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Record Number of Countries Attend the 2010 ISO General Assembly in Oslo


New York, Sep 22, 2010

Over 400 delegates from over 120 countries met last week for the 33rd General Assembly (GA) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Held in Oslo, Norway, the event represented the largest number of countries ever to attend the annual ISO meeting. This meeting brings together representatives of ISO member bodies to discuss International Standards and their impact on business, safety, and the global economy.

S. Joe Bhatia, president and CEO of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), led the ANSI delegation to the ISO GA, accompanied by Robert Noth, formerly of Deere and Company and ANSI ISO Council Chairman, and Gary Kushnier, ANSI vice president of international policy. In addition, ten other U.S. delegates from ANSI membership and staff were in attendance as observers.

"As always, the ANSI delegation was pleased to be a part of ISO's General Assembly," said Mr. Bhatia. "The discussions that we had with our international counterparts were of great value to us as we further our partnerships with standardization organzations across the globe."

Highlights of the September 15-17, 2010, ISO General Assembly meeting included:

  • The approval of the new ISO Strategic Plan for 2011-2015, which reflects considerable input from ANSI and its membership

  • An open session conference on September 18, 2010, highlighting the theme “IT@Work,” which provided provocative presentations and discussions on the contribution IT and related standards can make in the professional environments of healthcare and building design, and construction. In addition, there were presentations on future directions for IT in professional applications and in support of developing country concerns and green initiatives.

  • Mr. Bhatia extended ANSI’s offer to host the 2012 ISO General Assembly meetings on September 17-22, 2012, in San Diego, California. The last time that ANSI has hosted the ISO General Assembly was in 1973.

Highlights of the September 18, 2010, ISO Council meeting included:

  • The approval of the revised ISO Action Plan for Developing Countries 2011-2015, to parallel and support the new ISO Strategic Plan over this same time period.

  • Given the sensitivity of the subject and feedback received from a number of key stakeholders, it was agreed that ISO should not proceed with a proposed workshop to explore possible ISO standards for the financial services industry, in light of the recent global economic situation. ISO will consider what may be possible within the context of the current scope of ISO Technical Committee 68, Financial services, and new possible developments supporting requirements from consumers in the specific areas of micro-finance and electronic banking, as identified at the May 2010 meeting of ISO’s consumer interest policy committee, COPOLCO.

Highlights of the September 13 & 14, 2010 ISO Technical Management Board (ISO/TMB) meeting included:

  • The approval of the publication of two documents that seek to provide principles and helpful guidance to improve the internal processes for stakeholder engagement and consensus decision-making in ISO members and in liaison organizations. This effort is based on the assertion that the credibility of ISO standards and of the ISO brand relies on the credibility of the processes within those entities that contribute to the development of the ISO standards.

  • The approval of a set of comprehensive recommendations to improve ISO processes for the introduction of new work in order to assure that the need for such is market relevant and well-documented, as well as properly supported by the ISO membership.

  • Agreement for additional study of the implementation of the ISO/CEN Vienna Agreement, in order to determine possible needs for revision at the tenth anniversary of the current version. This will include a closer examination of cases of CEN lead on ISO/CEN parallel work and the plans of ISO committees to transfer CEN lead work to ISO lead over time, as expected by the ISO/TMB.

During the course of the week, various members of the ANSI delegation met with several of its peer member bodies, including those from the United Kingdom, China, Egypt, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, India, Namibia, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, as well as with the ISO president-elect, Mr. Boris Aleshin, who will take office as ISO president on January 1, 2011. A variety of subjects were discussed during these meetings related to increased activities between ANSI and its fellow national standards body members of ISO.

For further information, please contact Steven P. Cornish, ANSI senior director, international policy (212.642.4969; scornish@ansi.org)

ANSI Focus on Services Standards