Ways to Engage in the International Standards Process

by: Ranyee Chiang July 9, 2013

Overview on International Standards and the ISO Process

Standards can strengthen the clean cooking sector’s ability to evaluate, communicate, and improve performance and quality of cookstoves and fuels and thus improve adoption.  The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves has been facilitating an inclusive process to develop international standards, ensuring participation from all types of stakeholders in multiple countries.  The Alliance has been working with our partner organizations from the international and national standards community, to learn from their experiences to achieve inclusiveness, transparency, and effectiveness in standards for our sector. Working closely with ANSI and KEBS, the Alliance contributed to the development of a proposal to form a new ISO (International Organization for Standardization) technical committee to develop standards for Cookstoves and Clean Cooking Solutions. We are excited to report that this proposal has been approved and this newsletter article is to help Alliance Partners understand more about ISO and how to participate in standards development.

ISO is the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards. International Standards give state of the art specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective.  ISO’s name is from the Greek word isos, meaning equal, to demonstrate how different countries and stakeholders come together as equals to develop standards.  To learn more about what ISO’s work, history, represented countries, technical areas, and the more than 19,500 International Standards that have been developed, visit their website.

ISO provides guidelines on the standards development process, but does not develop standards by itself.  To develop standards requires stakeholders and experts coming together at the national and international levels in a consensus process.  ISO provides mechanisms to ensure inclusivity, transparency, and impartiality, while stakeholders ensure that the content of the standards are relevant and effective.

How Alliance Partners Participate

Committee Structure - An international technical committee for clean cooking will be established and will include representation from participating countries.  For Alliance Partners, participation in the standards process starts at the national level.  In each country, a “mirror committee” will be formed to reflect the international technical committee. These national mirror committees, open to all materially affected and interested parties, develop national positions on activities and ballots of the international technical committees.  Delegations from the national committees come together as the international technical committee to discuss the national positions and negotiate a draft standard.

Developing Drafts and Approving Standards – Initial work to develop an International Standard begins within an ISO Technical Committee. After a committee draft has been approved by participating countries, it is shared with all ISO members who are asked to comment and vote on it. If a consensus is reached the draft becomes an ISO standard; otherwise, the draft standard goes back to the technical committee for further edits.

What’s Next – The initial national and international meetings are likely to focus on identifying the scope of the standards, priority activity areas, and evaluating the International Workshop Agreement (IWA) (see summary of IWA, official IWA document, draft that includes final technical content).

Alliance Partners interested in participating in the standards process should contact their national standards organizations for more information about national mirror committees.  Below is information for how to participate in some example countries.  As we receive information from additional standards organizations, we will update this page.  Individuals and organizations working in countries that are not listed can contact their national standards organizations for more information about how to get involved.  A list of national standards organizations and contact information is available through the ISO website.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

ANSI is private, not-for-profit organization and the official U.S. member of ISO. Mirror committees in the U.S are called Technical Advisory Groups (U.S. TAGs), which are open to individuals representing a corporation or an organization domiciled in the U.S.; individuals representing a U.S. federal, state or local government entity; or U.S. citizens or permanent residents.  Interested parties can send inquiries to isot@ansi.org to be connected with the U.S. TAG Administrator.  ANSI will be holding a webinar for U.S. stakeholders to learn more about the U.S. TAG process on June 18, 2013.  Please contact Ed Terhune, eterhune@ansi.org for information on how to join this webinar.

Technical Committee on Rural Energy Standardization of China (TCRES)

TCRES is a national industry standardization organization under the National Energy Administration. TCRES manages standards in the fields of household stoves, biogas, biomass fuel, solar energy, micro power and other rural energy-saving technologies and products, TCRES proposes planning and suggestion for developing national and industrial standards, coordinates and organizes the draft and review of new national and industrial standards, conducts research on rural energy standardization, organizes international communication, and participates in the development of international standards.
Contact: Mr. Xiaofu Chen, Secretary General, chxiaofu@126.com.

能源行业农村能源标准化技术委员会是隶属于中国国家能源局的行业标准化组织,承担管理农 村能源领域包括:户用炉具、沼气、生物质、太阳能、小型电源和其他农村节能产品等方面的标准化工作,负责提出本行业制、修订国家标准和行业标准的规划和年 计划的建议,组织协调本行业国家标准和行业标准的制、修订和审核工作,承担农村能源标准化研究、国际交流及参与国际标准制定等工作。
联系方式:陈晓夫 书长, chxiaofu@126.com

Guatemala - Comisión Guatemalteca de Normas (COGUANOR)
COGUANOR coordinates standards committees for Guatemala.  The Congress Decree 78-2005 Law of Creation of the National Quality System identified four sectors for participation in the Standards Committees: production, government, consumers and academic.  For additional information about how to participate in Standards Committees, please contact Sr. Héctor Herrera ( Hherrera@mineco.gob.gt).

Guatemala - Comisión Guatemalteca de Normas (COGUANOR)

La Comisión Guatemalteca de Normas COGUANOR, como Organismo Nacional de Normalización y que representa los intereses de Guatemala ante la ISO, coordina los Comités Técnicos de Normalización en todas las áreas técnicas. El Decreto 78-2005 Ley de Creación del Sistema Nacional de la Calidad. Identifica cuatro sectores para la participación en los comités técnicos: productores, gobierno, consumidores y academia. Para información adicional sobre como participar en los comités técnicos por favor contacten con Héctor Herrera al correo hherrera@mineco.gob.gt