This section provides links to useful documents, which explain the benefits of using standards to support public policy, the different methods used, and how policy makers can get involved with ISO.

Principles for developing ISO standards supporting public policy initiatives

ISO wishes to make its portfolio of standards more visible to public authorities and, equally important, ensure that its standards address the relevant needs and concerns of public authorities.

The following set of principles has been established to guide ISO committees developing standards related to or supporting public policy initiatives. These principles will ensure that ISO standards can properly support and be used by public authorities.

The principles can be found in Annex SO (informative) “Principles for developing ISO and IEC Standards related to or supporting public policy initiatives”, in the ISO/IEC Directives Part 1 and Consolidated ISO Supplement


Conformity assessment for policy makers

Whether you are a policy maker or a standards’ development or conformity assessment body, this online support developed by ISO’s Committee on Conformity Assessment, CASCO, will help you identify existing conformity assessment tools, consider possible conformity assessment routes and select the solution that better suits your goals.

This online tool is made of different sections that cover the basics of conformity assessment, the ISO/CASCO toolbox and offer examples from around the world, including Brazil for toy safety, Singapore for electrical products, New Zealand for public utilities and Australia for agricultural production.


Sources for national regulations

All WTO member governments who are signatories to the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement are required to establish national enquiry points. It is the role of a national enquiry point to gather and distribute information on technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment to other members of the WTO, and to answer questions from other countries about TBT measures and related issues.

Contact information for national enquiry points is given in the following WTO pages:

  • National enquiry points covering regulations for all products and services except sanitary and phytosanitary products and services
  • National enquiry points covering regulations for sanitary and phytosanitary products and services

Useful definitions

The definitions given below have been taken from ISO/IEC Guide 2:2004, Standardization and related activities -- General vocabulary.

Standard - document, established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context

NOTE: Standards should be based on the consolidated results of science, technology and experience, and aimed at the promotion of optimum community benefits.

International standard - standard that is adopted by an international standardizing/standards organization and made available to the public

Regulation - document providing binding legislative rules, that is adopted by an authority

Technical regulation - regulation that provides technical requirements, either directly or by referring to or incorporating the content of a standard, technical specification or code of practice

NOTE: A technical regulation may be supplemented by technical guidance that outlines some means of compliance with the requirements of the regulation, i.e. deemed-to-satisfy provision.