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G20: Creating a better future with international standards

Milan, Italy, 28/10/2021 The world’s leading standards bodies — IEC, ISO and ITU — have issued a joint declaration ahead of the G20 summit in Rome. They called on world leaders to recognize, support and adopt international standards to contribute directly to the three pillars of the Italian G20 presidency: People, Planet, Prosperity.

The call to action was part of the International Standards Summit for People, Planet and Prosperity, held under the aegis of the Italian G20 Presidency. The three standards development organizations highlighted the powerful role that standards can play in facilitating recovery on all levels of sustainability.

They said that by referencing standards in policies, governments could significantly contribute to supporting employment, health and education (People), to contribute to sustainability (Planet) and to enable the economic resilience of businesses (Prosperity).

The leaders of IEC, ISO and ITU highlighted how the current pandemic had demonstrated the benefits of digitalization to all three pillars and the integral role that international standards play in supporting this. They described international standards as the backbone of digital technologies, which created a “common language” that enabled quality and compatibility for all users.

"Digital technologies that work safely and efficiently for the benefit of society can ensure a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future. It enables new forms of collaboration and opens up new creative possibilities for environmental policy. Digital technologies supported by international standards are powerful solutions for climate action and economic sustainability," said the call to action.

IEC General Secretary Philippe Metzger said that the work of international standards and conformity assessment was to support efforts to build a more sustainable and inclusive world.

“For us, that means supporting the realization of an ‘All Electric Society’ with a zero-carbon economy, which will ensure global prosperity by providing universal access to affordable energy, generated from renewable and sustainable sources,” he said.

“International standards and conformity assessment can also pave the way to a circular economy that takes better care of our resources.They are powerful tools that can help governments and regulators to implement policies more efficiently and to reach development goals more quickly”.

ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica said the world was facing unprecedented challenges, and now, more than ever, we need international cooperation and collaboration.

"The world needs national and international collaboration more than ever, and events like the G20 for People, Planet and Prosperity are essential," he said.

The international standards community must drive forward its multilateral efforts as we navigate through unstable times and look ahead to a robust, balanced and inclusive global economic recovery. International standards are powerful tools to help realize the commitments that result from such collaboration and enable us to build a sustainable future."

Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Chaesub Lee, emphasized the importance of giving everyone a voice in deciding how new technological capabilities should factor into our future.

“International standards represent voluntary commitments to new ways of working together – they must help us to ensure that innovation in the interest of sustainability is shared worldwide,” he said.

“Digital transformation is accelerating, creating convergence in the business of different industry sectors and the responsibilities of associated regulatory authorities. We must continue bringing everyone together to clarify our respective contributions to a sustainable future, including the contribution expected of international standards bodies.”

The Call to Action underlined that international standards and technical publications could accelerate the successful achievement of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience. IEC and ISO have developed a “Climate Action Kit”, a package to support policymakers in their commitment to reducing net greenhouse gas emissions. The package presents case studies on how standards can support public policies and influence climate change initiatives.

Closing the event, Renzo Tomellini, Chief Technical Adviser to Italy’s Minister of Ecological Transition, emphasized the importance of standards in achieving net-zero goals. "International standards are essential to address the challenges our world is facing, at the economic, environmental and social levels," he said.

"They enable us to walk the talk, not just talk the talk. The standards community is essential to the wellbeing of society. I congratulate the standards leaders and participants at this event for their collaboration, commitment and achievements so far."

The event was held under the aegis of the G20 Italian Presidency, with the contribution of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was jointly organized by the Italian Standardization Bodies, UNI and CEI, together with the IEC, ISO and ITU.

G20 members account for 80% of the world GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the world's population. The G20 Leaders' Summit takes place in the Italian capital on October 30 and 31.

Italy took over the G20 Presidency from Saudi Arabia and will complete its presidency with the Rome summit, handing over to Indonesia on December 1.


Read the Call to Action

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