Establishing the World Corrosion Organization as a U.N. Non-Governmental Organization will heighten recognition of the corrosion abatement field and corrosion research worldwide, WCO’s director general says.
“Research has indicated that corrosion abatement is generally characterized as a maintenance issue, rather than issues of asset and resource preservation, protection of the environment, safety and productivity,” says WCO director general George Hays.
WCO (www.corrosion.org) aims to change that perception, and its NGO status will help open the doors to do so, Hays said in written responses to questions from PaintSquare News.
“Our 27 member organizations and their 50,000+ individual members are involved with the technologies of corrosion research and abatement, but they do not generally have contact with upper management in larger private industry and government,” Hays said.
“One of our principal objectives in gaining NGO status with the UN is to gain access to governments, government agencies and organizations that can see the benefit of dealing with corrosion abatement as a preservation-of-assets issue.”
In the United States, for example, infrastructure is primarily a government function, Hays notes.
“Technical societies have a difficult time gaining and maintaining the interest of those organizations without some pressure from above. So, our goal is to help our member societies by addressing such issues on a more global, top-down basis.”
WCO was established in September 2006 in New York City by NACE International, the Australasian Corrosion Association (ACA), the European Federation of Corrosion (EFC), and the Chinese Society for Corrosion and Protection (CSCP) ; it currently has a membership of several dozen corrosion-related associations worldwide.
WCO’s goals include identifying world best practices in corrosion management; normalizing corrosion-related standards worldwide; and facilitating the provision of corrosion control expertise to governments, industries and communities, particularly those in the developing world.
The U.N. Department of Public Information (DPI) Non-Governmental Organization Section Committee granted NGO status to the WCO at its June 2010 meeting.
“One of the key goals was and is to gain greater recognition for the corrosion abatement field and corrosion research by governments, government agencies and corporate executives,” said Hays.
Although WCO has not had sufficient contact yet with DPI to make specific plans, Hays said, “our primary area of interest in the DPI arena is in water.”
“Currently, water and wastewater pipelines and facilities have been found to have among the highest cost of corrosion of any area within our society, both in the USA and in the rest of the industrialized world,” he notes. “In addition, we have been in contact with the UNIDO [United Nations Industrial Development Organization] to see if there are areas where we might partner with them, again in the area of water.”
The other key advantage of joining the NGO community is the networking opportunities that can provide expertise and global contacts, Hays said.
“Through networking among DPI/NGO organizations, we are expecting to make contact with organizations that have perfected grant writing and others that provide grants to not-for-profit organizations,” he said.
“We also anticipate that contacts within the DPI/NGO community will provide us with opportunities to make contacts with key staff members of UN member states, permanent delegations and UN agencies.”
WCO president Wayne Burns will represent the organization at the 63rd annual UN DPI/NGO conference in Melbourne, Australia, beginning Aug. 30.
The association of NGOs with DPI does not constitute their incorporation into the U.N. system. Nor does it entitle the organization or its staff to any kind of privileges, immunities or special status.
NGO status also entails various responsibilities, including promoting knowledge of the principles and activities of the UN and reporting regularly to the DPI/NGO Section.