Next generation crucial to driving digital transformation in developing countries

Standards’ role in improving economies and achieving public policy objectives was highlighted in the DEVCO meeting, in the lead-up to ISO Week 2021.

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Clare  Naden
By Clare Naden
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“Standards are vital for our future,” said Dr Armen Orujyan, an internationally renowned entrepreneur and leader in science and technology innovation, who gave the opening keynote at this week’s 55th Annual Meeting of the ISO Committee on developing country matters (DEVCO).

“Technological development is going to have a massive impact on developing country economies. No longer can they hide or expect the world to share the profits. The future won’t be shared by others, but the technology itself. We want to be at the table making the critical decisions today, stop being an audience, and become a player, contributor and producer.”

Dr Armen Orujyan, entrepreneur, innovator, and founding chairman of the Foundation for Armenian Science & Technology, speaking at the 55th ISO DEVCO meeting.

Dr Orujyan, who is the founder of several organizations focused on developing STEM learning ecosystems for communities in Europe and Africa, addressed many topics related to science-driven technological innovation. He also spoke about how to overcome challenges and leverage opportunities with the support of standards, drawing attention to the critical role of standardization as a “vehicle for the rest of the world to safely arrive at a designated destination”.

The meeting, chaired by Mojdeh Rowshan Tabari, coincided with DEVCO’s 60th anniversary, marking six decades of helping developing countries increase their participation in standardization and maximize the benefits. It was an opportunity for ISO members, representatives of international organizations and regional standardization bodies to exchange experiences and best practices in support of ISO’s Strategy 2030 and the Action Plan for developing countries 2021-2025.

ISO members shared experiences on how the use of International Standards can contribute to agile policy making, enhance transparency, predictability and accountability of the regulatory process and stimulate sustainable economic growth. The DEVCO meeting was also an opportunity to learn more about the ISO Climate Action Kit, which offers practical guidance to help national standards bodies strengthen their collaboration with policy makers in support of good regulatory practices.

Attracting young people to ISO’s work was a key topic discussed at the event, as this is vital to bring creativity and innovation into standards development. Engaging the “next generation” will ensure the sustainability of the system while increasing diversity within the ISO technical community. Reinforcing this message, ISO President Eddy Njoroge said DEVCO’s new Action Plan for developing countries, and the discussions held at the event, give cause for confidence in the future.

“The theme of digitalization is growing in importance, particularly because of the dangers presented by the ‘digital divide’ – between those countries that have successfully navigated the increased use of digital technology and those that have not and are in danger of being left behind. ISO is addressing this through the Action Plan to ensure that the potential dangers will be mitigated.”

To find out more, visit the DEVCO page on ISO.org.

Learn more about this year’s ISO Week, which is being held on 20-24 September 2021.

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