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The year 2000 is the last year of the 20th century, and it also happens to be the 125th year since the Metre Convention (Convention du Metre) was formally signed by 17 countries on May 20, 1875. The CIPM has decided to celebrate the 125th anni versary of the Convention on October 16 at the French Academy of Sciences, together with a commemorating symposium the following day. At the same time, the CIPM decided to propose May 20 as International (World) Metrology Day in order to disseminate the International System of Units (SI) and to romote worldwide traceability of measurement standards and international uniformity of measurement systems. These are traditionally the main objectives of the Convention. The proposal was presented in October 1999 to the 21st General Conference of Weights and Measures (CGPM) in Paris and was supported unanimously. As one of the proposers, I am very pleased to see the creation of the special Day and hope that as many states and economies as possible will make use of it to promote their metrology activities by organizing appropriate events and publicity in collaboration with other members and/or regional organizations as necessary.As is well known, the history of the metric system goes back to the work of French scientists in the 18th century, but the consensus among potential states to adopt it as a worldwide measurement system was not reached until 1875. This followed lengthy scientific and diplomatic discussions in several international meetings organized through the initiative of the French govemment. At first only 17 states ratified the Convention, but the number of signatories increased to 21 in 1900, to 32 in 1950, to 44 by 1975 and currently there are 48.

Because of the remarkable progress of science and technology and the globalization of the world economy at this time, there is a rapidly increasing need for international uniformity of measurement and mutual recognition of measurement and testing. Even though the number of Member States of the Convention is still below 50, there are almost 200 states and economies in the world where this uniformity of measurement standards

and their mutual recognition are increasingly required.
The CIPM continues to invite those states outside the Convention to join as new members but, at the same time, is aware that there are many smaller or less afnuent states or economies that would have difficulty meeting the cost of membership of the Convention. As a mechanism tcI connect those States and economies to the Member States, the CIPM proposed a new scheme of Associates whereby, upon payment of a minor subscription, they are able to be linked to the Mutual Rec ognition Arrangement for measurement standards and for calibration and measurement certificates. The scheme was authorized by Resolution 2 of the 21st CGPM. The proposal for creating Associates was adopted as Resolution 3 at the same CGPM, and we are very pleased to have Hong Kong, one of our APMP members, be the first Associate of the Metre Convention as ofApri1 2000. I do hope to have more Member States and Associates of the Metre Convention from the APMP region in the near future.

August 18, 200
Kozo Iizuka

Vice-President of the CIPM

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