International Organization for Standardization

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International Organization for Standardization

Logo of the ISO
Formation February 23, 1947
Type Non-governmental organization
Purpose/focus Standards development
Headquarters Geneva, Switzerland
President Terry Hill

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. The organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial, and commercial standards. It was one of the first organizations granted general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (1947).[1]


The organization known today as ISO began in 1926 as the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA). It was suspended in 1942 during World War II, but after the war ISA was approached by the new United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee (UNSCC) with a proposal to form a new global standards body. In October 1946, ISA and UNSCC delegates from 25 countries met in London and agreed to join forces to create the new International Organization for Standardization. The new organization officially began operations on February 23, 1947.[2][3]

By the 1970s, ISO was known throughout much of Europe, but it wasn't fully recognized on the international front. Then Secretary-General Olle Sturen made expanding ISO's influence a priority, making trips to Iran, Pakistan, Thailand, New Zealand, China, India, and the United States. In 1978, ISO started its own testing and quality control program, culminating in the Quality Management and Quality Assurance technical committee (TC 176), which would go on to eventually produce the ISO 9000 series of standards.[2]

In 2005, the ISO and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), through joint technical committee JTC1, launched the ISO/IEC 27001 standard on information security in information management systems. The ISO 27001:2005 standard went on to become one of ISO's most popular standards.[4]

Membership and organization

ISO is a voluntary organization whose members are recognized authorities on standards, each one representing one of 162 countries. Members meet annually at a General Assembly to discuss ISO's strategic objectives. The organization is coordinated by a Central Secretariat based in Geneva. A Council with a rotating membership of 20 member bodies provides guidance and governance, including setting the Central Secretariat's annual budget. The ISO includes a Technical Management Board, responsible for over 250 technical committees, who develop the ISO standards.[3][5][6]

ISO has three membership categories:[6]

  • Member bodies are national bodies considered the most representative standards body in each country. These are the only members of ISO that have voting rights.
  • Correspondent members are countries that do not have their own standards organization. These members are informed about ISO's work but do not participate in standards promulgation.
  • Subscriber members are countries with small economies. They pay reduced membership fees, but they can follow the development of standards.

ISO is funded by a combination of:[7]

  • organizations that manage the specific projects or loan experts to participate in the technical work.
  • subscriptions from member bodies. These subscriptions are in proportion to each country's gross national product and trade figures.
  • sale of standards.

See also


A couple of elements of this article are reused from the Wikipedia article.


  1. "List of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council as of 1 September 2010" (PDF). United Nations Economic and Social Council. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 (PDF) Friendship Among Equals - Recollections from ISO's first fifty years. International Organization for Standardization. 1997. pp. 89. ISBN 9267102605. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Kresse, Wolfgang (ed.); Danko, David M. (ed.) (2011). Springer Handbook of Geographic Information. Springer. pp. 401–407. ISBN 9783540726784. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  4. "2005: Information Security". The ISO story. International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  5. "Structure and governance". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 19 September 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "ISO members". International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  7. "General information on ISO". International Organization for Standardization. Archived from the original on 5 October 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2014.