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68th IEC General Meeting in Seoul, Korea

New York, Nov 02, 2004

The 68th General Meeting of the International Electrotechnical Commission was held October 17-22 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. Fifty-five IEC National Committees were represented by 853 delegates and 109 accompanying persons. In addition to the management committees of IEC, 9 Technical Committees, 19 Subcommittees and 30 Working Groups held meetings to advance related international standards.

IEC general secretary Mr. Ahron Amit presented a State of the Commission report to the IEC Council on October 22. In it he reported on the activities that have been underway since the IEC General Meeting in Montreal last year. At the General Meeting IEC president Sei-ichi Takayanagi addressed the IEC Council for the last time as president. He will assume the role of immediate past-president on January 1, 2005, as Mr. Renzo Tani takes up his responsibilities as president for his 3-year term.

Dr. Takayanagi spoke of IEC’s past achievements and future challenges in his presentation, and highlighted IEC's intention to work cooperatively with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to maximize efficiencies and to reduce expenses for the membership of both organizations. The IEC’s aim, he said, is “overall efficiency and cost reductions” in carrying out its work. While ISO had proposed to the IEC to consider joint ownership of offices, Takayanagi made it clear that “costly moves to joint new premises are not viable for the IEC at this time.”

USNC Outreach
The officers of the United States National Committee held successful dialogue meetings with representatives of IEC National Committees of China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Spain as part of the USNC’s strategic objective to outreach to other National Committees on issues of mutual interest. “Opening direct lines of communications with these National Committees have been judged to be mutually beneficial and it is expected that this program will not only continue in the future but be expanded,” said USNC general secretary Charles Zegers.

IEC now has 63 full voting members as well as 67 participants in the Affiliate Country Program – a total of 130 countries. Associate Membership allows for limited participation in the work of IEC and the member pays reduced dues and is expected to move in the direction of Full Membership within a reasonable period of time. The Affiliate Country Program is aimed at the newly industrializing countries of the world. The program is aimed at stimulating standards participation and ultimately at lowering barriers to trade in these countries.

IEC Masterplan
Work on the development of the next edition of the IEC Masterplan has begun and the four main areas to be considered are as follows:

  • Positioning of the IEC
  • Quality and efficiency
  • Services
  • Financial stability

Groups, comprising representatives of National Committees, the IEC Council Board and industry, have been established to contribute to the development of the strategy in each of the four areas. An Ad Hoc Group of the Standardization Management Board (SMB) has been formed to pursue the development of an IEC Standardization Strategy (2005 – 2007) including a vision statement, a set of objectives and an implementation plan. This plan will be linked to the IEC Masterplan but it is intended to be an independent, living document which will be reviewed at least annually. Mr. Robert Williams of Underwriters Laboratories, USNC vice president – technical and USNC representative to the SMB, is a member of this Ad Hoc Group.

Other Highlights
Among the many other highlights of the week-long meeting were recognition of the Lord Kelvin Award and IEC 1906 Award recipients, the formation of a new Technical Committee, TC 111, on Environmental Standardization for Electrical and Electronic Products and Systems, and the addition of a standing item to all SMB meeting agendas to consider proposals for new fields of technical activity. SMB chairman Frank Kitzantides expressed the belief that the SMB had an obligation to be vigilant to new areas of standardization, particularly in the areas of emerging technologies.

Future Meetings
The 69th IEC General Meeting will be held October 17-21, 2005, in Capetown, South Africa and the 70th IEC General Meeting, the IEC Centenary Year, will be held September 24 -29, 2006, in London, where the 1st IEC Meeting took place in 1906.

For more information on the IEC General Meeting, visit IEC Online.

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