Independent Consultant, SANAP Project
The “Strengthening Accreditation Networks in Asia Pacific” (SANAP) project, jointly implemented by the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Germany (PTB) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany came to a close on 28 February 2022.
This project, split into two phases, has been running since April 2015 with the aim of helping developing economies within Asia Pacific shape an environmentally sustainable market economy. The target groups of the project were developing economy full members/Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) signatories of APAC with a need for further development, developing economy associate members striving for full membership, and non-APAC members with rudimentary accreditation structures aiming to become associate members.
An online closing event was held on 28 February during which participants from APAC were able to hear the many achievements from the past seven years and the plans for a potential project on the digital transformation of accreditation in Asia Pacific. Key speakers included the APAC Chair, Ms Chang Kwei Fern, and the PTB Project Coordinator, Ms Cora Roos.
The continuation of the travel and meeting restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic limited the support that the project was able to give to APAC and its developing economy accreditation body (AB) members during the past two years, but these restrictions have also stimulated new ways of working. Online small group mentoring, observation of online peer evaluations, online training and e-learning will continue to be beneficial in the future whether they are fully online or in a hybrid format.
Support given during the SANAP project included:
- Four development needs enquiries of developing economy ABs were undertaken to identify individual and collective needs, plus individual face-to-face interviews with a majority of developing economy ABs to enable support programmes to be tailored to meet the identified needs of individual ABs – not a one-size-fits-all approach.
- 26 classroom training events were supported and over 340 individual AB staff were sponsored to attend these events.
- 12 attachments from developing economy ABs to more developed ABs were organized.
- Six small groups with 38 participants from 11 accreditation bodies who attended APAC training events received additional mentoring online from the trainers.
- Nine trainers from developing economy ABs were trained to be able to deliver face-to-face and online training on behalf of their own ABs or for APAC training courses on standards used in accreditation.
- Five ABs were supported to observe the MRA peer evaluations of other ABs and one pre-evaluation audit conducted as part of the Preparation for Evaluation concept to help increase the number and scopes of MRA signatories in the region; the concept helped developing economy members of APAC that have not yet experienced any peer evaluation to gain further experience so that they may become better prepared for their own evaluations.
- Supported the introduction of the e-learning concept as a cost-effective way of delivering training contents and transferring knowledge, initially supporting the video recording of training contents, and providing an independent expert review of the APAC e-learning platform and videos.
- Eight non-APAC members sponsored to attend face-to-face General Assemblies.
- Seven different IAF-ILAC brochures were translated into Thai, Mongolian, Vietnamese or Burmese to help the ABs in their efforts to raise awareness of the value of accreditation and accredited conformity assessment.
During the project, the training and development concepts introduced by SANAP have been successfully and sustainably incorporated into APAC’s own capacity development plans.
Looking to the future, currently under consideration for BMZ funding is a project to support APAC and its developing economy members to expand their digital services and processes in accreditation. This will enable more informed decision-making on digitalization-related matters, increased use of digital formats to improve services and collaboration, and strengthened capacity of developing economy accreditation bodies to provide digital services.
SANAP has been pleased to provide focused support to quality infrastructure capacity building in the Asia Pacific region over many years, and although the SANAP project has drawn to a close, it is good to see that the links between PTB and APAC and its members remain strong.
Graham Talbot is a former Chair of the IAF CMC (2008 – 2012) and of the ILAC MCC (2005 – 2012) who has worked for PTB as an independent consultant in the SANAP project since 2014.
PTB is the national metrology institute of Germany. Since 1960, PTB has been sharing its core competence in international development cooperation, supporting developing and emerging economies in the field of quality infrastructure to contribute to sustainable economic, social, and ecological development.
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