Quality infrastructure is crucial for the effective operation of both domestic and international markets. It relies on metrology, standardization, accreditation, conformity assessment and market surveillance, but what exactly is quality infrastructure?
The International Network on Quality Infrastructure (INetQI) recently agreed on a new definition: “The system comprising the organizations (public and private) together with the policies, relevant legal and regulatory framework, and practices needed to support and enhance the quality, safety and environmental soundness of goods, services and processes.”
The IEC is a core member of INetQI, alongside 11 other specialized international organizations that are active in promoting and implementing activities on metrology, accreditation, standardization and conformity assessment. These activities are considered as key elements of the “quality infrastructure” of a country, guaranteeing sustainable economic development.
The updated definition expands the scope of action of the INetQI to promote globally the acceptance of quality infrastructure. INetQI expects that it will create additional benefits for stakeholders, including its use as a foundation for sustainable development.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that standards and related conformity assessment have an impact on around 80% of the world’s trade in commodities. Furthermore, quality infrastructure is a key enabler for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs).
The availability of quality infrastructure underpins efforts to protect the planet, ensure dignified lives for all people and to achieve inclusive economic growth and prosperity. INetQI experts have created a set of three documents to support developing countries in the formulation of quality policies: guiding principles, technical guide and practical tool.
INetQI members include the following organizations:
- International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM)
- International Accreditation Forum (IAF)
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
- International Laboratory Accreditation Forum (ILAC)
- International Standards Organization (ISO)
- International Trade Centre (ITC)
- International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
- International Organizations of Legal Metrology (OIML)
- United Nations Economic Cooperation for Europe (UNECE)
- World Bank Group (WBG)
- World Trade Organization (WTO)
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)