UNECE encourages rule makers to base their regulations on international standards. These provide a common denominator to the norms that apply on different markets, and reduce the need to customize and retest the products whenever they cross a national border.
In order to avoid standards becoming a barrier to international trade, national regulators must work together to specify which international standards constitute the common denominator, and how compliance with the standards should be assessed.
START is launching a project to create a common regulatory arrangement (CRA) aiming to harmonize the regulations around the safety of trunk pipelines transporting hydrogen. This project reflects the need for harmonization of conformity assessment procedures and approaches as there are currently a lot of different standards in this area. The project seeks to provide guidance on harmonizing standards and conformity assessment systems for the transportation of hydrogen through trunk pipelines, using the template of Recommendation L for a Common Regulatory Arrangement. If you are interested to join this project, please contact the secretariat.
- Key deliverables - Recommendations
Symbol & Title
Recommendation L on International Model for Transnational Regulatory Cooperation Based on Good Regulatory Practice
Recommendation G on Acceptance of Conformity Assessment Results
Recommendation K on Metrological Assurance of Conformity Assessment and Testing
Recommendation F on the Creation and Promotion of International Agreements on Conformity Assessment
Recommendation E on the Treatment of Imported Products, Processes and Services
Recommendation C on International Harmonization of Standards and Technical Regulations
Recommendation B on Coordination of Technical Regulations and Standardization
- Key deliverables - Common Regulatory Arrangements
Symbol & Title
Common Regulatory Framework for Equipment Used In Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere
Common Regulatory Arrangements on Cybersecurity
Common Regulatory Objectives on Earth-moving Machinery
Common Regulatory Objectives (Telecom) for ICT Equipment, for Bluetooth Equipment, for GSM Equipment, for IMT-2000 Equipment, for PC Equipment, for PSTN Equipment and for WLAN Equiment 2004
A product’s technical features need to be in compliance with technical regulations that define safety and health requirements. Because each country has unique needs and circumstances, technical regulations could never be valid for the whole world. But different norms and different ways of applying them also means high costs! Business needs to study and understand the rules, tailor the merchandise accordingly, and fulfil complex procedures to prove compliance.
The ad hoc team of specialists on STandardization And Regulatory Techniques (START Team) was established in 1999 by decision of the Committee. A number of initiatives have been launched to encourage regulatory convergence on key topics listed below.
Official annual reports of the Ad Hoc team of Specialists on Standardization and Regulatory Techniques (START Team)
Official meetings of the START Team
- Policies and Procedures
Title and Symbol Description ENG FRE RUS
ECE/CTCS/WP.6/2023/14 Annex IV
Terms of Reference of the Ad Hoc team of Specialists on Standardization and Regulatory Techniques (START Team)
Establishes the structure, mandate, objectives and reporting of the START
Compatibility of products of the telecom industry often causes problems to end-users, who can find themselves unable to use imported material or equipment they have bought in another country. Most incompatibility issues could be solved through harmonizing the standards in this sector.
Common Regulatory Objectives (CROs) in this sector, covering for instance personal computers (PCs), PC peripherals, legacy Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) terminals, Bluetooth, Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), Global Standard for Mobile Telecommunication (GSM) and International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT-2000), were drawn up in 2004.
This initiative has been marked as completed
Telecom - CROs
Short Title Justification of the CROs Proposed text for the CROs Latest Previous Latest Previous Common and General Part of all products Blue-tooth Personal Computers (PCs) Peripherals * * Legacy PSTN terminals Wireless - LAN GSM IMT 2000 Complete set of all CROs
(as zip file)
The purpose of the sectoral initiative on cybersecurity is to promote the convergence of national technical regulations currently in place, or yet to be put in place, in this sector towards a shared framework that is based on a risk-based approach and other international best practices. This will reduce barriers to trade for components, equipment, qualified persons and services, will encourage competition, increase market choice and will reduce costs. It will also increase the level of data protection for banking, health and other essential data services and the level of reliability, continuity, safety and security of critical infrastructures, such as electrical energy supply, and other essential services that are the backbone of any national economy. It will therefore help to ensure the general well-being and prosperity of a country’s citizens.
This initiative has been marked as completed.
Symbol / Title Issued date ENG FRE RUS Common Regulatory Arrangements on Cybersecurity 2019 Common Regulatory Arrangements on Cybersecurity - Examples of the Generic Matrix Model used in different application sectors 2019
- Earth-Moving Machinery
Cranes, bulldozers and other Earth-moving Machinery (EMM) have been part of a global industry for years. ISO standards (ISO/TC127) have been used as a common denominator to minimize safety risks. However, the market remains segmented owing to the rarity of mutual recognition agreements in this sector, and, as a consequence, repeated testing and certification — which are particularly costly and lengthy in this sector — unnecessarily elevate prices and distort competition.
