The European Union has provided an official letter to the IAF regional body EA, urging it to stop all accredited certification activities in Russia and Belarus.

The letter, written by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMES, recognized EA’s prior statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but then went further and recommended a full stop of all related activities:

We recommend to the EU based National Accreditation Bodies in the current circumstances to terminate their accreditation services to Conformity Assessment Bodies established in Russia and Belarus. The above refers not only to new accreditations, but also to the renewal of existing accreditations and to the monitoring of Conformity Assessment Bodies.

Moreover, we recommend … they consider terminating their conformity assessment services forproducts of operators established in Russia and Belarus, even if these products are not subject to an import ban in the EU. The above refers not only to new assessments, but also to on-going ones.

The entire letter may be read here.

The move comes as the IAF has remained paralyzed with bureaucratic paralysis, unable to produce a directive for its regional bodies, including EA, with regard to ceasing all work supporting Russia and Belarus. The IAF originally produced a short statement discussing the “war” in Ukraine, but quickly revised the statement to comply with Russia’s demands to refer to the invasion as a “situation.” The IAF has not directed its bodies to stop supporting Russia.

The IAF has been working on a revised statement for weeks, but the discussions are stalled as the IAF’s “executive” function cannot agree with the wording provided by its members. The IAF appears to be ignoring its corporate bylaws, and does not seem to understand who actually leads the organization.

ISO also continues to sell products in Russia, and has refused to remove Russia from key standards development committees.

The Russian invasion is now in its third month, and the ISO/IAF community has been unable to stop profiteering by accreditation and certification bodies in the region. This has led governments to push ISO and IAF into taking action. Recently, the UK government banned all management consulting activities in the region, in a move clearly aimed at UKAS and BSI.

The IAF has no firm path forward on what to do if accreditation or certification bodies simply ignore the various mandates, as Quality Austria has done. Quality Austria has significant operations in Russia, and has not stopped its work in the region. The IAF regional body APAC, under the leadership of Graeme Drake, has also extended its reach to Russia, and has refused to release any guidance or restrictions at all on the region. Drake’s pay is thought to be tied to his ability to expand into regions like Russia.

the laboratory accreditation group ILAC is finding itself under increasing pressure, as well, as many Russian military test labs are certified under the ILAC banner. ILAC leadership has also been crippled under bureaucratic procedures, and has partially blamed APAC for its inability to develop an official position. The EU recommendation, which covers laboratories, will make ILAC’s intransigence more difficult to defend.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has widely exposed much fo the corruption in the IAF/ISO scheme, as the parties have reaped millions in revenue by supporting dictatorial regimes, while ignoring human rights abuses, slavery, labor violations and defective product recalls.

The IAF is managed on a daily basis by a single Canadian consultant, Elva Nilsen of Quebec. It is registered as a US company. The IAF’s current Chair is Emanuele Riva of the Italian accreditation body ACCREDIA, which also does work in Russia.

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