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FIG and Mutual Recognition

Mutual Recognition

The current FIG Council (2007 – 2010) has made “Building the Capacity” its key priority for its term of office. In the marketplace, “Capacity Building” is of major importance to everyone involved in the development and enhancement of trade in services, professional services in particular. The concept includes upgrading human resources, uplifting inter-organisation trust and co-operation, strengthening departments and organisations, and building networks and institutions.

FIG has worked on mutual recognition since its Congress in Brighton in 1998 where a Task Force for Mutual Recognition was established to investigate the area of mutual recognition as a device for liberalisation of market services to respond to the challenge of globalisation and devise the means to ensure global free movement, so that the process reflects the requirements of the surveyor. This Task Force was chaired by Prof. Stig Enemark. The target was to review the area of mutual recognition of qualifications within the world-wide surveying community and develop a framework for the introduction of standards of global professional competence in this area. The results of the Task Force investigations were published in the FIG Publication No. 27 – Mutual Recognition of Qualifications. This web site has been created to follow the development of mutual recognition on continuous basis.


Contents


Introduction

The current FIG Council (2007–2010) has made “Building the Capacity” its key priority for its term of office. In the marketplace, “Capacity Building” is of major importance to everyone involved in the development and enhancement of trade in services, professional services in particular. The concept includes upgrading human resources, uplifting inter-organisation trust and co-operation, strengthening departments and organisations, and building networks and institutions.

For professional services, qualification is key and thus the recognition of qualifications is critical in the development and enhancement of trade in professional services. It is recognised that professional services underpins just about all aspects of economic activities, notably international finance, international law and security of tenure.

Professional Qualification

According to Frances Plimmer (2001), professional qualifications

  • is a mark of quality, which the professional body ensures by the level of entry, continuing education, code of conduct, disciplinary proceedings and other means of regulation;
  • is a mark of professionalism, which, itself guarantees a range and a level of ethical behaviour on which clients, governments and the public can rely; and
  • is of a range of levels (local, national and, increasingly international)

FIG’s Response

FIG responded with the General Assembly agreeing to the formation of the Task Force on Mutual Recognition chaired by Prof. Stig Enemark of Denmark in 1999. Members of the Task Force included leading surveyors from just about every continent where FIG has a presence then. The output of the Task Force was FIG Publication No. 27 – Mutual Recognition of Qualifications (can be downloaded as a .pdf-file from www.fig.net/pub/figpub/pub27.pdf).

Mutual Recognition of Qualification

Mutual recognition is a process that allows the qualifications gained in one country (the home country) to be recognised in another country (the host country) and ensures an environment where the mobility of professionals can be assured and is an essential component in working towards the free flow of professional services.

The Mutual Recognition of Qualifications approach championed by FIG is unique as it allows each country to retain its own kind of professional education and training including the registration and licensing requirement. This allow Countries to retain her right and duty to ensure that only appropriately qualified and competent person be registered and/or licensed under its domestic regulation to provide professional services.

Implementing Mutual Recognition of Qualifications

ASEAN Surveyors, when asked to work on a mutual recognition arrangement by their respective Governments under the auspices of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS), drew inspiration from FIG’s approach to mutual recognition of qualifications and within a short period of time in negotiations, concluded the ASEAN Framework Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Surveying Qualification (www.fig.net/mmutrecog/ASEAN-Surveying-MRA.pdf). The Agreement was signed by the ASEAN Economic Ministers on 19th November 2007 in Singapore and came into force three months later, i.e. 19th February 2008.

The ASEAN agreement demonstrated the applicability of FIG’s approach and also refers to FIG’s Standards and Guidelines (www.fig.net/mutrecog/Standards-and-Guidelines.pdf), which is the basis of the recognition requirement (Article 3.7 – ASEAN Framework Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Surveying Qualification).

Purpose of this Site

FIG Council hoped, in establishing this site that will become a resource for matters concerning mutual recognition of qualification. You will find on this site (and or links)

In the future, FIG Council hoped to enhance this site further and encouraged member associations to share experiences on mutual recognition in their region as well as to contribute their respective associations or country’s pre-qualification requirement and/or education standards.

CheeHai TEO
Vice President (2009–2011)
Email: chteo.surveyor@gmail.com
June 2010


FIG Policy Statement on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications

The International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) recognises the importance of free movement of surveyors in a global marketplace. The mutual recognition of professional qualifications provides a means whereby professional qualifications held by individual surveyors can be recognised by individual professional organisations as comparable to those acquired by their own national surveyors.

FIG will promote the principle of mutual recognition of professional qualifications by:

  • Encouraging communication between professional organisations to ensure a better understanding of how surveyors acquire their professional qualifications in different countries;
  • Developing with professional organisations a methodology for implementing mutual recognition for surveyors;
  • Supporting professional organisations where difficulties are identified in achieving mutual recognition, and encouraging debate at national government level in order to remove such difficulties;
  • Working with external organisations (such as the WTO) in order to achieve mutual recognition in both principle and practice of professional qualifications for surveyors world-wide."

