Some 700 participants from national standards bodies of 141 countries attended a special virtual event organized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) on 24 September 2020, in lieu of the General Assembly which was due to take place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This has been described as the largest virtual meeting in the history of the organization, which also included participants from various regional and international organizations.
The challenges faced by ISO members during the COVID-19 pandemic and business continuity were two key issues highlighted during the event. ISO President Eddy Njoroge thanked members for their commitment to the organization, affirming, “I am confident that we will all emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever”. He also urged members to vote for the approval of the proposed ISO Strategy 2021-2030 – which will be a key milestone for ISO.
“This is a journey that began over two years ago, and which is now coming to an end,” he said. “It is not just a rhetoric vision to make life safer, easier and better, but is truly an overarching aspiration that is ingrained at the core of all of us members of the international standards community. It will enable us to ensure that we remain relevant now, and for years to come.”
The virtual session also featured a report from the ISO Secretary-General, Sergio Mujica, who took the opportunity to acknowledge the immense challenges of recent months due to COVID-19. “I would like to say that I am proud of our organization. We have demonstrated incredible resilience and the capacity to deliver in very difficult circumstances. This is more important than ever because the world needs ISO.”
The hard work and achievements of the technical community were also recognized with the winner of this year’s Lawrence D. Eicher Award announced as ISO technical committee ISO/TC 45 for rubber and rubber products. In presenting the award to the technical committee, the ISO President acknowledged its world-leading experts, standards and excellence in promotion and consultation (see video here).
Participants were also introduced to the candidate for ISO President, Ulrika Francke from Sweden. In her presentation to ISO members, Ms Francke introduced herself, outlined her professional experiences and shared her thoughts on the important role ISO plays in the world.
All statutory items needing approval by ISO members – including the ISO Strategy 2021-2030 and electing the next ISO President – will be voted on by correspondence.