The development of International Standards is an important foundation for trade and innovation and can promote the rapid transfer of technology into new and emerging markets. The suite of International Standards, and Technical Specifications, under development at the IEC combines the best experience of industry, researchers, consumers and regulators with over 13,900 experts from companies, laboratories, academia and government. These documents cover a broad range of topics, including safety, performance, interoperability and the environment and form the basis for global conformity assessment activities. Further, these ongoing efforts are intended to promote safety and consumer confidence while stimulating economic growth and development.
The development of Standards and Technical Specifications is accomplished by nationally nominated subject matter experts working on Project Teams, Working Groups, Ad-hoc Groups, etc. These groups report to the Standards Management Board (SMB), who is tasked with the management of International Standards development and in turn reports on progress to the IEC Council.
Individual Standards and Technical Specifications begin as New Work Item Proposals, put forward by P-member countries who become the Project Team convener following international approval. Progress continues through various iterations of Committee Draft (CD), with National Committee review and comment on each draft. The draft International Standard, or draft Technical Specification, is formally voted upon and accepted based on specific voting requirements. Following acceptance, the document generally enters a stability period of three to five years in which ad-Hoc Groups are formed to collect industry feedback and prepare the document for edits following the stability period. After the stability period, a Maintenance Team is usually formed to oversee updates and improvements to the documents, ultimately published in a new edition. In the case of a Technical Specification, the Maintenance Team will lead the transition to an International Standard following the stability period.