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Celebrate International Accreditation Day

June 9th 2008 was designated as the first International Accreditation Day by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC). Accreditation – as independent and authoritative attestation of the competence, impartiality and integrity of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) and in turn the value and credibility of the corresponding attestations of conformity – underpins trust in the global market.
The value of accreditation has been widely recognised and adopted by economies and societies worldwide. Trust, the theme for this year's International Accreditation Day, was  chosen to highlight the way in which accreditation practices are harmonized at a worldwide level to underpin free global trade of products and services conforming to customers' requirements and to legal requirements regarding health and safety and protection of public interests in general.
Accreditation touches, in some way, every level of our lives. When something is supplied, whether it is drinking water or complex IT systems, trust is placed in the supplier. The competence of the supplier can be evaluated through the use of third-party assessment and it is through accreditation by competent third-party evaluators that society can have confidence that when something is measured, calibrated, inspected, tested or certified the job has been done competently. The ability to identify a competent accreditation body provides the opportunity for the selection of a laboratory or certification body to be an informed and trusted choice and not a gamble.
In competitive and open markets, both government and business rely on trust to ensure a fair exchange of safe goods and services. The essential aspect of accreditation is that it underpins this confidence because it is a valid means of verifying claims about quality, performance, and reliability. With the globalization not only of trade, but of many other issues such as climate change and environmental protection, security and health, trust must be achieved on a global scale. The use of internationally-recognised standards as the general criteria for accreditation and the development of the ILAC and IAF multilateral mutual recognition arrangements are therefore key to building trust across borders and promoting best practices in conformity assessment worldwide.