Constructing sustainable infrastructure

International organizations join forces through DCMAS Network

By Aliyah Esmail

Infrastructure is all of the systems that serve as a foundation for a community to develop and grow. This includes roads and railways, energy grids, airports, sewage just to name a few. Infrastructure, physical and regulatory, is interrelated.

In spite of this interdependence, for many countries, taking all parts into consideration at once is beyond their budget. Even in developed countries, there may be issues of cost and/or ownership, such as when two or more countries share or borrow technical infrastructure or services. What is important from a sustainable development and trade perspective is to ensure that societies and industries in developing countries have access to technical infrastructure that reflects their specific needs.

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DCMAS works to ameliorate infrastructure in developing countries

IEC cooperates with other international organizations

The DCMAS (Developing Countries in Metrology, Accreditation and Standardization) Network helps to bring together specialized organizations that operate at an international level and that are active in promoting and implementing MAS activities (metrology, accreditation and standardization) as a tool for sustainable economic and infrastructure development.

The Network was created so that participating international organizations can exchange information on their initiatives, work together, and provide a means of pooling expertise. This collaborative forum facilitates the development of strategic partnerships and the coordination of their initiatives.

IEC presented an update of its Affiliate Country Programme

The DCMAS Network meeting took place on 12 April 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland at the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) headquarters as they head the DCMAS Secretariat until the end of 2013. The IEC was represented by Françoise Rauser, in charge of the IEC Affiliate Country Programme and International Liaisons.

Rauser, who is in charge of the Programme and as such is dealing with developing and emerging economies, is focused on trying to help these countries to build infrastructure. She spoke in general about the Affiliate Country Programme but of greatest interest were the Affiliate Plus addition to the Programme and the IEC CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems.

Benefits of Affiliate Plus

Affiliate Plus allows countries that have adopted at least 50 IEC International Standards as national ones and have established a NEC (National Electrotechnical Committee), to upgrade to Affiliate Plus. The Affiliate Plus status provides Affiliate Countries with 400 (instead of 200) IEC International Standards free of charge and a mentoring approach on a case-by-case basis. To date, the Programme has 39 NECs established and 18 Affiliate Plus.

Importance of conformity assessment

The three IEC CA Systems – IECEE (System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components), IECEx (System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for use in Explosive Atmospheres) and IECQ (Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components) – certify that components, equipment and systems conform to IEC International Standards.

IECEE represented the IEC in a workshop organized by UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) in cooperation with other DCMAS partners in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in February 2012. This event looked to facilitate conformity assessment technical cooperation for joint projects in developing countries. The Asia regional workshop helped to further engage developing countries in their overall standards and conformity assessment performance, while focusing attention on the specific infrastructure gaps that are needed to be overcome if they are to participate in the electrotechnical and telecommunications arena.

IECEx, with the participation of the UNECE, organized a conference on safety in the Ex field in Dubai in March 2012. IECEx also ran a seminar in Côte d’Ivoire in November 2012, in partnership with AFSEC (African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission). The seminar was a unique opportunity for professionals from the gas and electrical industries in Africa to discover the benefits of using IEC Conformity Assessment System for explosive atmospheres, and enabled them to make valuable contacts and network with experts in this field.

Focus on capacity building

With the support of the IEC, AFSEC offered training in standardization for rural electrification. The workshop took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2012 with the participation from representatives of IEC TC (Technical Committee) 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems.

In 2013-2014, the Affiliate Secretariat will be focusing on capacity building on standardization. There will continue to be material posted on the website in order to reach out to everyone in the standardization community.

Page 2_c DCMAS works to ameliorate infrastructure in developing countries
iStock_000013983584Medium By having ten international organizations work together, infrastructure and capacity building projects are more likely to succeed
sliding_doors_iStock_000012940845Medium Development can only be sustainable if it reflects the country's specific needs