October 30 and 31, 2002 Santiago, Chile
1. Accreditation of Delegates
The President Felipe Urresta welcomed the members present at the VIII General Assembly.
2. Verification of Quorum
As 27 out of 34 members were present, quorum was established.
3. Approval of the Agenda
The agenda was approved without further comments.
4. Welcome from the Director of INN, Lee Ward
Lee Ward welcomed all participants.
5. Approval of the Minutes from the Previous General Assembly
This item was adjourned for Thursday morning as the delegates did not have time to analyze the minutes.
6. Ratification of Council Resolutions
This item was adjourned for Thursday morning for the delegates to have more time to analyze the resolutions.
7. Report from SIM President, Felipe Urresta
The Report from the President was included in the GA Workbook.
Hector Laiz supported the President’s invitation to all institutions to provide training for other institutes. He also asked about the institutional relation between SIM and IAAC, which had not been previously mentioned. Hector Laiz believed that this was a relevant issue, specially related to the question of other institutes’ participation at the CIPM and at MRAs.
Felipe Urresta responded Hector Laiz’s request pointing out that this issue would be discussed the following day, under item 17, when Dr. Ana Maria Coro from IAAC would bring some words on the subject.
Anselm Gittens congratulated SIM President for his speech, requesting an English version of the report.
8. Report from Executive Secretary, Oscar Harasic
The report was included in the GA workbook.
9. Report from Professional Development Committee, Yoshito Mitani
The report was included in the GA workbook.
Hector Laiz asked for clarification about OAS’s rules for financing training events.
Oscar Harasic explained that the Scholarship Program had a submission deadline for formal courses, such as Doctorship Programs. The scholarship could be granted for the period of one year. If one is interested in enrolling in a two years course, one would have to request extension of the scholarship period after the successful completion of the first. He also informed about the recent publication of a new form for scholarship requests.
Yoshito Mitani said that he was having some difficulties concerning this Program, as there did not seem to be enough time for the necessary steps to be taken. Even thought the Program had been modified, he had not got the new form yet, but as soon as he got it, he would send it to all SIM members.
João Jornada added a comment to what Hector Laiz said, mentioning that in Brazil they have been offering short term courses. He also expressed his belief that in the next meeting Brazil would have the possibility of offering such courses, but mainly in Portuguese.
Felipe Urresta expressed two of his concerns on this issue. The first one is the need to define the structure for these programs as they should not be made in a sporadic way. He is also concerned on the official language used in the programs as it may become a barrier to the access of some institutions.
Dianne Lalla-Rodrigues then said that although the language might become a problem, everybody should at least be aware of the courses that were being offered, even if they were in Portuguese or in any other language, since people could take advantage of that.
Hratch Semerjian raised the question of the time needed to make a subscription. The latter must be made in advance and most people waited until the last minute to subscribe. He said that in NIST website one could find a list of courses but it was up to those interested to get in touch.
Steve Carpenter agreed with Hratch Semerjian, saying that anyone interested in subscribing should make an effort to apply early. Even for sponsorship, advance was needed. He also mentioned that working groups should be aware of what is going on related to their groups.
Yoshito Mitani then mentioned that he would ask regional coordinators to get informed on the courses available for this year so as to have a panoramic availability. He also said that funding was available for some particular courses. He gave as an example free courses offered by CENAM in which the participant only paid for his expenses. He also mentioned that there could be a change in the way of funding PDC activities. According to him, the concern was that there were great differences among countries and maybe not all demands could be supplied. It would be easier if the website was used for publicizing information. The best way was for PDC to get in touch with institutes to know about their courses availability.
Willie May then brought up the question that no institution could send all their staff to the courses. It was the participant’s responsibility to get back and share their learning. He also said that it was necessary to know that money for training would have an impact and was not just spent.
Anselm Gittens then reminded all members that even if one could not attend all courses, one could still have access to the electronic version of what had happened.
Ed Nemeroff then offered to make it available the schedule of the tutorial courses for the following year. He also said that they might be able to prepare 100 cds with the last courses that had already taken place.
