A small team of Standards Australia staff recently attended the first ‘in person’ ISO Annual Meeting since 2019, in Abu Dhabi.
It was a valuable opportunity to meet attendees from around the world, and our delegation took every opportunity to put forward our thought leadership across a broad array of issues.
The post-COVID hybrid format was unique for this event, allowing us to interact in-person with 900 international standards representatives in-person, but also in virtual sessions with external stakeholders, allowing for important conversations on key challenges and opportunities.
The event’s theme was collaboration - in particular, it focused on using standards to achieve a better and more sustainable world.
Each ISO Annual Meeting has three key elements: (1) organisational governance and strategy for ISO; (2) member body exchange and networking; and (3) outreach to the wider world to increase awareness of the role that standards can play in addressing global issues.
A key focus of ISO’s strategy is addressing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). At Abu Dhabi, there were a number of engaging and dynamic sessions which explored what ISO needs to do on SDGs and climate change, while contributing timely solutions to address core human needs for food, shelter and mobility.
ISO members were also challenged by a debate where opposing thought leaders shared their views on how relevant ISO would be in ten years. Standards Australia’s General Manager, Operations - Kareen Riley-Takos - was one of the four participants in that session, widely regarded as one of the best of the week.
Our General Manager, Engagement and Communications – Adam Stingemore - was a panellist on a session covering the global standards market, and our Head of International – Karen Batt - contributed to the panel session on the London Declaration – One Year On, which reviewed climate change through actions taken in various economies by ISO members.
Importantly, the election for the next ISO President was held. Of two strong candidates - one from China and one from South Korea. Dr Sung-Hwan Cho, (Korea) President and CEO of Hyundai Mobis, was elected President for a two-year term commencing 1 January 2024.
This year’s ISO Annual Meeting, hosted by the UEA Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), was significant not just because it was the first in three years. Attendees were acutely aware the event was held in a time of global turmoil, which only reinforced our need to work closely with our international colleagues to align our plans to meet the significant demands of the future head-on. Meetings like these are a forum for us to work together to find simpler and faster ways to deliver the right solution to market, in the right format, at the right time.
So, I am pleased to say the next ISO Annual Meeting will be hosted by Standards Australia for the first time since 2001. The week-long meeting will be held in Brisbane at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre in September 2023.