The mechanism by which IAF implements its objective is the IAF Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). Accreditation body members of IAF are admitted to the MLA only after a most stringent evaluation of their operations by a peer evaluation team which is charged to ensure that the applicant member complies fully with both the international standards and IAF requirements. Once an accreditation body is a member of the MLA it is required to recognize the certificates issued by certification/registration bodies accredited by all other members of the MLA.
IAF has granted Special Recognition to two Regional Accreditation Groups, the European co-operation for Accreditation (EA) and the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC), on the basis of the acceptance of the mutual recognition arrangements established within these organizations. Membership of the IAF MLA is recognized as being satisfied by membership of either the EA MLA or the PAC MLA and IAF members who are also signatories of these regional MLAs are automatically accepted into the IAF MLA. Special Recognition was granted to the Interamerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC) for the Quality Management Systems (QMS) MLA at the IAF Annual Meetings held in Cancun, Mexico in November 2006.
The number of IAF MLA Signatories at January 2009 is as follows:
IAF is encouraging more of its members to join the MLA, as soon as they have passed a rigorous evaluation process, to ensure that their accreditation programs are of world standard.
The consequence of joining the IAF MLA is that ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 conformity assessment certificates issued by certification/registration bodies accredited by any one of the members of the MLA will be recognized in the world wide IAF program.
Contact details of the accreditation bodies which are signatories to the MLA are listed on the IAF Members pages on the IAF website(www.iaf.nu).
IAF licensed the right to use the IAF MLA Mark to KAB, one of IAF MLA signatories, for use in conjuction with KAB's accreditation mark. The certification bodies accredited by KAB shall only use the IAF MLA mark in conjunction with KAB's own accreditation mark for programs within the scope of their accreditation which has been recognized under the IAF MLA. Certification bodies' customers are not allowed to use the IAF MLA mark.