ISO set to formulate norms on energy trade and climate change

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, December 6 | Updated: Dec 7 2007, 01:44am hrs
As climate change, environment and energy trade are likely to be an issue in future negotiations at the WTO, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) has decided to give added focus in these sectors. It urged India to move from its position as a taker of standards to maker of standards.

The ISO secretary-general, Alan Bryden in an interaction with the industry in Delhi on Thursday said : We have formulated some norms like environmental management, environmental labeling, life cycle analysis, greenhouse gas emissions accounting and verification, air, water and soil quality, ship recycling, but we need to do more in the area, particularly in relation to climate change and trading in emission credits.

In collaboration with the International Energy Agency and the World Energy Council, ISO would formulate norms on bio-fuels and bio-diesels, energy management and auditing, energy efficiency in transportation, sustainable and energy efficient buildings, hydrogen technologies and solar energy.

Bryden said that ISO has already registered its presence at the on-going UN Framework Conference on Climate Change in Bali and would also participate at the scheduled meeting of trade ministers on December 8. He said that ISO has also decided to develop standards on societal problems at the instance of NGOs.

Other focus areas of ISO are basic industries, new technologies like IT, aeronautics and space technology, biotechnology, nano-technology, hydrogen technology, food safety management, healthcare, education, homeland security like biometrics, natural disaster reduction strategy, security in the supply chain.

Bryden was in Delhi to participate in the meeting of the World Economic Forum which concluded on December 4. He has plans to go to Bangalore to discuss with the IT industry.

ISO is a global non-governmental body having membership of national standard bodies from 157 countries. India is represented in the ISO through the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) from 1947. ISO and has been accorded observer status in the WTO and has an institutional arrangements with this global trade body to suggest solution arising out of technical barriers to trade (TBT). BIS is the designated TBT point in India.

BIS has formulated 18324 standards for goods and services, out of which only 4500 are aligned to ISO norms.

India has been elected to represent in the ISO governing council for two years beginning from January 2008. Earlier India represented in the ISO governing council in 2002 and 2003. The ISO governing council has 18 members in total. India had hosted the meeting ISO sub-committees on plastics and textiles. Earlier in 1965-67 Jehangir Ghandy and DC Kothari from India were the presidents of ISO. Lal C Verman from India was ISO vice-president in 1949-51 and in 1952-54. India is also a participating member ISO sub-panels like DEVCO, CASCO, COPOLCO. After ISO declaring South Asia region as a separate entity in standard formulations, India is the regional coordinator.

ISO members are ranked according to the contribution in quality setting as well as country's GDP. India ranked 18 and is in the second group of countries alongwith China, Brazil, Spain and Holland.

Bryden said that there was 10% increase in Asian membership in ISO technical committees. ISO formulates 100 new standards every month. It works closely with UN agencies like Codex, ILO, IMO, ITC, UPU, UN/ECE, UNIDO, WHO, WMO, WTO-OMT and also with other global standards bodies like IEC and ITU. It also cooperates with the OECD and has links with seven regional bodies like ACCSQ, AIDMO, ARSO, CEN, COPANT, EASC, PASC. It has cooperation agreements with World Economic Forum, IAF, ILAC, Consumers International, ICC, IFAN and World Energy Council.