ISO Programs - Overview
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation
of national standards bodies from more than 145 countries, one from each
country. ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947 and
based in Geneva, Switzerland. Its mission is to promote the development
of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to
facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to
developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific,
technological and economic activity. ISO's work results in international
agreements which are published as International Standards and other types of
ANSI is the sole U.S. representative and dues-paying
member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and as a
founding member of the ISO, ANSI plays an active role in its governance.
The primary governance groups of ISO are:
- The ISO General Assembly, which is the annual meeting of all ISO
members, and its agenda typically includes actions relating to the review of
the ISO annual report, approval of ISO’s multi-year strategic plan, and ISO’s
- The ISO Council, which meets twice a year and is responsible for the
development of ISO’s multi-year strategic plan, the development of the ISO
annual budget, ISO’s relations with other external organizations, and other
political/strategic decisions and the general operations of ISO. The ISO
Council consists of the principal officers of ISO and eighteen elected member
bodies, including ANSI for the USA. ANSI is one of five permanent members to the ISO Council.
- The ISO Technical Management Board (ISO/TMB),which meets three times each year and reports to and advises the ISO Council on
all matters concerning the organization, coordination, strategic planning, and
programming of the technical work of ISO. The ISO/TMB consists of the
ISO Vice President for Technical Management and twelve elected member bodies,
including ANSI for the USA. ANSI is one of four permanent members of the ISO TMB.
- ISO Technical Committees and Subcommittees. ISO standards are developed by technical
committees comprising experts from the industrial, technical and
business sectors which have asked for the standards, and which subsequently put
them to use. These experts may be joined by others with relevant knowledge,
such as representatives of government agencies, testing laboratories, consumer
associations, environmentalists, academic circles and so on. The experts
participate as national delegations, chosen by the ISO national member
institute for the country concerned. These delegations are required to
represent not just the views of the organizations in which their participating
experts work, but of other stakeholders too. According to ISO rules, the member
institute is expected to take account of the views of the range of parties
interested in the standard under development and to present a consolidated,
national consensus position to the technical committee.
Through the American
National Standards Institute, the USA has immediate access to the ISO standards
development processes. ANSI participates in almost the entire technical program
of the ISO (nearly 80%), and administers many key committees and subgroups
(nearly 20% of all ISO TCs and SCs).
Part of ANSI’s responsibilities as the U.S. member body to the ISO includes accrediting U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (U.S. TAGs). The primary purpose of these TAGs is to develop and transmit, via
ANSI, U.S. positions on activities and ballots of the international technical
For additional procedures, guides and forms, please visit the ISO Document Library.
Important sources for more information:
- The official ISO web site
- The ISO Standards Developers Information Site, which provides a comprehensive library of procedural documents, forms,
guidance and training materials and other useful information for the
development of ISO Standards.
ISO Technical Committee Business Plans, which provide
information on the work programs of ISO standards development committees, as
well as market environments, dynamics, and needs that shape the development of
these work programs and the resulting ISO standards. These business
plans are available to the general public for review and comment.