The World Standards Cooperation is a high-level collaboration between the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union). Under this banner, the three organizations preserve their common interests in strengthening and advancing the voluntary consensus-based International Standards system.
Promotion of international standards system
IEC, ISO and ITU believe that international standards are an important instrument for global trade and economic development. They provide a harmonized, stable, and globally recognized framework for the dissemination and use of technologies.
International standards are consensus based and transparent. They invite the contribution of all interested stakeholders through an extensive network of national members. International standards increase market relevance and acceptance and are the cornerstone of global trade and development.
Why we cooperate
The world is getting more complex and increasingly digital. International standards can help simplify things, but only if they are consistent and coherent. Competing standards with contradictory content create confusion and add cost for standards makers, users, and end-consumers.
Previous cooperation between IEC, ISO and ITU-T resulted in highly successful standards that fundamentally impacted entire industries. MPEG brought digital media to the masses. It enabled internet-based audio, video, and television services, made music portable, and changed how we store, transfer and stream video files. The universal standard for mobile phones significantly reduced the number of different mobile phone chargers and helped decrease e-waste.
These collaborations formed the blueprint for SPCG.
Innovation and technology development is accelerating. Technologies are converging and most electronic goods communicate with others. Stakeholders need to be able to work together to provide technical solutions for increasingly complex systems, and to ensure interoperability of devices from different manufacturers. Nowadays, intense competition and close cooperation co-exist.
This requires a portfolio of coherent standards, devoid of conflicting requirements, to eliminate confusion and reduce the burden on standards makers and users.
IEC, ISO and ITU-T are fully committed to fostering and promoting cooperation under the banner of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC) and the Standardization Program Coordination Group (SPCG).
SPCG is to implement key principles that guide coordination at the technical level. While the three organizations are different in terms of culture, structure, and processes, we acknowledge that we all have a legitimate stake in areas of converging technologies. However, we also commit to avoiding conflicting requirements through planning and coordination based on mutual respect and trust.
Whenever new standardization work is undertaken, we will look beyond our own organization to consider if relevant standardization efforts have already started elsewhere. We encourage active dialogue to explore how work could be done together through liaisons or joint working groups.
IEC, ISO, and ITU-T will regularly circulate and review new proposals and to encourage committee leaders to timely share information regarding work programmes so as to avoid conflicting requirements or overlaps.
A coherent and coordinated international standards landscape (IEC, ISO, ITU-T)
Examples of potential areas for cooperation
Intelligent transport systems
Coordination of new fields of technical activity:
– Review all new proposals for new fields of technical activity under consideration in, IEC, ISO and ITU-T
– Identify early areas of common interest (and future challenges) in new standardization activities proposed in the three organizations
– Provide recommendations and mechanisms for coordination, collaboration and joint work to the respective technical boards (SMB, TMB, TSAG);
Coordination of existing areas of technical activity:
– Review existing standardization activities in IEC, ISO and ITU-T and identify areas where coordination is required and/ or could be enhanced
– Develop recommendations for coordination in existing and new technical structures