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Standardization in the Americas: COPANT Assembly Strengthens Regional Relationships

New York, Jun 04, 2008

Representatives of standards communities from North, Central, and South America gathered in Buenos Aires last month for the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT) Assembly 2008. Held on May 5-8, the Assembly was hosted by the Instituto Argentino de Normalización y Certificación (IRAM), Argentina’s national standards body.

COPANT Week Workshops

On May 7, IRAM and COPANT hosted a workshop on strategies for development in Quality Management in Public Administration and Energy Efficiencies. The full-day event was attended by over 700 private sector participants.

On May 8, the Forum of IEC National Committees of the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.) held a workshop to address aspects of the IEC’s activities in a regional context, including:

  • how to establish a national committee;
  • how to leverage the resources of the IEC Latin America Regional Center (IEC-LARC);
  • the advantages of participating in the IEC’s Affiliate Country Program; and

  • the interactions of the IEC and COPANT with other standards organizations in the region such as MERCOSUR and CANENA.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia led the 21-member U.S. delegation, which included representatives from ANSI member organizations including industry, standards and code developing organizations, and the U.S. government.

The successful meetings provided a forum to advance standardization activities in the Americas, and offered opportunities for U.S. interests to share information and network with standards and conformance bodies of the region.

Several key agenda items were covered during the four-day Assembly, such as greater inclusion for developing countries into the COPANT governance; bilingual fire safety codes available to COPANT members at no cost; and the creation of a COPANT mirror group to the Committee on Consumer Policy of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO COPOLCO).

Emphasizing the strong relationship between ISO and COPANT members, Mr. Bhatia and Alan Bryden, ISO Secretary-General, gave presentations on work currently underway within various ISO Committees as well as current activities of the ISO Council. Presentations by Ronnie Amit, International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) General Secretary, and Jim Matthews, U.S. National Committee (USNC) president, discussed IEC and IEC Council Board activities, both highlighting opportunities for Western Hemispheric interests to benefit through increased leverage of IEC standards and conformance programs.

The COPANT Assembly also agreed to continue to cooperate and strengthen relationships with other regional institutions, including sub-regional standardization organizations [AMN (Southern Cone), RAN (Andean Community), CANENA (North America/Americas), CROCQ (Caribbean)], as well as other specialist regional bodies from the Americas including the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) and the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM), among others.

Elections for the COPANT Board of Directors for 2008-2010 were also held during the Assembly; ANSI (North America), CONYACT (Central America and the Caribbean), IRAM, and the Instito Boliviano de Normalización y Calidad (IBNORCA) (South America) were elected to the Board.

The 2009 COPANT Assembly will be held during the week of May 4-8, 2009, hosted by the Dirección General de Normas y Sistemas de Calidad (DIGENOR) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Heads of U.S. ANSI Delegation to COPANT Assembly 2008

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