IFAN – The Place for Standards Users

Last week in Chicago, I attended my first IFAN meeting.  IFAN is the International Federation of Standards Users.  I am now the U.S. and Canadian representative through my participation in SES (the Society for Standards Professionals).  I found the meeting and the participants to be very interesting and am happy to find myself a part of this organization.  I’d like to tell you more about it and it’s goals.

IFAN was founded in 1974, when 11 national standards organizations met in Paris for an International Conference.  It’s an NGO, now based in Geneva.  Membership is comprised of national standards users groups from various jurisdictions, corporate members, academia, standards experts, and so on.  It is governed by an elected Board of Directors and holds meetings around the world.

IFAN has MOU’s (Memoranda of Understanding) with ISO, IEC, CEN, and CENELEC.  This means that IFAN members can participate in those organization’s general assemblies.  IFAN is also a liaison organization for participation in CASCO, the policy developing committee for conformity assessment.  This group oversees such standards as the ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17030.  Because of these agreements, IFAN members have a chance to directly participate in ISO, IEC, CEN and CENELEC projects of interest to them.

Of course, working at the International level is of great benefit to any person interested in trends in standardization.  And with the access to the folks at the top level of standards development, IFAN members have a chance to influence the direction of standards activities.  IFAN develops positions on subjects that affect standards users around the world.  It is at the table for the development of such strategic activities as the ISO Standards for a Sustainable World plan.

Another feature of IFAN is it’s work in promoting participation for developing and non-developed economies.  The organization is seeing increased participation from a number of locations in Asia and even from Africa.  Involvement for these folks can help them integrate more quickly into the global economy.

Many companies need assistance with their standards understanding and application.  The interaction between standards and regulation is coming into focus as a mood of deregulation sweeps through a number of jurisdictions.  Involvement with IFAN can provide you with a forum for improving your understanding of global standards concerns.  You’ll also learn of developments outside your home country.  And you’ll have a place to voice your requirements and interests at the top level.

I hope you’ll let me know if you have any issues you’d like me to bring to the attention of this group.  And I urge you to consider participation as well!  Just get in touch with me through my company, Document Center Inc.  Emails sent to us at info@document-center.com will reach me.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Claudia Bach

Claudia Bach is the President of Document Center Inc. and a world-wide recognized expert on Standards and Standards Distribution. You can connect with her on Google+

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