Building the House of Accreditation

Youngest Quality Infrastructure institution 

Accreditation is the youngest type of institution of the Quality Infrastructure system.  Accreditation refers to “…to the independent evaluation of conformity assessment bodies against recognised standards to carry out specific activities to ensure their impartiality and competence. Through the application of national and international standards, government, procurers and consumers can have confidence in the calibration and test results, inspection reports and certifications provided.” [1]

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World Metrology Day 2020

The 20 May 2020 constitutes the 145th anniversary of the Meter Convention (French: Convention du Mètre). In 1875, metrologists celebrated this day when seventeen States signed an agreement on the world-wide uniformity of measurement. With this agreement, the States created the first international, intergovernmental scientific organisations: The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) and the International Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM), which jointly coordinate metrology and the development of the metric system at an international level. The signing countries decided to produce measurement standards (“the original meter” and “the original kilogram”) for the units of measurement “meter” and “kilogram”.

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The National Quality Law of Costa Rica

Quality Infrastructure fulfils sovereign tasks 

The Quality Infrastructure is organised at the national level. Therefore, we speak of a National Quality System (NQS) or National Quality Infrastructure (NQI). Most countries in the world today have a National Metrology Institute (NMI), a National Standards Institute (NSI) and a National Accreditation Body (NAB). Each of these institutions requires a legal framework because they act in the public interest. In some cases, the Quality Infrastructure institutions even assume sovereign tasks.

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Addressing demand-side issues in Quality Infrastructure

During recent scoping missions for preparing Quality Infrastructure related projects in Pakistan and Vietnam, we have been asked not primarily to look at the current and potential future supply side of Quality Infrastructure services but elaborate more on the demand side. Colleagues and partners were interested to learn about the importance of the demand for Quality Infrastructure services and, in fact, understand what exactly we mean by Quality Infrastructure demand and how it can boost the quality of products and services.

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Do we need a new definition of quality?

A comment of Merih Malmqvist Nilsson at a UNIDO Webinar inspired us to write this blog post. Mrs Malmquist is the former head of the Swedish accreditation body SWEDAC, chairs the International Network of Quality Infrastructure (INetQI) and works as a consultant. She believes that the definition of quality in terms of functionality and safety is no longer sufficient and that we need to add sustainability as another dimension. Similar to the triple bottom line (Profit, People and Planet) for enterprises, we need to measure quality also by the ecological and social impact.

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