The International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), in a consolidated effort to support the burgeoning global halal industry.
IHAF is an independent, non-government network of accreditation agencies mandated to enforce halal standards in their countries and regions. Headquartered in Dubai, UAE, IHAF now has 31 members across six continents.
With the global Muslim population projected to reach 2.1 billion in 2027, representing 25.2 per cent of the global population, the global Muslim spend across various sectors is expected to witness significant growth over the next few years.
The MoU was signed by H.E. Engr. Mohamed Saleh Badri, Secretary General of IHAF; Xiao Jianhua, Chair of IAF; and Merih Malmqvist Nilsson, Chair of ILAC during the joint General Assembly meeting of ILAC and IAF held in Singapore. This cooperation is deemed as the cornerstone of an enhanced collaboration amongst the three organisations through exchanging knowledge as well as expertise, and developing mechanisms for technical work in areas of common interest. This is expected to result in opening new horizons to the global trade movement and in ensuring the ease of passage of various halal products and services amongst countries.
The MoU recognises the roles played by IAF and the ILAC in administering a network of multilateral mutual recognition arrangements of bodies, providing accreditation of conformity assessment bodies using internationally accepted standards. It also took into consideration the pivotal function of IHAF in recognising accreditation bodies (ABs) that accredit halal conformity assessment bodies (CABs) using the same international standards and relying on the peer evaluation process of IAF and ILAC.
The MoU also highlighted IHAF’s role in ensuring the credibility of CABs and facilitating trade of halal products and services; creating a platform whereby member ABs are part of a multilateral arrangement that enables the mutual acceptance and recognition of halal conformity compliance results; and recognising halal schemes as well as explaining to CABs, ABs and companies how to apply these schemes. The cooperation aims to avoid unnecessary duplication by relying on activities already performed by IAF and ILAC and their recognised regions, as well as its CABs.
Stressing on the significance of this achievement and the role of IHAF in this crucial move, H.E. Engr. Mohamed Saleh Badri, Secretary General, IHAF, said: “The cooperation with IAF and ILAC underscores the important role that IHAF plays as an independent organisation that grants international recognition to halal accreditation bodies. IHAF is continuously working to forge international strategic partnerships with premier international organisations that are significant in establishing as well as maintaining the highest standards, schemes and practices amongst accreditation bodies in order to safeguard the reliability and accuracy of the halal certificates issued by conformity assessment bodies.”
Driven by its mission of creating a robust global halal market and facilitating international trade, the UAE-based IHAF enables mutual recognition between member accreditation bodies to enhance international trade in the field of halal. By streamlining processes, IHAF facilitates cost-effective accreditation; which in turn produces cost-effective halal goods and promotes accessibility to global markets for halal-related firms.
“From its inception in 2016 and in just a span of two years, IHAF is pleased to have welcomed and accepted 31 accreditation bodies in its membership, and we are glad that many of the IHAF members are from countries that are currently major players in the global halal industry and trade,” H.E. Badri added.
The global halal market, considered to be one of the main pillars of the global economy, has undergone a stage of continuous growth over the last few years.
According to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2017/2018 by Thomson Reuters, halal food is the largest and most diverse sector of the Islamic economy, with spending expected to reach USD1.93 trillion by 2022. Amongst the lifestyle sectors, halal travel spending, which is estimated at USD169 billion in 2016, is forecast to reach USD283 billion by 2022. While halal pharmaceuticals is valued at USD83 billion in 2016, it is expected to reach USD132 billion by 2022. On the other hand, spending on halal cosmetics, estimated at USD57.4 billion in 2016, is projected to reach USD82 billion by 2022.
International arrangements are managed by ILAC in the fields of calibration, testing, medical testing and inspection accreditation and IAF in the fields of management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment.
Both organisations, ILAC and IAF, work together and coordinate their efforts to enhance the accreditation and the conformity assessment worldwide.
The regional arrangements are managed by the recognised regional co-operation bodies that work in harmony with ILAC and IAF. The recognised regional co-operations are also represented on the ILAC and IAF Executive Committees. ILAC works closely with the regional co-operation bodies involved in accreditation, notably EA in Europe, APLAC in the Asia-Pacific, IAAC in the Americas, AFRAC in Africa, SADCA in Southern Africa, and ARAC in the Arab region.