperation with other regional and international organizations, processes and governance and structure.

The Masterplan is the document on which all actions and decisions of the IEC are built. It shows the way ahead, emphasizes the capital role of National Committees in IEC operations and the part played by leaders and technical experts, as well as the importance of the IEC Family on the global scene.

Going global with IEC International Standards

In his conclusion, Matthews reiterated the importance of IEC International Standards in eliminating many obstacles to international trade in a world in which innovation is accelerating, technologies are converging and industries are increasingly global. 

CANENA celebrates 20 years of cooperation in electrotechnical standardization

CANENA is a volunteer-based organization focused on electrotechnical standards harmonization activities within the Americas, with the aim of facilitating trade.

Originally founded in 1992 by the electroindustry manufacturers associations of North America, CANENA was formed as a result of a negotiated trade agreement to foster the harmonization of electrotechnical product standards, conformity assessment test requirements, and electrical codes.

Today, CANENA promotes, encourages and receives participation from leading industry organizations, standards developers, conformity assessment testing laboratories, regulators, and other interested parties.

CANENA acts as a facilitator for electrotechnical standards harmonization. It provides a focal point for contacts within each country, information exchange, and a forum in which the technical harmonization committees can function.

While CANENA was initially created by the manufacturers associations of North America, it is a continuing objective that CANENA be open to participation by all industry organizations throughout the Americas.

canena-logo CANENA - Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations of the Americas
Mexico_City_Cathedral The CANENA annual meeting took place in Mexico City, Mexico.
masterplan In his presentation, IEC Vice-President James E. Mattews III made ample reference to the IEC Masterplan 2011.