Outreach and training

IEC Affiliate Country Programme broadens support to developing countries

By Claire Marchand

The past 12 months were a busy period for the Affiliate Secretariat team. Workshops and conferences, mentoring and training were on the agenda. The Programme also welcomed its new Leader in January.

Rosario Uría, Affiliate Leader In January 2015, Rosario Uría of Peru took over from Phuntsho Wangdi as Affiliate Leader

New IEC Affiliate Leader

Rosario Uría, Director of Standardization at Peru National Quality Institute (INACAL), took over from Phuntsho Wangdi, from Bhutan, as Affiliate Leader on 1 January 2015.

Uría brings 24 years of experience and practical knowledge in national and international standardization to the service of the Affiliate community for a two-year mandate. As Leader, she is the “voice” of the Affiliate countries, represents them and submits a report on the Programme to the Standardization Management Board (SMB) and Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) at IEC General Meetings. Her role is to enhance the active participation of all Affiliate countries and encourage the establishment of National Electrotechnical Committees (NECs).

At the IEC General Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, Uría had the opportunity to meet the Affiliate delegations and Affiliate Team members. She also seized the chance to learn about her new role from Wangdi.

Phuntsho Wangdi, who was Director of the Bhutan Standards Bureau (BSB) during his term as Affiliate Leader, has now been appointed Secretary in the Bhutan Ministry of Works and Human Settlements.

Mentoring Programme

The Mentoring Programme has expanded with four new partnerships since the beginning of 2015.

Zambia and Austria began their mentoring partnership in January after having signed a mentoring agreement aimed at reinforcing the existing NEC, reaching out to stakeholders, and the working process for comments on technical documents.

A mentoring agreement was signed between Germany and Mongolia in February, shortly after the IEC visit to Ulanbaatar. The agreement aims at reinforcing the existing NEC, establishing and running a mirror committee (mirroring international work, definition of working programme and scope) and the formulation of NEC procedures.

In May, Mexico agreed to mentor Peru, to help the country establish and run mirror committees. In June the Swedish National Committee (NC) signed a mentoring agreement with Bhutan with a focus on reaching out to stakeholders to reinforce the existing NEC, increasing national adoptions of IEC International Standards, structuring the NEC to establish and run mirror committees, but also learning to network with other IEC Members and provide guidance on exchange of international activities.

These partnerships add to those previously established within the Affiliate Country Programme, namely Afghanistan-Malaysia, Côte D’Ivoire-France, DR Congo-France, Ethiopia-Germany, Uruguay-Norway and Rwanda-Austria.

Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status (ACAS)

To raise awareness and provide a better understanding of the specific requirements linked to conformity assessment (CA) activities, the IEC Affiliate Country Programme Secretariat launched the Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status (ACAS) in 2013. As part of ACAS, the IEC now provides e-learning modules to further the Affiliate Country participants' understanding of and involvement in IEC CA activities. The first set of ACAS e-learning modules is available online and deals with IECEE and its CB Scheme, including how they operate, and how developing countries can get involved. The modules covering IECEx are expected to be ready soon, followed by IECQ and IECRE.

The modules are split into three levels, with progress to more advanced levels determined by a short test on previously covered knowledge. The IEC intends for developing countries to use this new resource, in conjunction with regional ACAS seminars, in order to familiarize themselves with IEC Conformity Assessment procedures.

IECEE-ACAS seminars

The Latin America IECEE-ACAS seminar took place in Paraguay on 1-2 October 2014. Taking regional interests into account, the event focused on Conformity Assessment (CA) in safety and Energy Efficiency for household and other equipment. IECEE was represented by IEC-LARC Regional Director Amaury Santos, who also gave presentations on IEC involvement in Smart Grids and on renewable energies, with emphasis on IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications.

The Asia-Pacific seminar, organized by IEC-APRC, was held in Singapore on 8 June 2015. The broad theme was Conformity Assessment and Trade, focusing on understanding and benefiting from the IECEE CB Scheme. The event, held back to back with a meeting of regulators in the Southeast Asia region, brought together 43 participants from seven IEC Members (Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and four Affiliate Countries (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar). Apart from introducing the IEC CA Systems and IECEE in particular, there were presentations on the experience of regulators in Malaysia and Singapore in using the IECEE CB Scheme and on what to look out for when reviewing a test certificate.

