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Mutual Recognition Agreements

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A mutual recognition agreement (MRA) is an accord by which two or more accrediting entities agree to provide equal recognition to all programs accredited separately by each one of the entities who are parties to the accord. With regard to accreditation in engineering, engineering technology and computing, several MRAs have been signed in the last three decades. This list of international accords and declarations represents major milestones in transnational recognition of accreditation decisions. The motivation behind these agreements is the growing need to ascertain that degrees of graduates from programs in one country or region be recognized in another.

International Accreditation Agreements:

  • Washington Accord, 1989
    This multinational agreement set in motion the progression toward the mutual recognition of engineering accreditation. The major focal point was to attain the substantial equivalency of accredited engineering degrees among the respective signatory countries. The accrediting bodies of eight countries—Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, and US—were the original signatories. Additional countries are accepted as signatories every year.
  • Bologna Declaration, 1999
    This European educational reform declaration set forth the Bologna Process, a series of specific action items for creating the European Higher Education Areas (EHEA). These measures concern degrees, credits, mobility, quality assurance, and “the European Dimension” though well-defined masters and doctoral programs. An intergovernmental initiative launched by twenty-nine European countries, it affirmed the establishment of three degree levels: bachelors, masters, and doctoral. Through promoting this common higher educational dimension whereby the degree granting systems of the various countries become reasonably compatible, the Bologna Process aims at making it easier for students to work and study abroad.

Other Significant Agreements and Programs

  • Lima Accord, 2016 
    The Lima Accord is a multilateral agreement amongst Latin American and Caribbean organizations that are responsible for the accreditation of undergraduate engineering programs within their respective jurisdictions. This affiliation accord is voluntary. Signatories are committed to the development and recognition of good practices in the delivery of engineering programs and have decided to work together so that once their programs obtain accreditation, the substantial equivalence of these programs can be recognized amongst the signatory agencies and thereby enabling the mobility of engineering professionals and the mutual recognition of the engineering qualifications under the current scenario of the globalization of careers.
  • Seoul Accord, 2008
  • Under the initiative and leadership of six Founding Signatories-ABEEK (Republic of Korea), ABET Inc. (USA), ACS (Australia), BCS (United Kingdom), CIPS (Canada) and JABEE (Japan)-the Seoul Accord was launched on December 6th, 2008 with the aim of establishing mutual recognition of equivalent professional preparation for graduates of educational programs in the Computing and IT-related disciplines accredited by the member agencies that will lead to enhanced mobility of professionals. 
  • London Communiqué, 2007
    At this meeting, the Bologna Ministers agreed that the EHEA was significantly closer to realization but that a new Bologna Process would be needed by 2010 to meet the challenges presented by Europe's burgeoning "knowledge society." They established a European Register of Quality Assurance, to be managed by institutions, students, and quality agencies. They reaffirmed the need for strong and autonomous universities and vigorous efforts in fostering the employability of their graduates. 
  • Bergen Conference, 2005
    After a mid-term review of the Bologna Process, the participants adopted the overall framework for EHEA qualifications, the degree cycles, and the credit ranted. They set a goal for the work to be started by 2007 and set up priorities "second half" of the Bologna Process up to 2010. At this conference, five new members, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, signed the Bologna Accord, bringing the total to forty-five countries. Also joining as consultative members were the trade unions' EI (Education International); the employers' association, UNICE; and ENQA (European Association of Quality Assurance.
  • Glasgow Declaration, 2005
    At this conference, the EUA underlined the commitment of the European universities to move the Bologna reforms forward. The declaration stressed the need for balance between competition and cohesion, as well as for governmental support and university implementation of the needed educations improvements. This is the first clear statement addressing the crucial funding issues inherent in the Bologna Process reforms.
  • Graz Declaration, 2003
    This major European Union Association (EUA) policy document set forth the formal position of European universities and their priorities for the next phase of the Bologna Process. The Graz Declaration stressed the need to transform the wealth of legislation changes into meaningful academic reform and sought a wider role for European universities on a global scale.
  • Berlin, 2003
    The Berlin Communiqué reviewed the progress made through the Bologna Process and set the EU Commission goals up to 2005. Educational representatives determined quality as the key need and stressed the need to develop mutual criteria and methodologies for quality assurance. International co-operation, co-operation, and networking were offered as important objectives.
  • Dublin Accord, 2002
    The national engineering organizations of the UK, Ireland, Canada, and South Africa agreed on the mutual recognition of qualifications for engineering technician titles. The resulting accord would operate in the same way as the Washington and Sydney Accords, and has subsequently included additional signers.
  • Prague Communique, 2001
    The declaration reaffirmed the commitment of the thirty-three European signatory countries to the Bologna Process. They emphasized these action items: to foster lifelong learning, to encourage active participation of students in the process, and to promote the global appeal of the European Higher Education Area. They also set priorities and goals for the coming years.
  • Salamanca Declaration, 2001
    European educational representatives met to discuss and prepare their input for the upcoming Prague meeting of Bologna Process ministers. They developed these principles: autonomy with accountability, education as a public responsibility, research-based higher education, and effective organization of valuable diversity.
  • International Professional Engineers Agreement (IPEA), 2001
    Previously known as the Engineers Mobility Fourm, the IPEA is a truly global agreement that allows Chartered Engineers to practice in the other member countries. This multi-national agreement helped lay the groundwork for an international standard of competence for engineering professionals.
  • Engineering Technologist Mobility Forum, 2001
    This international forum was held by the signatories of the Sydney Accord to explore mutual recognition for experienced engineering technologists and to remove artificial barriers to the free movement and practice of engineering technologists amongst their countries. 
  • Sydney Accord, 2001
    Pioneered by the Engineering Council of the UK (ECUK) to complement the Washington Accord and signed in 2001, the Sidney Accord recognized the equivalency of degrees for engineering technologists or incorporated engineers in the signatory countries.
  • Sorbonne Declaration, 1998
    At a key meeting for European educational reform, the four ministers of France, Germany, Italy, and UK proposed a harmonization of “the architecture of the European higher education system through inter-university agreements to remove barriers existing in the overall European degree framework. They proposed a common degree level system for bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. A primary aim was to improve student mobility and employability.
  • Lisbon Recognition Convention, 1997
    This convention promoted the mutual recognition of qualifications without discrimination among European countries. Graduates in all countries would receive a Diploma Supplement, describing their qualifications in a clearly understandable standard format. The Diploma Supplement would also clarify any qualification and shows how it fits into to its originating academic program. More recently, the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee set forth their Recommendation on the Recognition of Joint Degrees.

Significant Labels

  • Euro-Inf Quality Label, 2010 
    EQUANIE (European Quality Assurance Network for Informatics Education e.V.) develops criteria and procedures for the evaluation and quality assurance in informatics study programmes and education and awards the Euro-Inf Quality Label via recognized accrediting bodies to degree programmes that comply with the Euro-Inf Framework Standards and Accreditation Criteria.
  • EUR-ACE Label, 2014 
    Under the initiative of ENAEE (European Network for Engineering Accreditation), in Brussels, Belgium, 13 authorised agencies (Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom) signed a Mutual Recognition Agreement, known as the EUR-ACE® Accord, whereby they accepted each other’s accreditation decisions in respect of Bachelor and Master degree programmes which they accredit.