ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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IEC, ISO and ITU Officers Issue World Standards Day Message

Standards Connect the World

Geneva, Switzerland, Jul 29, 2004

In honor of the approaching celebration of World Standards Day 2004, Mr. Sei-ichi Takayanagi, President of the IEC; Mr. Oliver Smoot, President of ISO; and Mr. Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of ITU, have issued their annual message to the global standardization community.


From the simple to the complex, from the minute to the massive, from the local to the global, international standards are omnipresent in products and services and in the components of the global supply chains for which they provide the backbone.

The international standardization system that comprises ISO, IEC and ITU transforms qualities like efficiency, effectiveness, economy, quality, ecology, safety, reliability, compatibility and interoperability into concrete characteristics of products and services for implementation in their manufacture, supply or utilization. The three organizations thus develop workable solutions to technical and economic challenges faced by business, government and society and publish them as international standards.

The products and services shaped by international standards need to be transported, delivered, transferred or otherwise exchanged between suppliers and their customers or end users. Exchange necessitates connections and interfaces. International standards harmonize the connections and facilitate exchange by ensuring smoother, swifter, safer and more economical delivery.

The variety of exchange where standards overcome challenges is considerable: examples are getting food from farm to kitchen table, raw materials to processing plants and on to industrial users, products to distributors and shops and then to consumers, power from generating plants to industry and the home, messages that pass between telecommunication networks and computer systems.

The connections and interfaces that standardization renders more efficient and more effective are just as varied. They may be mechanical, electrical or computer-based - or combinations. They range from pipes and couplings, to lifting and handling gear, pallets,freight containers, switches, cables and connectors, computer hardware and software, to transport, power and information and communications technology (ICT) networks.

In turn, the scale of standardization ranges from point to point (be they next door or on opposite sides of the globe), to whole countries (as in the case of power grids), to worldwide (such as ICT networks).

In addition to connecting markets, international standards connect developing countries and transition economies to state-of-the-art technological know-how enabling them to increase their export capability and competitiveness.

Beyond the technical and economic benefits of international standards, participating in their development enhances human connectedness. It is a matter for pride and optimism that thousands of men and women of different political and religious beliefs, national and racial origins and cultural backgrounds come together within ISO, IEC and ITU to cooperate effectively on the task of achieving international consensus on standards that make a positive difference to our world.

Standards provide solutions, get the job done, connect people. Standards connect the world.


The 2004 World Standards Day poster design is the result of a collaborative partnership by three friends in New York City. In their design of interlocking puzzle pieces surrounding a globe, the artists - Stacy Leistner (American National Standards Institute), Sarah Donovan and Sheilah James (Donovan James Design) - emphasize a literal interpretation of the role that standards play in connecting countries, industries and people. (more)

AN INTRODUCTION TO STANDARDS: WHY, WHERE AND HOW ARE THEY DEVELOPED?