The second phase of the Twinning project for AzAK, the National Accreditation Body of the Republic of Azerbaijan has just started. Launched in September 2017, the “Strengthening the National Accreditation System of the Republic of Azerbaijan” project is managed by a consortium of European accreditation bodies that will see Accredia commitment until August 2019, alongside the German DAkkS, as a leading partner, and LATAK, the Latvian Authority.
Accredia, which already participated in two major Twinning projects – for EGAC, in Egypt, and for MOLDAC, in Moldova – has access to the European Commission’s tenders as Mandated Body, that is a subject similar to the Public Administrations of the Member States. The latter are in fact authorized to participate in European tenders called to support non-EU countries in the implementation of local administrative structures, and in the strengthening of territorial institutional bodies, so that they operate in line with the policies of the EU.
Specifically, the Twinning project for Azerbaijan aims to improve the organizational structure and skills of AzAK’s staff, encouraging the development of a national conformity assessment system that is an effective technical tool at the service of the market, institutions and consumers. Another important objective of the project is the recognition of AzAK by the supranational associations as European accreditation co-operation for accreditation (EA), International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).
To achieve these results, Accredia, DAkkS and LATAK have already completed several of the 25 activities planned within the four components in which the project is organized: “Upgrading the legal and regulatory framework”, “Capacity Building”, “Institutional Capacity improvement” and “External Communication and International Networking”.
More than 140 man-days, over 30 technical experts with different skills, 10 training sessions including workshops, seminars and technical meetings, 4 meetings of the technical coordination committee and 2 public conferences. These are the numbers of the first 12 months of the project, for which the European Commission has allocated 1,200,000 euros in two years.
In particular, Accredia is responsible for the “Communication” component, which includes a series of activities aimed at improving the external and international relations of AzAK, through the production of communication materials, the organization of events and the implementation of tools able to reach all types of targets, from the Public Administration to potential international partners, from accredited organizations to economic operators, with particular attention to national and local institutions.
The first communication challenge for AzAK was, in fact, to be able to become the reliable interlocutor of the Government, committed at the same time on the drafting of a law aimed at conferring a legal status to the accreditation activity and a role of authority to the national body providing this service, in compliance with Regulation 765/2008, which would not have mandatory application outside the EU.
Recognition and reputation, awareness and competence are the key words on which Accredia’s technical experts have implemented the services and developed the messages for AzAK, starting with the preparation of the first communication plan, which has defined a series of activities and corporate communication actions already underway, to promote the knowledge of the organization and the benefits of accreditation.
As the new website accreditation.gov.az, online from the first year of the project and designed together with the AzAK team, the institutional brochure created together with EA, of which in the meantime AzAK has become an associated member, the workshops for the PA and the business world, which involved the professionals of Accredia, DAkkS and LATAK as speakers.
In the Twinning for AzAK, therefore, the goal of awareness has supported and will continue to support the primary one of strengthening the skills and structure of the national accreditation system, because a reliable and robust national accreditation body provides an opportunity for the whole socio-economic system, increasing the quality of products and services for consumers and promoting competitiveness to local companies in international markets.
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