International standards (ISO)

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental international organization, developing International Standards.

ISO main features

  • established in 1946;
  • 162 members with global coverage (see the ISO members);
  • ISO members are not obliged to adopt ISO standards.

Read more about ISO

ISO standard preparation process

In ISO, the preparation process is somewhat different than in CEN: 

  • There is a three-phase voting: First Committee Draft (ISO/CD), then Draft International Standard (ISO/DIS) and finally Final Draft International Standard (ISO/FDIS).
  • Only those countries who have registered as active members ("P-members") for the relevant TC are allowed to vote.
  • Each P-member has one vote. At the final voting, at least 75% of the votes must be positive.
  • Adoption of ISO standards as national standards is completely voluntary.

Participating in the standardization process

ISO standards are developed by groups of experts, representatives of industry, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders, who are put forward by ISO's members.

ISO's full members (member bodies) can decide if they would like to be a participating member (P-member) of a particular Technical Committee (TC) or an observing member (O-member).

P-members participate actively in the work and have an obligation to vote on all questions submitted to vote within the technical committee.

O-members follow the work as an observer, but cannot make any comments about the development process or vote.

Correspondent members can become O-members of a particular technical committee.

EN-ISO standards

A standard originally prepared by an ISO/TC can be adopted, without changing its contents, as European Standard – or ISO can adopt a European Standard as an International Standard as well.

In both cases the standard becomes an EN ISO standard.

The same happens when a completely new standard is prepared under the Vienna Agreement, which since 1991 has called for the joint CEN-ISO planning of new standards.

International Standards
Elaboration of standards in parallel under the Vienna Agreement