ISO Looks into Standards for Crisis Management

ISO considers development of standards for improving crisis management ISO is looking at the development of standards to improve crisis management in anticipation or in the face of major disasters, either natural or man-made, to mitigate their effects.

Some 70 delegates from 30 countries, including 12 developing countries, attended the first meeting of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 223 since its scope was expanded following recent recommendations by ISO’s Strategic Group on Security.

ISO/TC 223, which has been provisionally named “Societal security”, met on 10-12 May 2006, in Stockholm, Sweden, hosted by the Swedish Standards Institute (SIS), which provides the secretariat for the committee.

The mission of ISO/TC 223 is to develop International Standards or other ISO deliverables that will improve preparedness before a crisis, coordination during a crisis and reconstruction and remedial action afterwards.

“Standardized channels save time and simplify cooperation in crisis management and are therefore of vital importance” commented ISO/TC 223 Chair, Ambassador Krister Kumlin, who is Senior Adviser to the Swedish Emergency Management Agency.” One important idea is that in the future, information can be interpreted and transferred between national and international companies, authorities and organizations.”

The scope of crisis management is broad, spanning everything from preparation, analyses, forecasts and development of systems to education, drills and evaluation. Another example is the need for a global standard for symbols and pictures.

At its first meeting, ISO/TC 223 discussed and reached some basic agreements on the scope and structure of its future work. It will now prepare a business plan to guide its work, ready for its next meeting in November.

In addition, the committee established three working groups to address the following aspects:

- societal security management, - terminology, and - command and control, coordination and cooperation.

ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: “Safety and security are among the central preoccupations of both governments, to ensure the protection of their citizens, and the private sector, to assist in business continuity. Anticipating and responding to natural or other types of disasters requires the efficient collaboration of governments, NGO’s and businesses, and often involve international coordination and cooperation. The launching of ISO/TC 223 is a further demonstration of ISO’s commitment to provide the framework and process for developing consensus based standards to help meet the challenges in this area, as illustrated by ISO’s recent publications for food safety management, information security, the security of global supply chains and the use of biometrics for identification.”

So far, the ISO members of 22 countries are participating members of ISO/TC 223, while another 21 countries have observer status. The participating countries are: Austria, Canada, China, CĂ´te d’Ivoire, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA and Ukraine.

Companies, governments and organizations (including nongovernmental ones) that wish to participate in or provide input for the work of ISO/TC 223 should contact the ISO member in their country for information on the possible options.

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