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ANSI Workshop Gathers U.S. Input on ISO Strategic Plan 2011-2015

New York, Jul 01, 2009

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) convened a workshop last week for all U.S. stakeholders interested in the strategic direction of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). With over 80 attendees representing standards developing organizations (SDOs), industry, and government, the meeting provided participants an opportunity to help shape the U.S. input to the upcoming ISO Strategic Plan 2011-2015.

As the U.S. national member body to ISO, ANSI invited all interested U.S. parties to review ISO’s consultation document and share their thoughts through an online survey [see related news item]. During the June 25-26, 2009, workshop in Washington, DC, attendees reviewed the survey responses and shared their thoughts about ISO’s strategic direction in a number of key areas, from technical scope and partnerships to public policy issues and conformity assessment activities.

ANSI president and CEO S. Joe Bhatia provided opening and closing remarks at the event, underscoring the significance of U.S. input on this critical document.

“As a founding member of ISO, ANSI has enjoyed a position of significant leadership within the organization for more than sixty years. U.S. individuals have served as ISO officers and as influential members of all ISO governance bodies, and at this time, ANSI holds the greatest percentage of leadership positions in ISO standards development activities,” explained Mr. Bhatia.

“That is why I am pleased to see that we have the support and active participation of the full breadth of the ANSI Federation of members at this workshop,” Bhatia continued. “Your voices will help to assure that ISO’s future directions are responsive to U.S. needs and concerns, and that ANSI maintains its position of strength in ISO.”

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele also addressed attendees with opening remarks that highlighted ANSI and ISO’s longstanding relationship and encouraged active discussion.

“If we were all sitting in this room on June 25, 2016, what would we be proud to have accomplished?” asked Mr. Steele. “Dare to dream about what is possible. ISO is at a crossroads – in a position where we can continue to grow. But to do so, we need to make some changes.”

The workshop was organized around concurrent breakout sessions where attendees discussed a number of issues culled from the ISO Strategic Plan for 2011-2015 consultation document. Key findings from these breakout sessions, summarized in Mr. Bhatia’s closing remarks, include:

  • In order to develop standards that have broad industry acceptance, ISO should focus its energies on standardization efforts that are truly needed and have demonstrated market relevance.

  • ISO should review Technical Committee scopes and revise them wherever necessary to avoid duplication with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), or another development activity. The ISO of 2015 will do a much more effective job of coordinating with IEC and ITU on horizontal policy and cross-cutting issues like areas of converging technology.

  • There should be a balance of stakeholders participating in the development of every work product. That balance is two-fold: one, ISO must ensure that development activities have broad and representative participation; and two, there should be a certain level of geographic balance. No one type of participant, nation, or region should dominate. These participants must also be trained properly in ISO terminology and procedures to ensure a fair, open, and balanced process.

  • On the conformity assessment front, the ISO Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) needs to include more participation from labs and certification bodies. ISO should not be involved in market surveillance activities, but it needs to aggressively defend its brand against misrepresentation, especially in the area of management systems standards like 9000 and 14000.

  • In the public policy arena, attendees had very strong concerns when standards drive policy, and not the other way around.

A detailed document of conference proceedings, including presentations given by Mr. Steele and breakout session moderators, is available here.

ANSI staff will use all feedback submitted through the online survey and during the workshop to develop a comprehensive U.S. input document. The ANSI-ISO Council (AIC) will approve the final input to ISO on September 2, 2009. The ISO Strategic Plan 2011-2015 will be approved in September 2010 at a general assembly meeting to be held in Oslo.

Questions can be directed to Steven P. Cornish, ANSI senior director for international policy (212.642.4969;

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