In 2003, Working Party 6 set up this sectoral initiative on EMM to increase the scope of application of the existing ISO standards while fostering the mutual recognition of conformity-assessment procedures on the basis of Recommendation L. The initiative’s underlying rationale being to enhance safety while reducing barriers to international trade.
A first version of the Common Regulatory Objectives (CROs) was drafted in 2004 and circulated among members of the industry, but some have expressed the concern that producers’ self-declaration of conformity (SDoC) might not be feasible in all countries. The need was recognized to improve the compliance clause to address the requirement for third party certification in developing countries where trust in manufacturers’ ability to implement SDoC has not been achieved yet.
This initiative has been marked as completed.
Symbol / Title Issued date ENG Common Regulatory Objectives on Earth-moving Machinery 2009
Symbol / Title Issued date ENG FRE RUS
Common Regulatory Framework for Equipment Used In Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere 2019
A Common Regulatory Framework for Equipment Used in Environments with an Explosive Atmosphere 2011
2011 ECE/TRADE/WP.6/2011/9 Annex II
Guidelines for Market Surveillance of Equipment for Explosive Environments (Hazardous Locations)
Explosions in offshore facilities, on vessels or in mines, refineries, chemical plants or mills entail high risks for individuals and the natural environment. Equipment used in explosive environments must therefore have a high level of safety.
The initiative to develop common regulations in this specific sector was based on the international model of Recommendation L. It was launched in 2006 with a view to developing Common Regulatory Objectives (CROs) covering the definition of area classification, verification of the equipment and its production, installation, inspection, maintenance, repair and the related conformity-assessment procedures for products, services and competency of personnel. The general goal of this sectoral initiative is to promote and enhance safety, while eliminating barriers against the free trade and use of equipment for explosive environments.
- 2018 IECEx International Conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, 8-9 August 2018
- 2017 IECEx International Conference in Shanghai, China, 11-12 April 2017
- 2015 IECEx International Conference in Gdańsk, Poland, 22-23 April 2015
- Workshop for regulatory authorities of Latin American countries and BRICs countries on the whole life-cycle approach of IECEx certification schemes for explosive atmospheres”, 18 September 2013, Fortaleza, Brazil, 2012
- IECEx International Conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 20-21 March 2012
- SIEEE meeting, 7 September 2011, Split, Croatia SIEEE meeting, 1 September 2010, Berlin, Germany
- SIEEE meeting, 2 September 2009, Melbourne, Australia SIEEE meeting, 28 May 2009, Stockholm, Sweden
- SIEEE meeting, 3 November 2008, Geneva, Switzerland SIEEE meeting, 29 September 2008, Paris, France
- SIEEE meeting, 6 November 2007, Geneva, Switzerland
- Pipeline safety
Accidents on international pipelines endanger human lives and the environment, cause serious revenue losses and generate a climate of public hostility towards pipelines. Meanwhile, if designed, constructed and maintained according to the proper norms and standards, pipelines can be one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly means of energy transportation and distribution.
A sectoral initiative aimed at developing a common regulatory basis in this sector was formally proposed in 2007. The initiative was formally established in 2009 and is based on Recommendation L. SIPS identifies best regulatory practices in technical regulations concerning project design, construction, testing, use of materials, operation, maintenance, conservation and utilization of pipelines for oil and gas industry products. The initiative could capitalize on: (a) an advanced set of 177 international standards already developed by the Technical Committee 67 (TC67) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to address specific technical issues related to pipeline safety; and (b) the UNECE expertise in administering the 1992 Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, which resulted inter alia in the formulation of Safety Guidelines and Good Practices for Pipelines for the Prevention of Accidental Water Pollution.
If well constructed, carefully monitored and properly attended, pipelines can be a safe, environmentally sound and economic means of transport. However, like fixed installations handling hazardous substances, they may be a serious threat to our health and our environment.
The effects of accidents involving pipelines are often very significant. External interference, corrosion and poor maintenance are among the most common causes of pipeline accidents in the UNECE region. Those involving petroleum products can have a devastating effect on the soil and water. The severe pipeline leak of some 100,000 tons of oil in the Komi Republic, in the Russian Federation, in 1994 was one of the region’s most severe environmental disasters. Accidents involving gas often result in loss of human lives as was demonstrated by a 2004 gas pipeline accident in Ghiselenghein, Belgium, which resulted in 20 fatalities and 130 wounded.
Although pipelines are operated with increasing care, in view of many UNECE countries, the safety of pipeline operation needs further improvement. There is a need to raise awareness and share experience and good practices among the competent authorities, operators and the public.
Hydrogen CRA project meetings
Text is forthcoming