10. Report from the Technical Committee, Ismael Castelazo
The report was included in the GA workbook.
Jose Dajes thanked Ismael Castelazo for his report but asked for more transparency on the budget spent on technical activities, showing which organisms had been benefited.
Ismael Castelazo said that specific information was available in the Working Group reports. He affirmed that the countries benefiting from strictly technical activities had been those that indicated a certain interest in intercomparisons. However, he added that very few resources of SIM had been used for intercomparisons as most of the money was used for training and meetings. Ismael Castelazo also said that the main problem had not been a lack of resources, but a lack of specialized personnel.
Luis Mussio raised the question about a resolution from the Council on how to spend SIM’s resources. He said that one resolution established that SIM funds could not be used for key comparisons.
Ismael Castelazo then explained that the Council issued a resolution establishing that key comparisons will not be funded with SIM resources. The reason for this resolution is that the Council feels that OAS funds are used more effectively for development activities. Key comparisons, on the other hand, are used to promote mutual recognition of measurement and calibration capabilities for trade purposes. NMIs participate in SIM comparisons as they develop the appropriate measurement and calibration capabilities. Otherwise, they benefit from SIM training oportunities. Continuing with his explanation, Ismael Castelazo said that key comparisons did not need to be the same ones as those from CIPM. There could be parallel comparisons, of smaller magnitude, as they were necessary for establishing MRAs.
11. Report from SIM Representative to the JCRB, Hratch Semerjian
The report was included in the GA workbook.
Hratch Semerjian explained that the report included in the workbook was the one that had been presented at JCRB and that the report that delegates should have was the one distributed at the beginning of GA and there had been no time to include it in the workbook.
Hratch Semerjian also mentioned that the document JCRB9/10 “Guidelines for the monitoring and reporting of the operation of Quality Systems by RMOs” (that was included in the documents to be discussed in the Council Meeting) was a draft of what should be done. It would be up to the task forces to do that in accordance to the guidelines of JCRB.
He also said that the reviews should be submitted by December 2003 and that the necessary steps should be taken if one participates in a key comparison and shows a performance which is below what is expected or if one does not participate in a relevant key comparison.
12. Report from Technical Permanent Advisor, Steve Carpenter and
13. Report on the Status of SIM/OAS Project for 2003, Oscar Harasic / Steve Carpenter
The report was included in the GA workbook.
The report showed a reduction on the funds provided by OAS.
Felipe Urresta raised a concern on how to manage this reduction. The question should be taken to the Council.
Ed Nemeroff commented that SIM should consider the possibility of getting sponsorship from industry.
Steve Carpenter complemented saying that the participation of more exhibitors at GA should be supported , which could help raising more funds, following Chile’s example. Another possibility could be the support from Development Banks.
Hratch Semerjian reminded the contribution from laboratories. He informed that OAS was not the only provider of the resources spent in SIM activities – some countries had been making some great contributions. According to him, this possiblity should be taken into account.
Ed Nemeroff mentioned that NCSLI had recently provided SIM with around US$ 5,000.00. Although this funding had not yet been formalized, he could try to provide the details on it. He also mentioned the possibility of raising funds through advertisement on the Infosim Magazine.
Janusz Lusztyk intervened to remember the importance of creating a consciousness of the impact of all funding spent.
14. Report from SIM Representative to NCSLI, João Jornada
The report was included in the GA workbook.
João Jornada also talked about the importance of SIM participating at NCSLI. He believed this interaction should be deepened. According to him, this was an interesting opportunity specially concerning training. It was decided to start this interaction with the translation of documents to the Spanish language, as the translation to Portuguese would be done by Inmetro.
15. SIM Database at NIST, Robert Watters
Felipe Urresta informed that as Robert Watters could not be present at the GA, Luis Mussio should make the presentation for him.
Luis Mussio first showed how people could do research about key comparisons on NIST website.
