The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has published ‘Quality and Standards and Their Role in Responding to COVID-19‘, a document examining the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade and the role that quality infrastructure can play in mitigating negative impacts and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Under the purview of the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA), management system standards like ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 allow companies to be better prepared to handle crisis situations like a pandemic, while ISO 45001 helps protect essential workers and ISO 22000 supports food safety. Accreditation of conformity assessment bodies ensures the reliability of conformity assessment results, and mutual recognition arrangements like the IAF MLA and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Arrangement (ILAC MRA) enable the flow of goods across borders. Application of standards ensures the quality of medical supplies, while international recognition of accreditation prevents delays in their distribution.
Additionally, to encourage the sharing of knowledge during the pandemic, UNIDO held a series of webinars on the role of conformity assessment during the crisis. IAF Chair Xiao Jianhua participated in a session held on 17 April, noting the guidance available from IAF both in the form of pre-existing documents and COVID-19 related FAQs. The expert panel attracted significant interest, with attendees from 64 economies who posed over 140 questions to the panel.
‘As COVID-19 places unprecedented pressure on economies and businesses, sharing knowledge is integral to minimizing negative effects and supporting the post-pandemic recovery,’ said Mr. Xiao. ‘IAF will continue to work with international partners and our member organizations to ensure reliable accreditation and certification.’