Raise awareness, increase participation
The Affiliate Forum has been part of the IEC GM (General Meeting) agenda since 2009 and is a great opportunity for Affiliate delegations to meet, exchange views, share experiences and discuss common challenges and issues, both at the global and regional levels.
This year, 22 delegates from 12 Affiliate countries (Bhutan, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Lebanon, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania and Yemen) were present. They were joined by 8 delegates from 5 IEC member countries (Albania, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Malaysia and South Africa). Also in attendance were Claude Koutoua and Paul Johnson, respectively President and Secretary of AFSEC (African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission), as well as Amaury Santos, IEC-LARC (Latin America Regional Centre) Regional Manager.
Report from the Affiliate Leader
After a warm welcome to all from IEC Affiliate Executive Secretary Françoise Rauser, Affiliate Leader Phuntsho Wangdi shared the report he submitted to the SMB (Standardization Management Board) and CAB (Conformity Assessment Board). He gave an update on IEC Affiliate Country Programme activities and developments since Melbourne. Wangdi also provided feedback received from both SMB and CAB.
Many of the questions that followed Wangdi’s presentations were related to the adoption of IEC International Standards at the national level.
Update and feedback on rural electrification
The issue of rural electrification was addressed in a common presentation made by Leon Drotsché and Sivaganthan Jayasingam, Co-Convenors of IEC TC (Technical Committee) 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems, JWG (Joint Working Group) 1, which prepares guidelines for DRE (Decentralized Rural Electrification) projects being implemented in developing countries.
Both experts gave an overview of the IEC TS 62257 series of International Standards, which deals with recommendations for small renewable energy and hybrid systems for rural electrification, explaining its structure and providing attendees with a complete list and status of all publications pertaining to the series.
Increase participation in technical work
A majority of countries said they were interested in participating in TC 82/JWG 1 work and some even recommended experts.
In conclusion, Drotsché and Jayasingam made a few proposals on behalf of JWG 1, i.e. to recruit experts from Affiliate countries and to promote the active utilization of IEC TS 62257 to end-users by adopting it into national standards programmes.
Focus on regional issues
The last part of the Affiliate Forum consisted of two breakout sessions where participants focused on regional issues. Françoise Rauser and Phuntsho Wangdi convened the session on Asia-Pacific, while Evah Oduor, IEC Affiliate Coordinator for Africa, led the one on Africa.
Benefits of adopting International Standards
Oduor presented a report on her activities on behalf of the IEC, representing the Commission in the region and facilitating the participation of African countries in IEC work. She also spoke about the ISO/IEC regional course on the benefits of adopting International Standards, held in Burkina Faso in March 2012, and the ensuing meetings Rauser had with the Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire NECs as well as with UPDEA (Union of the producers, distributors and transporters of electric power in Africa).
Paul Johnson and Claude Koutoua then gave participants an update on AFSEC activities. Johnson provided insights into the structure and work of AFSEC, founded in 2008 with the support of the IEC. AFSEC is responsible for the identification and harmonization of standards in the area of power generation and brings together representatives of the power industries of many members of the African Union.
AFSEC has now set up the first five mirror TCs (Technical Committees) of IEC TCs. A vital next step will be to increase the membership of each TC to include all African Affiliate countries and to motivate them to also become statutory members of AFSEC.
Rauser and Wangdi were joined by TC 82 Co-Convenor Sivaganthan Jayasingam, of Malaysia, for the breakout session attended by delegates from Bhutan, Lebanon and Papua New Guinea.
They focused on issues linked to the adoption of International Standards and the establishment of NECs.
It is essential to continue to raise the level of awareness on IEC activities in the Asia-Pacific region. Jayasingam shared his experience from a Malaysian point of view and offered to participate in the forthcoming mentoring programme, expected to be launched in 2013.