The Riyadh International Standards Summit took place on 4 November, as a side event to the G20 2020 Saudi Arabia, and was a great success. The virtual event was organized by the G20 Saudi Secretariat, Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) together with IEC, ISO and ITU under the auspices of the World Standards Cooperation.
Viewers from over 80 countries watched panel discussions on the themes of Global crises need global solutions – how international standards can help, and Digital transformation and the role of international standards.
The organizers issued a call to action for the recognition, support and adoption of international standards and the event concluded with statements from the heads of standardization organizations of the G20 countries. (full text below)
Riyadh International Standards Summit recommendation and call to action
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the world. Communities are facing tremendous upheaval to the social and economic environments that safeguard the lives of their citizens. We have seen rapid reshaping in the delivery of healthcare, education and other essential services as well as how businesses can operate, in many cases through accelerated digital transformation. We now have a responsibility to ensure that we support these changes in a sustainable and ongoing way to be prepared for any type of future crisis.
Digital technologies are a key ally in preventing, detecting and monitoring outbreaks, while also keeping people safe, productive and connected. While data analytics is playing a fundamental role in the Covid-19 response and recovery, all sectors are looking to make smarter use of data and explore opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Increased demand for connectivity during the pandemic has also tested the capacity of our digital infrastructure and reaffirmed the importance of cybersecurity.
Today’s global health crisis has highlighted the need to continue investing in our digital future, through investments to drive infrastructure development, connect the unconnected, and build confidence and trust in digital technologies; elements which are critical towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In this context, international standards, which surround us in everyday life, are key to enabling global supply chains and facilitating global trade and can also help organizations run more efficiently and sustainably and offer better services. They help ensure that vital technologies provide economic and societal benefits, and are accessible, interoperable, resilient, and safe for everyone. International standards, together with testing, inspection, and certification, facilitate international trade and reassure governments, retailers and consumers that products and services have been developed to globally agreed safety, efficiency and sustainability criteria.
However, as digital transformation creates convergence among industries and technology sectors, regulatory frameworks and responsibilities are becoming increasingly interdependent. Broader engagement between public and private entities is therefore crucial to ensuring all stakeholder perspectives are considered in order to strengthen the role that standardization and conformity assessment can play. Furthermore, global collaboration, considering the needs of all countries and assisting in the capacity building, is key to ensuring the comprehensiveness of international standards for all.
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), under the auspices of the World Standards Cooperation, and the participants of the Riyadh International Standards Summit, therefore call on all countries to recognize, support, and adopt international standards to accelerate digital transformation in all sectors of the economy to help overcome global crises, such as Covid-19, and contribute towards the achievement of the SDGs.