International Organization for Standardization is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 130 nations. ISO is a nongovernmental organization with the mission of promoting the development of standardization and related activities in the world in order to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services. Just as in CEN, ISO exists because the nonharmonized standards can contribute to "technical barriers to trades."

The ISO is made up of three categories of members: national member bodies (e.g., ANSI in the United States), correspondent member and subscriber member. The first member category contains members who actively participate in the development of ISO standards. The second and third categories are for information purposes.

The technical work of ISO is highly decentralized, carried out in a hierarchy of some 2850 technical committees, subcommittees, and working groups. In these committees, qualified representatives of industry, research institutes, government authorities, consumer bodies, and international organizations from all over the world come together as equal partners in the resolution of global standardization problems. Some 30,000 experts participate in meetings each year. The major responsibility for administrating a standards committee is accepted by one of the national standards bodies that make up the ISO membership. The member body holding the secretariat of a standards committee normally appoints one or two persons to do the technical and administrative work. A committee chair assists committee members in reaching consensus. Generally, a consensus will mean that a particular solution to the problem at hand is the best possible one for international application at that time.

The Central Secretariat in Geneva acts to ensure the flow of documentation in all directions, to clarify technical points with secretariats and chairperson, and to ensure that the agreements approved by the technical committees are edited, printed, submitted as draft international standards to ISO member bodies for voting, and published. Meetings of technical committees and subcommittees are convened by the Central Secretariat, which coordinates all such meetings with the committee secretariats before setting the date and place. Figure 12.6 shows the organizational structure of ISO.

An international standard (IS) is the result of an agreement between the member bodies of ISO. It may be used as such, or it may be implemented through incorporation in national standards of different countries. ISs are developed by ISO technical committees (TC) and subcommittees (SC) by a six-step process:

Stage 1: Proposal stage

Stage 2: Preparatory stage [working draft (WD)]

Stage 3: Committee stage [committee draft (CD)]

Stage 4: Enquiry stage [draft international standard (DIS)]

Stage 5: Approval stage [final draft international standard (FDIS)]

Stage 6: Publication stage [international standard (IS)]

If a document with a certain maturity is available at the start of a standardization project, for example, a standard developed by another organization, it is possible to omit certain stages. In the so-called fast-track procedure, a document is

FIGURE 12.6 ISO administrative and technical structure, an international standard (IS).

submitted directly for approval as a DIS to the ISO member bodies (stage 4) or, if the document has been developed by an international standardizing body recognized by the ISO Council, as an FDIS (stage 5), without passing through the previous stages. ISs are reviewed at maximum intervals of 5 years by the relevant technical committee to determine whether they should be confirmed, revised, or withdrawn.

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