Many doubts were brought up by some members and to clarify this point, it was suggested that Hratch Semerjian prepared a presentation about the different comparisons and their definitions. He agreed and said he would prepare it for the following day.
16. Presentation of Sub-regional Reports (including the appointment of Regional Coordinators and Representatives to TC and PDC)
16.1 NORAMET: Willie May started his presentation saying that as all members from NORAMET were members of an MRA, all work in the subregion had been related to that. He also mentioned that there had been a great number of activities related to courses and training. Willie May believed the three countries had the role of providing training as leaders from the cooperation with PTB. Willie May gave the names of the representatives of NORAMET:
Coordinator: Janusz Luztyk (NRC, Canada)
Technical Committee Representative: Jim Pekelsky (NRC, Canada)
Professional Development Committee Representative: Yoshito Mitani (CENAM, Mexico)
Raul Nunez informed all members that Infosim Magazine nº 8 was ready.
Jose Dajes asked about the reports of other regions that had not been in the workbook. Luis Mussio suggested they should be publicized in SIM website.
16.2 CAMET: report was included in the workbook.
Evelyn de Vanegas made the presentation and indicated the names of the Sub-region representatives:
Coordinator: Carlos Roberto Ochoa (CONACYT, El Salvador)
Technical Committee Representative: Cynthia Zapata (LACOMET, Costa Rica)
Professional Development Committee Representative: Gustavo Montiel (LNM, Nicaragua)
16.3 CARIMET: Hermon Edmondson distributed a report to all members that shall be publicized on the website. He also indicated the names of Sub-region representatives:
Coordinator: Hermon Edmondson (BSJ, Jamaica)
Technical Committee Representative: Theodore Reddock (TTBS, Trinidad & Tobago)
Professional Development Committee Representative: Kevin Chalemagne (SLBS, St. Lucia)
16.4 ANDIMET: report was included in the workbook
Jose Dajes made his presentation and indicated the representatives for the sub-region:
Coordinator: Jose Dajes (INDECOPI, Peru)
Technical Committee Representative: Haygas Kalustián (Sencamer, Venezuela)
Professional Development Committee Representative: Rene Chanchay (INEN, Ecuador)
16.5 SURAMET: Luis Mussio made his presentation and explained that their report would be publicized on SIM website. He also indicated the representatives of the sub-region:
Coordinator: Luis Mussio (LATU, Uruguay)
Technical Committee Representative: Gustavo Rangugni (INTI, Argentina)
Professional Development Committee Representative: João Jornada (Inmetro, Brasil)
The meeting was adjourned for the following day.
Quorum was verified, 25 out of 34 members being present.
17. Presentation of other Organizations attending the General Assembly
Reiner Schroer made a brief report on SIM-PTB Project. Dr. Reiner also emphasized the importance of including the area of Accreditation in the SIM-PTB Project.
After this introduction, Dr. Reiner invited Alex Valqui to make a presentation on the Project. It was decided to publicize Alexis’ presentation on the website.
Some questions were raised about PTB-SIM Project on Chemical Metrology and Accreditation. Felipe Urresta then clarified that this question should be discussed in details during the Council Meeting, after the GA.
Willie May made some comments as he was in charge of the Chemical Metrology Working Group. This working group shall be responsible for defining actions to be taken and also how the available resources will be applied. Willie May informed that during the Chemical Metrology Working Group Meeting on Friday they would have the opportunity of discussing these questions in details.
Felipe Urresta invited Alexis Valqui to take part at the Council Meeting later, to give more details on SIM-PTB Project.
Hector Laiz expressed his point of view, pointing out that this issue should be discussed during the GA and not during the Council Meeting. He also asked about other German institutions involved in the process.
Felipe Urresta then said that everybody could participate at the Council Meeting as observers, to discuss this point.
Ed Nemeroff made a brief presentation on this subject that will be publicized on the website.
In his presentation he emphasized the highlights of NCSLI Annual Conference in San Diego, California August, 2002 and about future activities.
Robert Wielgosz made a brief presentation on BIPM and CIPM activities. He mentioned that the CIPM agreement had been into force for three years and that from now on we would be able to notice its benefits and impacts.
