Jamaica to Host 23rd Annual IAAC General Assembly

Photo: Dave Reid Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley, addressing a Jamaica Information Service Think Tank.

Story Highlights

  • Key to discussions at the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation’s (IAAC) 23rd Annual General Assembly, to be hosted in Jamaica, will be the impact of accreditation conformity assessments on the economies of developing nations.
  • The General Assembly will be held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James, from August 25 to 31.
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the host agency, Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley, is urging regulators and service providers to participate in the event, in order to get a clear understanding of the role of accreditation in national development.

Key to discussions at the Inter-American Accreditation Cooperation’s (IAAC) 23rd Annual General Assembly, to be hosted in Jamaica, will be the impact of accreditation conformity assessments on the economies of developing nations.

The General Assembly will be held at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in Montego Bay, St. James, from August 25 to 31.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the host agency, Jamaica National Agency for Accreditation (JANAAC), Sharonmae Shirley, is urging regulators and service providers to participate in the event, in order to get a clear understanding of the role of accreditation in national development.

“We believe that these are critical meetings for the Government of Jamaica and it opens up the opportunity for Government leaders to dialogue with practitioners who have been in this business for years and have a wealth of experience to share,” she said.

Mrs. Shirley, who spoke with JIS News, said with developed and developing countries vying for the same market, small nations must be informed and prepared to operate within the established standards.

“In order for us to compete effectively, we must understand the rules of the game. The conversations to be had during the meetings will be critical for us as a small developing state, in terms of how we can boost our exports by simply understanding how the other players perceive us as (a) small developing (country); and it will help us to understand that we need to have a paradigm shift in how we operate,” she said.

The CEO further emphasised that “for us to compete effectively with these first world countries, quality must become a hallmark for us.”

In addition to a suite of other sessions throughout the week, a delegation from the Quality Infrastructure Council of the Americas (QICA) will, on Monday, August 27, share with local and regional regulators how they can incorporate accredited-based conformity assessment processes within their operations.

This will serve to make processes more efficient and can also lead to expanding private sector employment opportunities, with accredited conformity assessment services such as inspection.

“Accreditation is a key pillar in the quality infrastructure in Jamaica. It is used in the domestic market to assure compliance, used in the trade arena to ensure trading facilities are not inhibited by a lack of conformity assessment providers, and it provides us, generally, with the assurance that we have a product that is safe and will reach market and be competitive,” Mrs. Shirley said.

The IAAC is a regional organisation that works through the joint effort of entities and professionals in the area of accreditation, inspection, testing and certification.

The IAAC’s mandate is to facilitate trade among the economies within the Americas through the development of an efficient system of conformity assessments. This should result in the improvement of products, processes and services, based on the equivalence of regional accreditation programmes.

JANAAC is a signatory to the IAAC’s multilateral arrangement for two key standards – the standard governing testing laboratories and the standard that governs medical laboratories.

JANAAC is hosting the IAAC 23rd Annual General Assembly as part of celebrations marking its 10th anniversary.

Representatives of the 21 IAAC member countries, as well as guests from extra-regional accreditation cooperations and other stakeholders, will be in attendance.

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