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[no.22] APMP Developing Economies' Committee (DEC)

Mr. P. Shiowattana

At the 16th APMP General Assembly, held in Thailand during November 9-10, 2000, APMP members agreed to the establishment of an APMP Committee whose principal objective is to help address the needs of member National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) from developing economies, and to oversee and coordinate associated work programs. It is my great honor to be assigned by the Assembly to be Chairman of the APMP Developing Economies' Committee (DEC) established for this purpose.

Developing national metrology institute in the developing economies has been a very difficult task.

I was appointed by the Thai Government to be the first Director of National Institute of Metrology (Thailand) on June 1, 1998. During the period of over two years in this position, I have been facing up with a wide range of issues. In short, there are three big challenges that would stay with us for along, they are:
Challenge with time: Time is not on our side. We have to compete with time to develop NMI to attain an international recognized level, within the shortest possible time and at the least possible cost.

Challenge with crisis: This is probably special to the case of Thailand. NIMT was established in the middle of the worst economic recession of the country. We have to be able to justify to the policy maker the necessity of our existence. Similar situation, though different in degree, may also exist in other economies.

Challenge with ignorance: Metrology seems to be like air around us. No one cares about it until it's not there. We have to explain time and again to different officers the differences of (measurement) standards and (product) standards, between (legal) metrology and (scientific) metrology etc.

I always feel that somewhere in the world there must be some of our colleagues who may be facing or already had faced such challenges. It would be much more efficient if experiences could be exchanged so that new comer NMIs doesn't have to repeat past mistakes and be able to achieve the goal faster and more economical.

During the 15th APMP General Assembly held in Chinese Taipei, delegates from member NMIs from developing economies had an opportunity to sit together to exchange their experiences in promoting and developing measurement system in their respective economies. We had discussed about the roles of APMP in supporting the development of NMIs in developing economies. Our general feeling is that there still is no platform to cater our specific needs. I was asked to represent the member delegates, from KIM-LIPI, Indonesia, SIRIM Malaysia, NSCL Syria, VMI Vietnam and NIMT Thailand, to speak out our opinion at the General Assembly. We propose for:

  • Collective effort to plan and coordinate activities that could cater needs of NMIs in developing countries
  • Forum that could connect with similar organization in other RMO's or organizations
  • Forum comprising metrologists from developing countries with advisors from developed NMIs

    Our issue was well accepted in the General Assembly. And in the following meeting in March 2000, APMP Executive Committee had asked me to prepare a proposalfor measures in supporting developing economies NMIs and submit it to the Executive Committee or the General Assembly meetings.

    I believed that the proposal should reflect accurately needs of NMIs. I considered it to be beneficial if NMIs from developing economies could have an opportunity to listen to experiences from successful NMIs that have just been established during the past decades. I have helped to organize a Workshop for NMIs from Developing Economies on November 7, 2000, during the APMP meetings held in Bangkok. Three Directors from successful NMIs were invited to give presentations on their experiences of building up NMIs from almost nothing, as following:

    "Development of NMI in Turkey" by Dr. Huseyin Ugur, Director of National Metrology Institute, Turkey
    "Development of NMI in Singapore" by Mr. Lam Kong Hong, Director of National Measurement Center, PSB Singapore
    "Development of NMI in Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)" by Dr. Boh-Sheng Harn, Deputy General Director of Center for Measurement Standards, ITRI Taiwan (Chinese Taipei)

    All three presentations are very informative and could give participants clearer picture of the path developing economies had taken in developing their NMIs. In the afternoon session, all participants in the workshop, about 70, enthusiastically discussed to identify work plan that could help develop NMIs.

    The Developing Economies' Committee has been set up. The platform has been provided for. It's now up to all the NMIs, developing and developed, to join hands to help make the objectives of the Committee realized. For all colleagues from developing economies' NMIs, all the success relies mostly on our own initiatives and efforts.
    It's a new millennium. I hope DEC could be able to make some waves within the metrology society.

    Junuary, 2001
    Prayoon Shiowattana

    National Institute of Metrology (Thailand)

    Developing national metrology instit

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