The Spanish Association for Standardisation, UNE, participated in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) General Assembly which took place from 19 to 23 September in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Guided by the ISO 2030 Strategy, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2021 London Declaration, this important event brought together more than 5,000 attendees, represented by their national standardisation bodies, economic operators, universities, research centres and public authorities.
During these conferences focused on networking and governance, UNE participated in and moderated different sessions and working groups in order to support the Action Plan derived from the London Declaration signed in 2021. The aim of the project is to ensure that global standards support climate action and promote international initiatives to achieve global climate objectives. In this way, it is proposed to accelerate the transition of governments and industry towards carbon neutrality. A year after its signing, the belief that there are strong and solid standards has been reinforced, but there is still a lack of awareness and effective communication and that is where every ISO member must make the portfolio of standards visible and contribute together to climate action.
Specifically, in Spain, 86.5% of the standards in the national catalogue originate from an international or European origin, to reinforce the commitment to this goal. "The ecological transition, including the climate crisis, sustainability or energy, requires a global collaboration and a commitment that, from the national standardisation bodies together with ISO, has been accepted under the London Declaration. For this reason, during this Assembly, working networks were accelerated to promote the use of standards aligned with zero emissions objectives and that offer reliable guidelines so that all companies and organisations can achieve their climate objectives," explains Javier García, UNE's CEO. These actions are aligned with the UNE 2025 Strategy.
It is the first Assembly attended by Javier García after being appointed vice president of Technical Management at ISO, a position that he will effectively take up next January. In this new role, Javier García will be responsible for ensuring that the new international technical standards are consistent with the ISO's Strategy 2030, which is focused on providing an effective response to the major issues that concern society, such as the ecological and energy transition, digital transformation and the implementation of the SDGs.
One of them, naturally, is also gender equality in organisations. At the beginning of the year, the future standard ISO 53800 was presented, which will be the first global standard in this field. With an inclusive approach, it proposes a model to work on equality between women and men within an organisation. A new standard that found a place at the General Assembly and that occupied one of the conferences, moderated by UNE's CEO, was centred on the mobilisation of men to achieve real gender equality.
Finally, another key focal point of these four days was the construction of a circular economy, where digitalisation plays a key role and everyone's commitment is essential. As the experts pointed out, governments are the guardians of policy formulation and it is important to make available a full set of national and international standards from which to work.
A path that UNE has already taken with the publication of the report "Study of the contribution of technical standards to the circular economy," in which almost 50 UNE Committees have participated, in order to highlight the contribution that standards have to reducing the processing of new resources and the generation of waste.
As part of the Assembly, UNE also held some working meetings with its counterparts from several countries including, Canada, Australia, Argentina, France, Denmark and Saudi Arabia. UNE signed a collaboration agreement with the latter that will strengthen relations between the two countries and provide new opportunities for Spanish companies in this market. A meeting was also held with the regional body, the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO). With them the challenges and priorities on this continent were studied and analysed to promote its international development, and at which the Association contributed its experience and knowledge to provide tools for market access, harmonising the access requirements, and other aspects such as technology transfer and sustainable growth. The national stardardisation organisation is working hard for international cooperation, to support the development of a solid quality infrastructure in regions of importance to Spanish commercial interests. In this way, the aim is to facilitate the incorporation of its products and services into international markets.