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Joint IAF-ILAC-ISO Communiqué

ISO and IEC standard for "one-stop accreditation" to boost
cross-border trade
A new International Standard aims to harmonize requirements worldwide for organizations
that assess the competence of "conformity assessment" bodies.
It will provide a global benchmark for "accreditations bodies" to ensure that they operate in a
consistent, comparable and reliable manner worldwide, thereby providing confidence to
purchasers and regulators and facilitating cross-border trade. 
Conformity assessment bodies (CABs) check that products, materials, services, systems or
people measure up to the specifications laid out in a relevant standard.  A lack of confidence
in their competence to perform these tasks may result in redundant, costly and time-
consuming assessments by different accreditation bodies in different countries.  Such costs
could be drastically reduced if a CAB could be assessed once and the results accepted
globally. This process is known as a "one-stop accreditation".
ISO/IEC 17011:2004,  Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation
bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies, sets out a uniform set of requirements for
bodies that verify the activities of conformity assessment bodies – from testing, inspection,
management system certification to personnel certification, product certification and
It will also prove useful in the peer evaluation process for mutual recognition arrangements
between accreditation bodies which will allow the contracting parties to recognize the results
of each other's inspections, testing, certification or accreditation for goods and services
traded internationally.
"An adequate accreditation system should provide confidence to the purchaser and
regulators and, in so doing, facilitate cross-border trade," said Mario Wittner, Chair of ISO
Committee on conformity assessment (CASCO).  "The new standard will have an important
impact on the operations of the accreditation bodies as well as on the thousands and
thousands of laboratories and certification and inspection bodies across the world."
The standard's potential for facilitating cross-border trade is witnessed by its recent adoption
by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the International
Accreditation Forum (IAF) as the base set of requirements for their national and regional
Chair of IAF Dr. Thomas Facklam explains its significance: "ISO/IEC 17011:2004 is the result
of several years of difficult work that successfully combines into one standard several
previous documents related to accreditation bodies.  This one-stop accreditation standard
will now provide a strong basis for future accreditation practice, and help enhance the
reputation of accreditation as a central mechanism for establishing the competence and
recognition of conformity assessment results on a global basis."
According to the Chair of ILAC Mr. Daniel Pierre, ISO/IEC 17011:2004 is also important for
emerging accreditation activates in economies in transition and developing countries.  "The
standard establishes clear requirements for the structure, management and functions of
existing and future accreditation bodies, and should be taken into account within international
donor programmes, mutual recognition agreements and by accreditation bodies themselves." 
ISO/IEC 17011:2004 replaces three sets of overlapping requirements for the same attributes:
ISO/IEC Guide 58:1993 (laboratories), ISO/IEC Guide 61:1996 (certification bodies) and
ISO/IEC TR 17010:1998 (inspection bodies). 
ISO/IEC 17011:2004,  Conformity assessment – General requirements for accreditation
bodies accrediting conformity assessment bodies, costs 97 Swiss francs and is available
from ISO national member institutes and from ISO Central Secretariat (  The
new standard was developed by CASCO's working group WG 18,  Accreditation, in
partnership with the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).