Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, expressed the continuing support of his country for the development of ISO International Standards that contribute to trade, industry and technology.

The Russian Premier was speaking at a meeting on 15 June at the United Nations office in Geneva, Switzerland, with the ISO President for 2011-2012, Boris Aleshin; ISO Secretary-General, Rob Steele, and the President of the ISO member for the Russian Federation, (GOST R – the Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology), Grigory Elkin.

Vladimir Putin, (centre right) Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, meets the ISO President, Boris Aleshin (second from left); ISO Secretary-General, Rob Steele (centre left), and the President of the ISO member for the Russian Federation, (GOST R – the Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology), Grigory Elkin (right), and from the Bureau of the ISO Secretary-General, Beatrice Frey (left).

Mr Putin, who was visiting Geneva to address the annual conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO), said that ISO’s work contributed to “different sectors of the economy, industries and high-tech spheres”.

He pointed out that more than 500 Russian experts participated in ISO’s work and that his country intended to continue participating actively. Mr Putin said that Russia intended to increase its adoption of ISO’s work from the current 40 % to 60 %.

The Prime Minister expressed his pleasure that the current ISO President, Dr Aleshin, is Russian, adding, “I'm convinced that his experience and knowledge will play a positive role in the organization's development.”

Mr Putin pointed out that GOST R had invited ISO to hold its 2013 General Assembly in Russia, in Saint Petersburg, declaring: “I'd like to assure you that the Federal Government and the municipal authorities of Saint Petersburg will do everything to ensure that the meeting is organized and held at the highest level.”

The Russian Prime Minister also expressed support for increasing the participation in ISO of experts both from the Russian Federation and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States through a training programme in collaboration with ISO

Responding, the ISO Secretary-General thanked Mr Putin for his interest in ISO, which has a current membership of the national standards bodies of 162 countries.

“ISO has a current portfolio of more than 18 600 standards encompassing all spheres of life, the economy, environmental protection and the sustainable development of society,” Mr Steele said.

“We are all essentially guided by standards in our daily life. One of our standards, for instance, determines the size of a credit card. Other standards define currency codes, or standardization of freight containers for cargo shipments. This week we publish a new standard on energy efficiency – ISO 50001 – that can positively influence 60 % of the world's energy consumption.”

Mr Steele also referred to the worldwide use of ISO’s management system standards (such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001) which help management to make the operations of their organizations more efficient and more effective. He remarked that Mr Putin was in Geneva to address the 100th International Labour Conference and within this context pointed to the launching in November 2010 of ISO 26000, which gives guidance on social responsibility, and to which the ILO had contributed.

“Standards are primarily pragmatic,” Mr Steele concluded. “If we look at the importance of International Standards at the national level we see what a tremendous influence they are exerting on economic growth and the sustainable use of natural resources.”