A letter from Terry Quinn, the director of BIPM, was distributed to all members on the following subject: “The growing importance of metrology and the benefits of participation in the Metre Convention, notably the CIPM MRA”.
Some questions were raised by the members and Robert Wielgosz informed that in the website of BIPM (http://www.bipm.fr), one could find more detailed information on the points discussed.
Ismael Castelazo then informed Mr. Wielgosz that members of CARIMET had asked him to talk to Terry Quinn about the possibility of its members participating in BIPM not as individual countries but as a whole economy, represented by the CARICOM agreement. Ismael Castelazo also informed that Terry Quinn confirmed this possibility but related to the question should be brought to CGPM for approval.
Jose Dajes intervened showing his interest that this possibility could be available for all small economies. His suggestion was that the Council prepared a proposal of lower fees for small economies in order to join BIPM.
Felipe Urresta talked about the complexity of this point of discussion. In his opinion this issue should be taken to the Council Meeting.
Although the item had not been included in the Agenda, Felipe Urresta asked Ana Maria Coro from IAAC to make a presentation on the last meeting of the organization.
Ana Maria Coro made a presentation about IAAC last meeting, held in Salvador, Brazil, last October. In this meeting elections for the new president and vice president of IAAC were held. A new organizational structure for the organism was also established then. She also emphasized the necessity of strengthening the relations among IAAC, SIM and COPANT to reach a commitment towards the Free Trade Area of Americas in 2005.
Ana Maria Coro also mentioned an important action that happened during that meeting that was the signature of an MLA for laboratories and for organisms for the certification of quality systems.
18. Election of SIM President
Felipe Urresta asked the Executive Secretary, Oscar Harasic, to read SIM statutes concerning the election of the new President.
After Oscar Harasic read the articles of the statutes with reference to the election of the new President, Janusz Luztyk asked for a clarification concerning the duration of the Presidency.
Oscar Harasic responded to the question affirming that the Presidency would last for two years and the President could be reelected just once. He then informed that on May 31th, the Executive Secretary sent a letter inviting the 34 institutions responsible for the metrology in the region to present candidates to the Presidency of SIM for the period 2002 – 2004. As the present General Assembly was postponed to October, the Executive Secretary sent a second letter informing that the deadline for the presentation of candidates to the Presidency of SIM was also postponed to September 27th.
Oscar Harasic informed that Ecuador was the only country that formally presented Felipe Urresta as a candidate for the election on June 17th. After reading the résumé of the candidate and his work plan for the exercise of the Presidency of SIM, Oscar Harasic informed that all interested could request a copy of Felipe Urresta’s work plan to the Executive Secretary.
Before the secret ballots were distributed, Felipe Urresta asked a few minutes to say some words.
“I’d like to tell you why I’m running for the election. The first time I thought of running for the election of SIM President there was a little bit of saying: ‘it’s very nice to be SIM President, there’s prestige…’. But this time I took over, I found out other interesting things taken from the real life. For me it has been a wonderful experience to be in the regions – CARIMET, CAMET, ANDIMET – talking about reality. I had been in meetings at NIST, Brazil and other places like PTB, and I can see science and sophistication and I can see it’s another time in History. But when I go back to our countries I see what’s really needed. I hope I have more time to do something else because there’s much to do and I’d like to be part of the effort trying to leave these regions which need the most and to be the voice of these countries to the other countries that sometimes think they can make decisions with the best intentions, but sometimes these intentions don’t go to the right direction. Sometimes I think we don’t have the possibility of understanding each other in our needs. That’s why I’m running for reelection.. So if you would excuse I would leave the room and wait at the lobby”.
Oscar Harasic then asked Taynah Souza, from the Secretariat, to read the names of each delegate, who would receive one ballot to vote. Taynah Souza read all names and noticed that 27 countries were represented by their delegates. The only countries that were not represented at the GA were: Bahamas, Barbados, Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Colombia and Bolivia.
