Our journey to a sustainable future

ISO standards provide technical solutions for the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They play an essential role in making these development goals a reality as they address economic, environmental and societal dimensions. ISO members – the national standards bodies (NSBs) – and their stakeholders looking to contribute to the SDGs will find that ISO standards provide effective tools to help them rise to the challenge.

Countries benefit significantly from using ISO standards at different levels:

  • At government level, standards can be used to support public policy and good regulatory practice. 
  • At private-sector level, organizations can use standards to ensure that their processes, products and services are fit for purpose, interchangeable and compatible. 
  • At the individual level, consumers benefit greatly from goods and services developed in line with standards because they can be confident that they are of good quality, safe and environmentally sound. 

Explore how ISO standards contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs.

Capacity Building at ISO

Through our Capacity Building programmes, we’re empowering people and putting standards at the centre of their sustainable development journey.

We empower developing countries

ISO recognizes that many of its developing country members need capacity building support to strengthen their national quality infrastructure, thus contributing to their countries’ development objectives and the advancement of the UN SDGs.

Representing ISO at national level, NSBs support the national quality infrastructure’s standardization pillar. Many also shoulder specific responsibilities in matters regarding conformity assessment.

Through our projects, we seek to empower developing countries so that they actively contribute to the ISO system and benefit fully from the use of ISO standards addressing social, economic and environmental challenges. Emphasis is placed on the standardization pillar, but also on conformity assessment, thus contributing to countries’ economic competitiveness.

ISO – The world’s largest developer of international standards

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of more than 160 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.


Find your ISO member
The members of the International Organization for Standardization are 171 national standards bodies, each representing ISO in their country.

Targeted, comprehensive and sustainable capacity building is indispensable for our organization to be effective, and that is why it is a key priority for me. We are deeply committed to continuous improvement in the support we provide to our members and their stakeholders to manage standardization more effectively. This is essential to enable developing countries to fully benefit from the value of standards.

Sergio Mujica
Sergio Mujica
ISO Secretary-General

Interviewed NSBs, stakeholders and donors expressed appreciation for the transfer of standards-related knowledge by ISO that is perceived to be both honest and transparent. ISO has done considerable work in recognizing the interdependencies between the individual, organizational and institutional levels of capacity development.

Extract from the independent evaluation of ISO’s capacity building programmes undertaken in 2019.