Twinning project in Azerbaijan officially launched
A kick-off meeting held in Baku in September saw the official launch of a Twinning project between the European Union and the Azerbaijani Accreditation Centre (AZAC). Over the next two years and under the leadership of the German accreditation body Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle (DAkkS), AZAC will be modernised and reoriented on the basis of international standards and in accordance with the EU regulatory framework.
The Twinning project “Strengthening the National Accreditation System of the Republic of Azerbaijan” is part of the process of preparing for peer evaluation by the European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA). The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in a German-Italian-Latvian consortium.
Over the coming 24 months, numerous individual measures will be used to strengthen the competencies of AZAC and create new structures. These include activities in the areas of legal advice and the training of employees and assessors, as well as the development of a quality management system that meets the requirements of the international and European accreditation organisations IAF, ILAC and EA. In addition to DAkkS, the accreditation bodies in Italy (ACCREDIA) and Latvia (LATAK) are also involved in the Twinning project.
“Accreditation activities make an important contribution to strengthening the quality infrastructure and thus the economy of a country. Our task is to work together with our colleagues from Italy and Latvia to help develop the national accreditation body AZAC”, said Dr. Stephan Finke, Managing Director of DAkkS, at the kick-off meeting in Baku.
The kick-off event on 7 September in Baku was attended by numerous high-ranking guests from the worlds of politics and business, including Ramiz Hasanov, Chairman of the State Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Patents of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SCSMP), and German Ambassador Michael Kindsgrab.
German project leader and also Head of Division at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with responsibility for accreditation and conformity assessment, Dr. Norbert Schultes, pointed out in his opening words: “Quality infrastructure provides us with a fully-fledged scheme to connect and relate with each other standardization, conformity assessment, accreditation and metrology. And as a consequence it promotes competitiveness, efficient production, innovations, sustainable economic development and last but not least national and international exchange of goods and services. To sum it up: quality infrastructure is part of good governance.”
Sabiq Abdullayev, Deputy General Director of AZAC, stressed the importance of accreditation for the economy of his country: “Our goal is to strengthen Azerbaijan's economy and to improve local exporters' access to the world market. We create an accreditation system that meets European requirements and thus fulfills a prerequisite for improving the international competitiveness of our companies.“
Initial activities for the project began on 1 July 2017, and it is expected to run until the end of June 2019. Azerbaijan is the fourth Twinning project in which DAkkS has participated, with others implemented in Egypt, Georgia and Ukraine.