Oscar Harasic invited the delegates to vote, for what they would have one minute. After the ballots were collected, the Executive Secretariat – Oscar Harasic, the Secretariat represented by Taynah Souza and two delegates that volunteered (Carlos Roberto Ochoa from El Salvador and Zully Millesi from Paraguay) proceed to the counting of the votes. It was stated that there were 27 votes and the four delegates proceeded to the counting.
While the delegates proceeded to the counting, Hratch Semerjian made a presentation on Intercomparisons to clarify some doubts of the delegates. He decided to discuss the question and if after that, everything was understood and the interested people agreed in the points discussed, he would send it to all SIM members.
After his presentation Hratch Semerjian complained about a delay on the distribution of the minutes from the last GA. He pointed out that in SIM statutes it was established that delegates should receive the minutes within 60 days after the meeting. Hratch Semerjian complained saying that he and many others only received it on the day of the present meeting. He asked the President to give instructions on the subject to the Secretariat.
Felipe Urresta then explained that this question would be brought up later during the item ‘Other Business’, as he had received some other complaints.
Felipe Urresta then asked Oscar Harasic to give the result of the election, who asked Carlos Roberto Ochoa from El Salvador to read the minute containing the result. Carlos Roberto Ochoa pointed out that 2 votes represented abstentions and 25 votes were favorable to the election of Felipe Urresta. With this result, Felipe Urresta was reelected for the period 2002-2004. Felipe Urresta thanked the opportunity to everybody.
Resolution GA01/02: Felipe Urresta was reelected for the SIM Presidency, for the period 2002-2004.
João Jornada expressed his congratulations on behalf of the Past President, Armando Mariante from Inmetro, Brazil.
Felipe Urresta then returned to the point 5 ‘Approval of the Minutes from the Previous General Assembly’. He first mentioned some complaints he received specially about the sending of the minutes. Felipe Urresta mentioned the existence of a resolution about the necessity of sending the minutes sixty days in advance from the meeting. He said he hoped this procedure would be followed in the next meeting.
Ismael Castelazo then informed that after checking his e-mails he found out that the minutes of the last meeting were sent on January 22nd and that this was indeed in reasonable time.
Hector Nava Jaimes made a comment on the lack of response to e-mails from some delegates. He added that it was also important that comments were made in reasonable time too.
The minutes were approved with the following amendments:
1) where it says “Mr. Da Costa retired from JCRB” should say “from JBS”.
2) The last part that says “a happy birthday for NIST” should be more elaborated as a presentation was made and a plaque was given to NIST.
The Secretariat would be responsible for such changes.
Resolution GA02/02: Approval of the minutes of the VII General Assembly held in Miami, USA, December 12th and 13th.
Paulo Ferracioli from the Secretariat then pointed out that the minutes from the last meeting were in our website since February what allowed enough time for the analysis of the delegates.
Hermon Edmondson commenting Paulo Ferracioli’s statement said that in fact people are not used to visiting the website so often. He explained that part of it is because of past problems faced by the website when it wasn’t frequently updated. As this situation has changed, he supports the idea of using the website more often.
Felipe Urresta then said that this matter would be discussed during the item ‘Other Business’ when Taynah Souza would make a presentation on the website.
After some discussion on the works of the Secretariat, Janusz Luztyk proposed a public greeting for Brazil for keeping the Secretariat of SIM (applause).
Felipe Urresta then turned to point 6 of the agenda: ‘Ratification of Council Resolutions’. Having no comments, the resolutions were approved.
Resolution GA03/02: The General Assembly ratified Council Resolutions of the year 2002.
19. Meeting Calendar and IX General Assembly – Presentation by Panama about the IX General Assembly, 2003
Taynah Souza read a letter from Panama confirming the organization of the next GA with September as a tentative date. A copy of the letter was distributed to all delegates.
Hector Nava Jaimes congratulated Panama for the offer and it was agreed that the President Felipe Urresta would send a formal letter thanking Panama for their initiative.
