Who develops ISO standards?

ISO standards are developed by groups of experts, within technical committees (TCs). TCs are made up of representatives of industry, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders, who are put forward by ISO’s members. Each TC deals with a different subject, for example there are TCs focusing on screw threads, shipping technology, food products and many, many more.

ISO has over 250 technical committees. Details of the technical committees and links to the secretariat and chairman contact details can be found in the list of technical committees.

Searching the list of technical committees is one way to find out which subjects or sectors are the focus of ISO’s technical work.

ISO’s full members (member bodies) can decide if they would like to be a participating member (P-member) of a particular TC or an observing member (O-member). P-members participate actively in the work and have an obligation to vote on all questions submitted to vote within the technical committee. O-members follow the work as observers; they receive committee documents and have the right to submit comments and to attend meetings, but cannot vote within the committee.

It is possible to see a member’s participation in technical committees by clicking on the relevant entry in the member list.

Technical Management Board

All of ISO’s technical work, including the technical committees, is managed by the Technical Management Board (TMB). Some of the TMB’s tasks include setting up technical committees, appointing chairs and monitoring the progress of technical work. The TMB reports to the ISO Council.

Making sure everyone's voice is heard

Developing countries

More than three quarters of ISO members are from developing countries. The knowledge and expertise reflected in International Standards help developing countries realize their potential and getting involved in the development work makes sure that their needs are taken into account. ISO supports the participation of developing countries in standardization through its Committee on Developing Country Matters (DEVCO).

Read more about ISO and developing countries.

Twinning relationships is one of the actions ISO has taken to support participation from developing country members. A twinning relationship means that members can work together to build capacity of a developing country. For more information please read the Guidance on Twinning (PDF) or contact the Technical Management Board at tmb@iso.org.

Video: ISO and developing countries


The views of consumers also need to be taken into account when developing standards. Standards often shape product characteristics. If consumers play an active role in developing standards, the characteristics of a product or service are more likely to meet their needs. This creates a win-win situation for the consumer and manufacturer or service provider.

Consumers have a voice in the development of ISO International Standards through the participation of the NGO Consumers International and the consumer representatives of national members in the technical committees. ISO also has a Committee on Consumer Policy (COPOLCO) that drives ISO policy in support of greater consumer involvement.