Abu Dhabi, UAE: The UAE is seeking to increase exports and drive climate action by enhancing collaboration with standardization bodies from around the world as the country pursues its goal of becoming a global industrial hub.

The UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) this week is hosting the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Annual Meeting 2022, which launched on Monday at the ADNOC Business Centre in Abu Dhabi, under the theme of ‘Collaborating for Good’.

The event runs from 19-23 September and will witness the participation of more than 5,000 delegates, including officials and representatives of national standardization bodies, as well as experts and technicians from more than 120 countries.

The ISO Annual Meeting was opened by His Excellency Omar Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, who opened the event. Ulrika Francke, President of the ISO, and Sergio Mujica, Secretary-General of ISO, also delivered opening addresses.

In his opening speech, His Excellency Omar Al Suwaidi, underlined how supporting the global standardization agenda and aligning with international standards promotes commercial growth and stimulates international trade.

“This week’s meeting is vital not just to the global industrial ecosystem, but more broadly to trade, and economies. Standardization supports the global economy and increases confidence in international trade. But standards also support Sustainable Development Goals and ISO and its members are committed to driving climate action. Together, we aim to push economic and trade relations to new heights, which will position the UAE as an international hub for industry, trade, and business.”

His Excellency continued: “The ministry is mandated to empower the industrial sector and raise its contribution to national GDP. Part of this role includes boosting exports by leveraging the UAE’s strategic geographical location, world-class infrastructure, and logistics capabilities. Last year, industrial exports amounted to around $31.6 billion, accounting for a significant portion of the industrial sector’s contribution to GDP. Our robust exports reflect the UAE’s increasingly effective quality infrastructure system, including our work to align with international standards and boost conformity.”

He added: “This annual meeting will no doubt help to set the future direction of quality infrastructure systems – not just here in the UAE but around the world. By collaborating and innovating together, by being bold and creative in our thinking, we can leverage our combined capacities to enhance business growth, industrial development, and global trade. Through insight-driven sessions, we can expect productive exchanges of knowledge and experiences between government agencies, advisory committees, and international standardization bodies, as well as partners from the private sector.”

Ulrika Francke, President of the ISO, said: “The past year has shown sustainable and green growth at the top of the global agenda. The value and relevance of standards in this regard are increasingly being recognized, but we have further work to do.”

She closed saying: “In the spirit of collaboration that underpins everything ISO does, we come together this week to work toward solutions. I have seen first-hand how standards shape our world. It takes collaborative leadership, agreed standards and regulation, established policies, and great initiative to solve global problems.”

Over the course of the event, delegates will participate in specialized sessions and workshops designed to facilitate conversations that will shape the future of standardization. Monday’s first session was ‘Standards development for the ‘new normal’ and the London Declaration’. The conversation was built on the declaration made in 2021, which aims to support climate action through global standards.

Another session, ‘Innovation for transformative climate solutions’, brought together leading climate experts to share ideas and design climate solutions in a spirit of collaboration. Another session, titled ‘Coherence of the international standards system’, addressed global challenges to the global standards community.

Delegates will continue to engage in workshops and conversations this week around a wide range of topics relating to standards, including everything from trade and digitalization to food security and water scarcity.

Several UAE government officials, private sector representatives, and experts will participate in these sessions alongside MoIAT’s participants, who include His Excellency Omar Al Suwaidi, and Dr Farah Ali Al-Zarouni, Assistant Undersecretary for the Standards and Regulations Sector at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology.

As well as convening international officials and experts physically and virtually, the ISO Annual Meeting will witness the signing of several MoUs between MoIAT and various other national standardization bodies.

Leading UAE companies and institutions are sponsoring the meeting, including Emirates Steel, Emirates Global Aluminium, Al-Futtaim Group, Etihad Aviation Group, the Multinational Companies Business Group (MCBG), and the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, ISO comprises 167 member countries and more than 340 technical committees. ISO connects the public and private sectors to advance the quality infrastructure ecosystem, with representatives from 123 member and 31 observer countries participating in its annual meetings.

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