Steve Carpenter asked for a more specific date for the GA. Hernando Florez specified the week from 14th to 19th of September as a possible date for the organization of the next GA. It was agreed that this should be a tentative date and all delegates should check in their agendas within one week to confirm this date.
Resolution GA04/02: The 2003 GA Meeting will be held in Panama, during the week of September 14 to 19 (to be confirmed)
Haygas Kalustián ratified Venezuela’s position of organizing the X General Assembly in 2004.
Resolution GA05/02: The 2004 GA Meeting will be hosted by Venezuela. The dates will be defined in the 2003 GA Meeting.
20. Other Business
Hratch Semerjian proposed a motion – supported by Janusz Luztyk – of congratulating Chile for their hospitality and organization. Applause for Lee Ward for such a nice organization of the GA. Felipe Urresta also gave a plaque to Lee Ward to thank Chile’s hospitality.
Taynah Souza then made a presentation on SIM website. She mentioned that the problems concerning the payment of the website were solved and that from now on the website would be on air and updated frequently. She also invited all members to visit the website more frequently and to send information to help updating it. Another point that was raised was the translation of the website. Taynah Souza explained that the Portuguese version was almost ready and volunteers to prepare the Spanish version were welcomed. She also pointed out that a new person was hired, specialized in webdesign to work full time on the website. She then explained that there had been a partnership with OAS, that kept SIM’ mirror site. Taynah Souza finished her presentation asking all working groups and subregions to prepare their own sites to be included in the website.
Hector Laiz showed his concern about two questions: the SIM-PTB Project in Chemical Metrology and the interaction with IAAC. He asked whether these questions would be discussed during the GA or during the Council Meeting.
Felipe Urresta then answered that they should be discussed during the Council Meeting and that those interested could take part at the Council Meeting to discuss these questions.
Haygas Kalustián asked for more discussion on SIM-PTB Project. He added that if it was to be discussed during the Council Meeting, decisions would only be ratified during next GA next year.
Janusz Lusztyk then proposed a resolution to support the Project between the German government and OAS, which was unanimously approved:
Resolution GA06/02: General Assembly supports the cooperative project between German government and the OAS in support of development of Chemical Metrology with the members of SIM. General Assembly supports SIM Council in its efforts to establish an appropriate system for the execution of this project.
Haygas Kalustián pointed out that there should be a representative of SIM in IAAC. Felipe Urresta then explained that to participate in other organizations an invitation was required. A proposal to the Council was suggested concerning the preparation of a formal invitation to IAAC to participate in the General Assembly.
21. Closing Session
Before closing, Felipe Urresta said some words about the importance of metrology for the region. He recorded the History of the Metrology System. He emphasized the role of OAS, NIST and other organisms in the assistance to the Metrology System in Americas.
Felipe Urresta also reminded the reestablishment of SIM in 1995 as a really important occasion. He stressed the work of Dr. Steve Carpenter and Dr. Oscar Harasic as fundamental the evolution of SIM as an institution:
“I think it’s my personal duty to say thank you to those involved in the establishment of SIM and who have helped to consolidate the institutes. Please give me the opportunity to give a plaque to the gentlemen who I consider the responsible for the reestablishment of SIM and its consolidation. I know that many other people are working very hard for that but I’d say they’re the leaders of that process. So I’m going to proceed giving some plaques in alphabetic order”
Felipe Urresta first gave a plaque to João Jornada on behalf of Armando Mariante for his work at Inmetro and his staff as the Past President of SIM.
He then gave a plaque for Hector Nava Jaimes and his staff for all his work specially when he was SIM’s President.
After that, Felipe Urresta gave a plaque for Oscar Harasic for his role as Executive Secretariat of SIM.
He then gave a plaque to Steve Carpenter for his personal commitment at SIM.
Lee Ward then thanked the participants for their kindness towards Chile for their organization. He added that it had been a pleasure for INN to prepare the GA. He expressed his satisfaction in sharing the last days with all members.
The meeting was closed, and the Presidency made wishes for a nice return for everyone.