G20: Creating a better future with International Standards

World standards leaders issued a call to action to the heads of state.

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The world’s leading standards bodies have issued a joint declaration calling on all countries to recognize, support and adopt international standards in order to contribute directly to the three pillars of the Italian G20 presidency: People, Planet and Prosperity.

The declaration was part of the International Standards Summit for People, Planet and Prosperity, held under the aegis of the Italian G20 Presidency.

Poster of the Summit

Appealing to policy makers and heads of state, the leaders of the World Standards Cooperation (WSC)[1] highlighted the powerful role that standards can play in facilitating recovery on all levels of sustainability. The declaration said that, by referencing standards in policy, governments could significantly support employment, health and education (People), contribute to sustainability (Planet) and enable the economic resilience of businesses (Prosperity).

The WSC leaders emphasized how the current pandemic has demonstrated the benefits of digitalization to all three pillars and the integral role that international standards play in supporting this. International standards are the backbone of digital technologies creating a “common language” that enables quality and compatibility for all users.

“Digital technologies that work safely and efficiently for the benefit of society can ensure a sustainable, equitable and prosperous future. They enable new forms of collaboration and open up new creative possibilities for environmental policy. Digital technologies supported by international standards are powerful solutions for climate action and economic sustainability,” the call to action stated. 

IEC General Secretary Philippe Metzger said that the work of international standards and conformity assessment was to support efforts to build a more sustainable and inclusive world.

“For us, that means supporting the realization of an ‘All Electric Society’ with a zero-carbon economy, which will ensure global prosperity by providing universal access to affordable energy generated from renewable and sustainable sources,” he said.

“International standards and conformity assessment can also pave the way to a circular economy that takes better care of our resources. They are powerful tools that can help governments and regulators implement policies more efficiently and reach development goals more quickly.”

  1. WSC: The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Press conference of the WSC leaders-

From left to rightGiuseppe Molina, Director-General of CEI; Gilles Thonet, IEC Deputy Secretary General; Chaesub Lee, Director of ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau; Sergio Mujica, ISO Secretary-General; and Ruggero Lensi, Director-General of UNI.


ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica said the world is facing unprecedented global challenges, which calls for greater international cooperation and collaboration.

“The world needs national and international collaboration more than ever, and events like the G20 for People, Planet and Prosperity are essential,” he said.

“The international standards community must drive forward its multilateral efforts as we navigate through unstable times and look ahead to a robust, balanced and inclusive global economic recovery. International standards are powerful tools to help realize the commitments that result from such collaboration and enable us to build a sustainable future.”

Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, emphasized the importance of giving everyone a voice in deciding how new technological capabilities should factor into our future.

“International standards represent voluntary commitments to new ways of working together – they must help us to ensure that innovation in the interest of sustainability is shared worldwide,” he said.

“Digital transformation is accelerating, creating convergence in the business of different industry sectors and the responsibilities of associated regulatory authorities. We must continue bringing everyone together to clarify our respective contributions to a sustainable future, including the contribution expected of international standards bodies.”

The call to action also urged all countries to ensure that international standards and publications accelerate the successful achievement of the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Call for Action on Adaptation and Resilience. This is also in line with ISO’s London Declaration, signed at the recent annual General Assembly, which outlines ISO’s commitment to work with members and stakeholders to facilitate and achieve these goals.

In addition, IEC and ISO have developed a “Climate Action Kit”, a package to support policy makers in their commitment to reducing net greenhouse gas emissions. The package presents case studies on how standards can support public policies and influence climate change initiatives.

Closing the event, Renzo Tomellini, Chief Technical Adviser to Roberto Cingolani, Italy’s Minister of Ecological Transition, emphasized the importance of standards in achieving net-zero goals.

“International standards are essential to address the challenges our world is facing, at the economic, environmental and social levels,” he said.

“They enable us to walk the talk, not just talk the talk. The standards community is essential to the well-being of society. I congratulate the standards leaders and participants at this event for their collaboration, commitment and achievements so far.”


The event was held under the aegis of the G20 Italian Presidency, with the contribution of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was organized jointly by the Italian standardization bodies UNI and CEI, together with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Originally intended to take place in Naples, Italy, the Summit was held remotely due to the global pandemic, welcoming participants from all over the world.

The first International Standards Summit took place last year under the G20 Saudi Arabia Presidency. This year, during the Italian Presidency, UNI celebrates its centenary as it was founded in 1921. The Italian Electrotechnical Committee (CEI) was established in 1909.

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