International

Laboratory and inspection body accreditation authorities throughout the world have established international and regional groupings of cooperation.

 

The objectives of the cooperation are to:

  • Develop and harmonise laboratory and inspection accreditation practices
  • Promote accreditation to industry, governments, regulators and consumers
  • Foster and promote competent laboratories and inspection bodies
  • Gain universal acceptance of accredited certificates and reports
  • Facilitate mutual recognition of accredited test, measurement and inspection results (see Mutual Recognition Arrangements)
  • Exchange technical knowledge among members.

These objectives are consistent with the World Trade Organisation’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT Agreement). This agreement encourages WTO members to recognise each other’s conformity assessment results, provided they are confident the procedures are equivalent. In most economies, Governments recognise and encourage the use of accredited reports to facilitate trade and for ensuring the safety of goods and services being imported.

 

International Cooperation

The forum for international cooperation between the various laboratory and inspection body accreditation schemes operated throughout the world is the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). First started as a conference in 1977, with IANZ as a founding member, ILAC was formalised as cooperation in 1996. Its aim is to facilitate trade by promoting the acceptance of accredited test, calibration and inspection reports that can be relied on to provide accurate data.See About ILAC to view full information about ILAC and its activities.

Full members of ILAC, including IANZ, are signatories to Mutual Recognition Arrangements, which allow for global acceptance of accredited test and inspection reports.

Use the ILAC MRA Signatory Search to locate a suitable full member ILAC MRA Signatory (select the required economy). Download the accreditation body link to view their full contact information.

A full list of members by economy includes all categories of ILAC membership.

 

Regional cooperation

ILAC members are also members of formally established regional accreditation cooperation organisations. These organisations have objectives similar to and compatible with ILAC, and are committed to the obligations of the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement.

There are currently six regional accreditation cooperation organisations:

•  Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC) – of which IANZ is a foundation signatory
•  European cooperation for Accreditation (EA). A full list of signatory partners, their scope of mutual recognition and signing dates can be found on http://www.european-accreditation.org/page/mla-and-bla-signatories
•  Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC)
•  Southern African Development Community In Accreditation (SADCA)
• African Accreditation Cooperation (AFRAC)

• Arab Accreditation Cooperation (ARAC)

Information about each of these regional accreditation cooperation organisations can be found on their websites – use the link provided.

 

Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRAs)

The aim of the international accreditation cooperation – to facilitate trade and ensure safety for consumers – is realised through Mutual Recognition Arrangements between accreditation authority members of ILAC, carried out in accordance with ILAC rules and procedures. Each signatory to the MRA agrees to (among other things):

•  Maintain conformance with ISO/IEC 17011, and
•  Ensure all accredited laboratories comply with ISO/IEC 17025 – or ISO 15189 for medical testing laboratories – and inspection bodies comply with ISO/IEC 17020.

 

All signatories are regularly peer-reviewed to show they continually meet the ILAC criteria for competence.

Full details of the ILAC Arrangement are to be found on www.ilac.org/ILAC arrangement.