Quality infrastructure is required for the effective operation of domestic markets, and its international recognition is important to facilitate access to foreign markets. Past estimates by the OECD demonstrate that standards and related conformity assessment have an impact on 80% of the world’s trade in commodities. Furthermore, quality infrastructure is a key enabler for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – it is essential to protect the planet, ensure dignified lives for all people and achieve inclusive economic growth and prosperity. It relies on metrology, standardisation, accreditation, conformity assessment, and market surveillance.
Responding to the challenges of globalization and sustainable development, UNECE and other international organizations met in Geneva on 30 November to enhance their cooperation in promoting the understanding, value and acceptance of the quality infrastructure and providing guidance and support for its effective implementation and integration worldwide.
The network of international organizations also recently agreed on the definition of quality infrastructure system as “the system comprising the organizations (public and private) together with the policies, relevant legal and regulatory framework, and practices needed to support and enhance the quality, safety and environmental soundness of goods, services and processes”. The new definition expands the scope of quality infrastructure and is expected to create additional benefits for stakeholders including its use as a foundation for sustainable development.
In recent years, the network has collaborated on technical quality infrastructure training programmes (Poland 2014, Mozambique 2015) and in the development of diverse publications and guidance documents. In the framework of the network, a set of three documents were developed to support emerging countries in the formulation of quality policies: guiding principles, technical guide and practical tool.
The renewed commitment of the network occurs a week after the international community, at the 26th General Conference on Weights and Measures, agreed to redefine the International System of Units (SI). INetQI is committed to supporting developing countries by ensuring the traceability of measurements of their quality infrastructure to international standards. The network of international organizations is comprised of the following entities: founding members of the DCMAS Network, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), International Accreditation Forum (IAF), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Laboratory Accreditation Forum (ILAC), International Standards Organization (ISO), International Trade Centre (ITC), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Organizations of Legal Metrology (OIML), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and UNIDO.