IECEx-ACAS seminar

Back to back with the African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission (AFSEC) management meeting held on 21-24 July 2015, the IEC collaborated with AFSEC to hold an IECEx-ACAS seminar on 20 July 2015 in Accra, Ghana. The seminar was on the topic of familiarization with the IEC CA Systems in general and specifically the IECEx System. The seminar programme included an overview of the IEC CA Systems, IEC renewable energy work, IECRE and ACAS, before moving on to the core presentations on the IECEx system. The seminar attracted delegates from IEC Member countries and Affiliates alike. IEC Member delegates came from Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. Affiliates delegates came from Côte D’Ivoire, DR Congo, Ghana, Namibia, Rwanda and Zambia.

Country visits, conferences, workshops and seminars

PTB-IEC workshopinUlaanbaatar, Mongolia, 20 November 2014

Following the General Meeting in Tokyo, Dennis Chew, IEC-APRC Regional Director, and Françoise Rauser, IEC Affiliate Country Programme Executive Secretary, flew to Mongolia. The first objective of their visit was a joint workshop with PTB, the German national metrology institute that provides capacity building to developing countries. The workshop focused on IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment (CA) Systems in the field of renewable energies. The second objective was to assist the country in establishing its NEC. A meeting, held at the Mongolian Agency for Standardization and Metrology (MASM) headquarters, brought together stakeholders from small and medium enterprises, the Chamber of Commerce, the telecommunications sector, laboratories, the administrative City Council of Ulaanbaatar, the university, the college of electrical engineering and of course MASM.

Since November 2014, Mongolia has established its NEC, become an Affiliate Plus, signed the Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status (ACAS) Pledge for training in CA and joined the Mentoring Programme (see above).

IEC Country visit Benin, 14-15 July 2015

The IEC was present in Cotonou, Benin, to conduct a 2 day training workshop with the national standardization body and electrotechnical stakeholders. Information sessions and training were provided on the IEC, its standardization activities, conformity assessment Systems and the Affiliate Country Programme. It was also the occasion to liaise with non-governmental stakeholders in Benin, with a view to establishing a NEC in Benin.


In the context of the ongoing collaboration, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) invited IEC to its 5th General Assembly in Abu Dhabi, last January, where IEC presented the benefits of using IEC International Standards for policymakers in the renewable energy sector. IEC further participated in an IRENA workshop during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bonn in June and shared how International Electrotechnical Standards strengthen renewable energy markets.

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Evah Oduor, IEC Coordinator for Africa, attended the Southern African Development Community (SADC) 30th annual meeting in March. She gave feedback on the 2014 IEC General Meeting, presented the benefits for Affiliates to be granted Affiliate Conformity Assessment Status and introduced the Mentoring Programme. It was also an opportunity to review participation in IEC and set priorities for each of the 14 SADC members, of which one is an IEC member, all others being Affiliates.

Regional Trade Capacity Building

Back to back with the 14th annual meeting of the DCMAS Network on Metrology, Accreditation, Conformity Assessment and Standardization for Developing Countries, Oduor participated in a Regional Trade Capacity Building Course for Least Developed Countries, organized jointly by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in Maputo, Mozambique. She made a presentation on IEC standardization and focused on CA activities for countries in Africa.

Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE)

Like the IEC, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) is a partner of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. ARE signed a collaboration pledge with the IEC, through its Affiliate Country Programme, to share information and expertise for the benefits of developing countries. In the framework of this collaboration, IEC was invited to speak at an ARE Energy Access Workshop in Madrid in January. Thomas Robertson, IEC Affiliate Country Project Coordinator, and Vicente Salas, Co-Convenor of Working Group 6 of IEC TC 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems, took part in a roundtable in Madrid on how IEC International Standards and Conformity Assessment Systems facilitate rural electrification in developing countries.

Affiliate Plus, adoptions and NECs

Since the Affiliate Country Programme began in 2001, close to 5 000 IEC International Standards have been adopted as national ones in 44 Affiliate countries, five of which have become IEC Members.

To date 47 countries have established their NEC and 24 have become Affiliate Plus. The last NEC is Antigua and Barbuda (July 2015).

To qualify and upgrade to Affiliate Plus, countries have to fulfil two criteria:

  • Adoption of at least 50 IEC International Standards as national ones or for reference in national regulations
  • Establishment of a NEC with representatives from both public and private sectors

More information on the Affiliate Country Programme: www.iec.ch/affiliates/

Rosario Uría, Affiliate Leader In January 2015, Rosario Uría of Peru took over from Phuntsho Wangdi as Affiliate Leader
MASM From left: Dennis Chew, Gantumur Galbadrakh, MASM Chairman and Mongolian NEC President, and Françoise Rauser
Thomas Robertson and Vicente Salas Thomas Robertson and Vicente Salas at the ARE Energy Access Workshop in Madrid