SC Meeting in Riga

Geneva (13 September 2018): The 83rd SC meeting took place in Riga (Latvia) on 5 September 2018 under the chairmanship of Ms. Dalia Yarom (Israel). The meeting was opened by Ms. Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Minister of Finance of Latvia, and attended by 52 officials representing 18 out of 20 Contracting States (Slovak Republic and Sweden did not attend), 2 Applicant States (Italy and Serbia) as well as guests from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Russia and Spain.

Italy to join

The SC noted that no Contracting State had objected to Italy's accession and as a result, the Depositary would now officially invite Italy to join the Convention. The Chairperson expressed her satisfaction that Italy's accession had finally been agreed following years of negotiations.  Italy indicated that the ratification process should be swift.

The SC reviewed the accession process of Serbia, Sri Lanka and Ukraine, where little or no progress has been made over the past 6 months. In Ukraine, the accession process, which started back in 2005, has come to a complete standstill. The SC invited the Chairperson to write to Ukraine and give them until the end of the year to ratify; if not, Ukraine would be invited to reapply. 

Technical Annexes on track; CCM figures up

The SC also noted that the implementation process of the revised Convention's Technical Annexes (and related Compilation of Technical Decisions) was progressing in all Contracting States. The revised Annexes should enter into force on 1 January 2019, assuming the process can be completed in time in all Contracting States. If one State faces a delay, it will have to inform the Depositary. The technical details regarding the new standardised Common Control Mark (CCM), introduced in the revised Annexes, are in the process of being finalised. The introduction of this new CCM should further boost the use of the CCM, whose number has increased by 22.9% in the first half of 2018. Discussions in relation with the reproduction of this new CCM have also triggered a discussion on introducing minimum rules regarding punch makers. The Standing Technical Group (STG) has been mandated to prepare a first draft.

Implementing the new Vision and Strategy for the Convention

Following the discussions in Stockholm on the future Vision and Strategy of the Convention, the SC has agreed on a prior consultation of Ministries, which will be launched before the end of the year. The SC also discussed the revision of its rules regarding the attendance of guests and on how to attract more Non-Members. In this context, the SC discussed the possibility of eliminating unnecessary duplications with the International Association of Assay Offices (IAAO), which meets once per year after the SC meeting. A strategy paper will be prepared in time for the next meeting in order to look at all possible options. The SC also agreed in principle to establish a Working Group on drafting a "model law", which should facilitate the accession of new Contracting States, in particular those which have no or few regulations in place. The website of the Convention will also be upgraded in the near future; the website is an important tool to promote the Convention internationally.

Round Robin on Testing and Marking

The Chairman of the Standing Technical Group (STG), Mr Thomas Brodmann (Swiss Assay Office), reported on its 23rd meeting held in Edinburgh (UK) on 18°June 2018, during which the outcome of the recent Round Robin (RR) on Testing (RR 42 on gold & RR 43 on silver) was discussed. The STG also reviewed investigations and corrective actions taken by Assay Offices, which exceeded permissible limits during last year's RR (RR 39 on gold, RR 40 on silver & RR 41 on platinum). It also decided on the composition of samples for next year's RR, which will be on gold (RR 44), silver (RR 45) and palladium (RR 46).  In Riga, metal plates were distributed to all Assay Offices for a RR on Marking, which will be on laser marking. The case regarding the possible marking of a multimetal article from Poland was also discussed.

Next meeting in Ljubljana

The SC bid farewell to two longstanding Members, who left the SC since the last meeting: Ms. Valentina Valestany (Sweden), former Chair of the Working Group on Vision and Strategy; and Ms. Isabel Morais (Portugal), former Member of the STG.

The next SC meeting will take place in Ljubljana (Slovenia) on 14 March 2019.