Voluntary international standards, and their use in technical regulations on products, production methods and services play an important role in sustainable development and trade facilitation through the promotion of safety, quality and technical compatibility. The benefits that are derived are significant. Standardization contributes to the basic infrastructure that underpins society including safety, health and environment while promoting sustainability and good regulatory practice.
Standards have been recognized as a foundation to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit.
Standards help companies conceive, produce and market cleaner and more energy-efficient products. They play a key role in monitoring and improving the quality and reliability of production processes, so as to reduce their ecological footprint and impact on the environment and fragile ecosystems. They also prevent industrial accidents and insure that resources are used responsibly and are preserved for future generations.
The international organizations that develop international standards and that are members of the DCMAS Network are IEC, ISO, ITU and UNECE. IEC covers electrotechnology and related conformity assessment activities, ITU covers telecommunications and ISO covers nearly all other technical fields, a number of service sectors, management systems and, together with IEC, standards for conformity assessment. UNECE serves as a forum for the development of standards inter alia as regards automotive vehicles, agricultural products, electronic business through the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business, Public Private Partnerships and Housing.
International Standards, and certainly national or regional adoptions of International Standards, assist in the operation of domestic markets, and also increase competitiveness and provide an excellent source of technology transfer to developing countries. They play an integral role in the protection of consumers and the environment.
Standards are also the foundation of international trade – indeed trade would simply be un-imaginable without international standards – and so play a key role in supporting goal 17.10 “promote a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system”
Standards are developed by world-class experts in their respective fields. They bring a reservoir of technological know-how and knowledge – including knowledge that allows for an efficient use of resources in production and in consumption - to the factory floor. As such, governments should tap into their potential for the realization of the SDG Goal 8 “Sustainable economic growth” and SDG Goal 9 “Resilient infrastructure, industrialization and innovation”.
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