Latin America on IEC map
Events target Argentina, Brazil and Chile
As part of its strategy to increase awareness of, and enhance participation in standards development work, the IEC made the decision to have regular training sessions for its members, experts and for the community at large. Three broad geographical regions were defined: Asia, the Americas and Europe.
Focus on Latin America
A year ago, the first set of trainings and workshops took place in Asia – China, Singapore, Japan and Korea. In March 2013, the second series of events, organized by TISS (Technical Information and Support Services) and conducted by IEC Community Business Coordinator Jan-Henrik Tiedemann, in collaboration with IEC-LARC (Latin America Regional Centre) Regional Manager Amaury Santos, focused on three Latin American countries: Brazil, Chile and Argentina.
Because these three countries have different needs, demands and expectations in terms of infrastructure and development, the format and content of the workshops were adapted to each specific audience.
The Brazilian and Argentinian NCs (National Committees) have been in place for a long time. Both have a good number of national mirror technical committees and their experts are familiar with IEC standardization work.
The Chilean NC, established in February 2010, is still in its development stage.
The first event was held in São Paulo Brazil and split into two separate workshops catering to different types of participants. The first day was open to anyone with a potential interest in IEC standardization activities. The aim was to raise awareness of the IEC and entice local experts to participate in IEC work. About 50 people attended, representing a good selection of the Brazilian stakeholders.
The second day was for experts already working in the IEC environment. The training focused on good practices, explaining how they can participate in IEC working groups and project teams as experts and at the same time be a Secretary or Convenor in the corresponding national mirror committee; how they can ensure coordination between the different entities they belong to and share knowledge and expertise acquired at the international level with their peers in the national mirror committees.
Altogether the objective of the workshops was to give support to the Brazilian NC and its mirror committees.
The third leg of this tour brought Tiedemann and Santos to Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a one-day workshop with about 40 people in attendance. The Argentinian NC, a long-standing member of the IEC, has had national mirror committees for many years. While the NC and experts have been using the IEC Collaboration tools, they expressed an interest in having them at the national level as well.
As in Brazil, the first day of the workshop was a success. The only drawback was that a second day of the workshop could not be accomplished since many of the Argentinian experts don’t have a sufficient level of English. While all slides were in Spanish, English was used for most of the presentations. Both Tiedemann and Santos felt that having more English-speaking experts would help Argentina to increase its participation in IEC committees and working groups.
Contrary to its long-established Brazilian and Argentinian counterparts, the IEC NC of Chile is still in its infancy – Chile became an IEC member three years ago.
While the first day of the workshop, in Santiago de Chile, took the form of training for people who are considering participation in IEC standardization work, the second day was devoted to a more in-depth approach that included guidance on how to structure the NC management and set up national mirror committees. The targeted audience consisted of potential experts of said committees.
Tiedemann gave presentations on IEC processes, standardization and diligence; Santos focused on standardization in Latin America; and Victor Ballivian, President of the Chilean NC, talked about his work and the progress made since the NC inception in February 2010.
Laying the groundwork
The three years of hard work done by Ballivian have laid the groundwork for this workshop and its outcome. He has had regular meetings with industry, government officials and other potential stakeholders and produced brochures and leaflets to explain the benefits of participating in IEC work at the national and international levels.
The NC already has the embryo of a management structure. Together with the NC President and Secretary, a small group of stakeholders has been meeting on a regular basis. The second day of the workshop, Tiedemann outlined a more formal management structure based on the IEC structure and prepared the grounds to bring onboard more stakeholders. The goal is to set up a Board of Directors and several divisions, reporting to the Board, with specific areas of work, e.g. standardization, conformity assessment, legislation and regulations as well as marketing and sales.
At the same time, the NC needs to set up mirror technical committees to bring the country up to speed on standardization matters. Chile had already selected two IEC TCs (Technical Committees) that will have Chilean mirror committees:
- TC 13: Electrical energy measurement, tariff- and load control
- TC 64: Electrical installations and protection against electric shock
More mirror committees will be created once the first two are operational.
Presentations and discussions provided guidance on the structure, functioning and specific tasks attributed to the mirror committees. The process for national adoption of IEC International Standards was also addressed during the workshop.
From theory to practice
The workshop brought immediate results. In its wake, the NC management structure was officially established and mirror committee secretaries were nominated. The next step is now for IEC CO (Central Office) to prepare the IT collaboration tools for use at the national level.
The workshop helped strengthen the position of the NC in Chile, providing a good basis on which to move forward. With the management structure, mirror committees and electronic collaboration tools in place, Ballivian can show that the NC is developing well and fully supported by IEC CO.
Future workshops in Latin America
The next leg of the Latin American workshops will bring the organizers to Mexico and Colombia in June 2013.