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

GATS is considered by WTO to be among it’s most important agreement. The accord came into force in January 1995, is the first and only set of multilateral rules covering international trade in services.

  • Each WTO Member Country lists in her national schedule those services for which she wishes to guarantee access to foreign services suppliers
  • All commitments apply on a non-discriminatory basis to all other WTO Member Countries

Regional Experiences

European Union Single Market

The rights of EU citizens to establish themselves or to provide services anywhere in the EU are fundamental freedoms in the Single Market. National regulations that only recognise professional qualifications of a particular jurisdiction present obstacles to these fundamental freedoms. These obstacles are overcome by EU rules guaranteeing the mutual recognition of professional qualifications between Member States.

Under the EU Directives for the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications (www.fig.net/mutual-recognition/eu-directives-mutual-recognition.pdf), provisions are made whereby Professionals qualified in one (home) Member State can seek professional recognition of their qualifications in another (host) Member State for the purpose of practising their profession in that host Member State. These Directives apply only where the profession is regulated in the host Member State i.e. where the practice of the profession is confined by law, regulation or administrative procedure to persons who hold specific qualifications, or registration/recognition from a specific competent authority or professional body.

North American Free Trade Area

To be added.

Trans-Tasman Closer Economic Region

To be added.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

ASEAN was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok by the five original Member Countries, namely, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Brunei Darussalam joined on 8 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Laos and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999.

The ASEAN region has a population of about 500 million, a total area of 4.5 million square kilometers, a combined gross domestic product in excess of US$800 billion, and a total trade in excess of US$ 1 Trillion. Launched in 1992, the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) is now in place. It aims to promote the region’s competitive advantage as a single production unit. The elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers among Member Countries is expected to promote greater economic efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness.

As of 1 January 2005, tariffs on almost 99 percent of the products in the Inclusion List of the ASEAN-6 (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand) have been reduced to no more than 5 percent. More than 60 percent of these products have zero tariffs. The average tariff for ASEAN-6 has been brought down from more than 12 percent when AFTA started to 2 percent today. For the newer Member Countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (CLMV), tariffs on about 81 percent of their Inclusion List have been brought down to within the 0-5 percent range.

ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) was signed by ASEAN Economic Ministers in 1995. The Objectives of AFAS include 

  • To enhance cooperation in services amongst member countries in order to improve the efficiency and competitiveness, diversity production capacity and supply and distribution of services of their service providers within and outside ASEAN
  • To eliminate substantially restrictions to trade in services amongst member countries

ASEAN Concord II (Bali Concord II) was adopted at the 9th ASEAN Summit by the ten Heads of States to reaffirm ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations, bonded together in partnership, in dynamic development and in a community of caring societies. The ten leaders agreed to establish an ASEAN Community that would be supported by the three pillars of

  • political and security cooperation;
  • economic cooperation; and
  • socio-cultural cooperation.

These three pillars are closely intertwined and mutually reinforcing in the effort to achieve peace, stability and prosperity.

The ASEAN Framework Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Surveying Qualification (www.fig.net/mutual-recognition/ASEAN-Surveying-MRA.pdf) was signed with the ASEAN Economic Ministers on 19 November 2007 in Singapore and came into force three months later, i.e. 19 February 2008.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

APEC works in three broad areas to meet the Bogor Goals of Free and Open Trade and Investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies. Known as APEC's 'Three Pillars', APEC focuses on three key areas:

  • Trade and Investment Liberalization
  • Business Facilitation
  • Economic and Technical Cooperation

The outcomes of these three areas enable APEC Member Economies to strengthen their economies by pooling resources within the region and achieving efficiencies. Tangible benefits are also delivered to consumers in the APEC region through increased training and employment opportunities, greater choices in the marketplace, cheaper goods and services and improved access to international markets.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established when its Charter was formally adopted on December 8, 1985 by the Heads of State or Government of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC provides a platform for the peoples of South Asia to work together in a spirit of friendship, trust and understanding. It aims to accelerate the process of economic and social development in Member States.

The Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) was signed on 6 January 2004 during the Twelfth SAARC Summit in Islamabad. The Agreement is to enter into force on 1 January 2006. SAPTA was envisaged primarily as the first step towards the transition to a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) leading subsequently towards a Customs Union, Common Market and Economic Union.

Latin America

To be added.

Central America

To be added.

Africa

To be added.

Middle East

To be added.


Information

If you would like further information on any of the above, or are able to assist with the work of the Network, please contact Teo CheeHai.

CheeHai TEO
Vice President (2009–2011) and President Elect
E-mail chteo.surveyor@gmail.com

June 2010


FIG publications and links


Presentations and papers from FIG conferences


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This page is maintained by the FIG Office. Last revised on 2011-01-20.