Supporting efficient participation of developing countries in international standardization contributes to a better integration in the global market.

Almost three-quarters of ISO members are from developing countries, yet their participation in international standardization remains low. To ensure developing country interests are fairly represented and provided for, we help them participate more effectively in ISO’s standards-setting work.

The success of our initiative hinges on two things. It enables developing country experts to attend meetings where ISO standards are agreed and developed while, at the same time, dispensing training on standards development to ensure they can participate effectively in the process.

In our programme, we make a special effort to engage subject matter experts from different stakeholder groups, such as the private sector, academia and government, so that they can actively participate in ISO’s standards-setting activities. Some 90 experts from different regions of the world contribute to the creation of ISO standards in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


What our participants are saying…

[The programme] helps to build the capacity of professionals, particularly in developing countries, as they are involved with the development of standards both locally and internationally.

Beneficiary from Nigeria

[The programme is] helpful to developing countries who want to participate actively in international committees. I presented an international standard proposal two years ago and now it is accepted for balloting.

Beneficiary from Colombia

Sectoral appoach - Pilot on Circular Economy

The circular economy is of particular relevance to developing countries. For this reason, a sectoral capacity building journey is currently being piloted to ensure developing country interests are taken on board as early as possible in ISO’s standardization work.

A comprehensive package of capacity building activities specifically tailored to the circular economy gives ISO members and their developing country stakeholders the tools to participate effectively in the standards development work of ISO/TC 323, Circular economy. This package may include a variety of modules such as webinars, classroom and virtual training, and participation in ISO technical meetings and ISO project sponsorship programmes.

Developing country participation in ISO technical committees has already increased substantially. Currently, two-thirds of participating members are from developing countries.

Find out more about ISO’s standardization work on the circular economy by visiting the ISO/TC 323 page.


Applying good standardization practices to help ISO members better serve the standardization needs of their countries.
Identify and prioritize the needs of your country that can be addressed through standardization.
Enhancing the collaboration between standardizers and policy makers in support of good regulatory practices.
Efficient participation of developing countries in international standardization enables a better integration in the global market.
Applying ISO standards reduces technical barriers to trade and increases developing countries’ trade opportunities.
Promoting and disseminating clean cooking standards by working in synergy with key partners.
The institutional capacity of national standards bodies in the Middle East and North Africa was strengthened and the use of sustainable development standards promoted.
Applying ISO 26000 on social responsibility in the MENA region contributed to sustainable development.