The theme of this year's World Standards Day message is "Intelligent and sustainable buildings". With a world population that has more than doubled since 1950 and is steadily moving into urban areas – half the world population is expected to be living in an urban environment by the end of 2008* – the building and construction industry has grown into one of the largest industry sectors with immense consequences for all three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental.

The World Standards Day message is signed by the leaders of the three principal international standardization organizations: Mr. Jacques Régis, President of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), Mr. Håkan Murby, President of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Energy efficiency, safety, security and communication are issues that are crucial for the construction sector. Sustainability principles combined with state-of-the art information and communication technology (ICT) will ensure that commercial, government and residential buildings meet these requirements.

The construction sector relies increasingly on electronic devices that link to networks distributing and using digital information and media. International standards developed by IEC, ISO and ITU, based on international consensus, provide the tools to apply and implement sustainability principles and ICT connectivity efficiently and effectively on a global scale.

The three leaders further point out that "International consensus on standards for climate change mitigation, energy saving, environmental terminology, environmental performance, environmental declaration of building products, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission accounting and verification provides a firm foundation for designers and architects, engineers, owners and government authorities to develop sustainable buildings."

For the three leaders, "International standards from IEC, ISO and ITU applicable to today’s buildings increase production efficiency, optimize resources, disseminate knowledge, facilitate free trade and fair competition and simplify the design and planning of buildings. Among further benefits are competitively priced products and construction work, higher quality and safety, lower exploitation costs, reduced accidents and rapid dissemination of new technologies for an improved quality of life for the user and occupants of buildings."

The leaders of the three organizations conclude their message: "International standards help to ensure not only basic quality and safety requirements, but also the incorporation of new technologies for the construction and operation of intelligent and sustainable buildings."

World Standards Day 2008

* World Urbanization Prospects - The 2007 Revision, United Nations, Economic & Social Affairs Division, 2008-02-26