Press Releases

          22 September 2004

    International Organization for Standardization Makes Unique Contribution in Vital Areas of Health, Safety, Environment, Secretary-General Says

    (Delayed in transmission.)

    NEW YORK, 21 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the twenty-seventh General Assembly of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), delivered in Geneva by Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva, on 15 September:

    The International Organization for Standardization makes a unique contribution in a range of vital areas -- health, safety, security, the environment, transport and information technology. ISO standards are crucial to sustainable development, as they are a key source of technological know-how, especially for developing countries and economies in transition. They are invaluable in helping countries develop their economies and build capacities to compete in global markets. Producers and consumers everywhere benefit from your efforts.

    We know that one of the most effective ways of building bridges between nations is to encourage people to work together towards mutually beneficial goals. It is heartening, therefore, that thousands of women and men of all political convictions, religious beliefs, and national as well as ethnic origins, collaborate within ISO to achieve consensus on standards that make a positive difference to our world.  That collaboration also characterizes the relationship between ISO and the UN family -- a relationship which I hope will grow even stronger in the future. We have a shared interest in the development and dissemination of standards that can help to improve the lives of people everywhere, and in building capacity for standardization activity in developing countries and economies in transition. 

    Let me also commend ISO for broadening the scope of its work in the area of social and environmental performance.  In this way, too, you are making an important contribution towards a more sustainable world. I welcome, in particular, ISO’s recent decision to develop a standard on social responsibility -- an initiative which dovetails well with the universal principles of the UN Global Compact on human rights, labour conditions, the environment and anti-corruption. Since the Compact’s principles are derived from international instruments, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which already enjoy international consensus, they offer a strong foundation on which to build international standards on social responsibility.

    The United Nations family looks forward to working ever more closely with the International Organization for Standardization for many years to come. I thank you for your commitment to our common mission, and wish you a most productive twenty-seventh General Assembly.

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