The extraordinary events of 2020 may have brought some sectors to a standstill, and caused major disruptions to many others, but for DEVCO, the ISO committee for developing countries, there is too much at stake to just wait and see.
Tasked with bringing the benefits of standards where they're most needed, the committee's work is more pressing than ever. While the committee's recent meeting may have been virtual, the issues under discussion are very real. For example, the importance of leadership in times of change to turn a crisis into opportunity and inviting ISO members to identify and share areas where standards can support COVID-19 response and recovery plans.
The 54th DEVCO meeting was held on October 7 and was energized by Lena Dargham, the outgoing DEVCO chairperson. She remarked that "the standardization system was challenged and we have demonstrated agility, flexibility and solidarity, but more needs to be done to reap additional opportunities and look for innovative, effective and rapid solutions to develop standards that support global trade, drive inclusive and equitable economic growth, protect health, improve safety, and create a sustainable future". Having capably served the committee for many years, Dargham also used the opportunity to announce the appointment of her successor Ms. Mojdeh Rowshan Tabari from ISIRI, the ISO member for Iran.
At the same time, Ms. Rosario Uría from INACAL, the ISO member for Peru, was reappointed as convenor of a working group to ensure the development and implementation of the DEVCO methodology for the identification of standardization areas of primary interest to developing countries.
We have demonstrated agility, flexibility, solidarity and fast delivery but more needs to be done to reap additional opportunities.
The progress made in strengthening DEVCO’s policy development role is key to accelerating that change and enhancing developing country participation in ISO governance and technical work. It's also essential in overseeing a transparent and inclusive process for the development of the new ISO Action Plan for developing countries 2021-2025.
One of the central elements of the new plan is to give developing countries a voice in all ISO matters and in particular in support of the new ISO Strategy. The plan also recognizes that support to ISO members from developing countries is needed if they are to benefit fully from the use of ISO standards in contributing to their country's developmental objectives and advancement of the UN SDGs. DEVCO members will be able to vote on the action plan until 9 November 2020.