IAF Regions' news

Strengthening Accreditation Networks in Asia Pacific (SANAP)

Graham Talbot
Independent Consultant, SANAP Project

The “Strengthening Accreditation Networks in Asia Pacific” (SANAP) project has been running for over five years to help the regional accreditation cooperation in Asia Pacific support its members from developing economies to shape an environmentally sustainable market economy. Now in its second phase, it is jointly implemented by the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Germany (PTB), and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany.

As well as providing support to APAC, it also provides focused support to the 25 Full Members and 15 Associate Members from economies that are categorized as developing economies.

The SANAP strategy has evolved over the years from a general one-size-fits-all approach to one that focuses on the specific capacity development needs of each individual target accreditation body (AB), identified through annual development needs and priorities enquiries. A joint APAC-PTB Project Steering Committee analyzes these needs and sets annual plans that keep the support offered up to date with needs.

Since its inception, SANAP has provided travel and accommodation support to over 385 individual participants from ABs to attend 28 regional training events. Whilst in the early days of the project, the events supported were for all of the standards used in accreditation, SANAP now concentrates on supporting particular themes – food safety, resource efficiency, climate change, the medical sector, occupational health and safety, and organizational performance and resilience.

Facilitating knowledge-sharing between more mature ABs and the newer ABs is also a priority that involves introductory training, sharing technical knowledge, sharing experience on the development of documentation, and providing on-the-job attachment training and on-going mentoring. SANAP has so far supported eight attachments.

SANAP also aims to help increase the number and scopes of Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) signatories in the region. The Preparation for Evaluation Concept helps developing economy members of APAC that have not yet experienced a peer evaluation to gain further experience so that they may become better prepared for their own evaluations. This generally involves either providing the opportunity for members of the senior management of the developing AB who have responsibility for preparing that AB for evaluation to observe an evaluation of another AB, or supporting an advisory visit from an experienced manager from a developed AB to audit all aspects of the operation of the developing economy AB. Three ABs have been helped in this way.

SANAP has helped APAC develop its online e-learning capability through supporting the production of video material from training events and providing expert review of the APAC online Knowledge Centre. It has also facilitated a Train the Trainer programme which has benefitted 10 ABs through the personal development of a staff member to become experienced in the delivery of training on specific standards used in accreditation. And to help developing economy ABs in their efforts to raise awareness of the value of accreditation and accredited conformity assessment, SANAP has arranged the translation of some IAF and ILAC brochures into local languages (Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian, and Burmese).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SANAP has had to adjust its support to meet the new challenges and ways in which both APAC and its Members are now operating. As many planned activities in 2020 were either postponed or moved online, BMZ has agreed to extend the project until February 2022.

In 2021, SANAP plans to support online small-group mentoring/virtual attachments for agreed participants following their participation in APAC online training activities; assistance to APAC in online events on how to deliver effective online training and on raising awareness about accreditation to medical devices regulators; and the development of a tool to help APAC monitor the effectiveness of training and other capacity development activities.

In the light of the success of SANAP, APAC has already submitted a proposal for consideration by PTB/BMZ for a follow-on APAC-PTB project. In the meantime, SANAP is pleased to continue to provide focused support to the development of APAC and its developing economy Members.

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