MoIAT press release: perspectives from the ISO Annual Meeting 2022

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Standards chiefs call for greater youth collaboration in developing standards and metrology, supported by innovative technologies that will shape the future

Experts examine how trade policies can be crafted to minimize impact on climate change, and how food systems can be optimized to reduce resource consumption and enhance food security

Abu Dhabi, UAE: 21 September 2022 – The global standardization community must expand efforts to raise awareness and spark interest among youth in new technologies that are utilized in daily lives. That is according to senior officials and experts from leading standards bodies, who are convening in Abu Dhabi this week at the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Annual Meeting 2022, which is being hosted by the UAE Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT).

“Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies are extraordinary in their scope and potential impact. They have the ability to transform the industrial ecosystem, making it more productive, efficient and sustainable. They are reshaping the way we interact with the world around us – leading to a convergence of the physical, biological, and digital spheres,” said His Excellency Omar Al Suwaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, who delivered a keynote ahead of a session titled ‘Convergence of technologies and youth collaboration’.

“How we shape these technologies, how we deploy them and, importantly, how we regulate them are some of the most critical questions we face today … We have a duty to encourage the next generation to not simply embrace the possibilities of advanced technology. But to apply it to our most pressing challenges.”

The panel discussion was also preceded by remarks from Silvio Dulinsky, Deputy Secretary General of ISO, and Aisha Alsuwaidi, Head of MoIAT Youth Council – Member of Emirates Youth Councils.

Mr. Dulinsky commented: “We have helped to create a world where technology advances at an exponential rate. It grows through new hardware, processes or algorithms. And it also grows as people begin to see crossovers between one area and another. Curious minds and entrepreneurial spirits spot opportunities for deployment in other, often highly divergent sectors.

“The risk is that when something moves so quickly, people might get left behind. It is our job to make sure that the next generation is adequately prepared to benefit from this technology and to makes sure that they can turn it to their advantage.”

Ms. Alsuwaidi said: “Investing in youth is a national priority. Our leaders have always placed a strong emphasis on the importance of youth in the country’s development, and have gone to great lengths to ensure that we are empowered with the environment, tools, and guidance we need to thrive … It is now up to us to seek and seize opportunities that will shape our country’s future in today’s ever-changing and unpredictable world.”

The panelists were: Omar Al Dhuhoori, Curator, Abu Dhabi Hub, World Economic Forum Global Shapers initiative; Hassan Mohammed, Department Manager, Technology Strategy and Governance, ADNOC; Fatima Ahmed Al Khoury, UAE Young Professional Leader; Maryam Al Muhairy, Standards Researcher, MoIAT. The discussion was moderated by Nour Al Harmoodi, Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi.

Panelists underlined the importance of involving youth and the standardization organizations in efforts to unlock the full potential of new technologies to address global challenges within a comprehensive framework of international standards.

Another session on Tuesday assessed how far the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of conformity assessments and how it can be leveraged further for the benefit of all.

Ahead of the virtual session titled ‘Has Covid launched the digital transformation of conformity assessment?’, His Excellency Omar Al Suwaidi delivered a keynote in which he said: “The UAE believes that as a global community, we are at the advent of a technological revolution catalyzed by the pandemic. It is vital we take advantage of this momentum and maintain perpetual development towards a more interconnected, sustainable, and secure world.

He added: “As we evolve into a more digitalized world, we must remain adaptable and be vigilant of the potential impacts of digitalization. We believe that it is only through collaboration that effective and sustainable development can be achieved.”

Another session, ‘How trade policies can support the climate agenda’, where panelists discussed work being done to minimize climatic risks and its impact on global trade.

Food security was also a major focus at Tuesday’s meeting. A virtual session titled ‘Resilient food systems: an innovative and sustainable approach’ witnessed leading experts discussing how agritech innovation, data, digitalization, and standards can support circular economy initiatives for food. Using case studies from around the world, panelists examined entire food systems and the work being done to make them more secure and sustainable in the context of unpredictable climate change and limited resources. The session was organized in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the British Standards Institution, and the Singapore Standards Council.

The second day of ISO’s Annual Meeting 2022 also featured sessions titled ‘Achieving global collaboration’, ‘Towards an inclusive future’, ‘The Future World Café’, ‘Trade in the age of digitalization’, ‘Mobilizing men for gender equality’, and ‘Global perspectives on international standards: a market point of view’.

The event, which runs from 19-23 September, is taking place in the presence of Her Excellency Ulrika Francke, President of ISO, with the in-person or virtual participation of more than 5,000 delegates, including officials and representatives of national standardization bodies along with experts and technicians, from more than 120 countries.

The annual meeting, the most important event in ISO’s calendar, highlights the UAE’s leading regional and international role in standardization. It also showcases the country’s quality infrastructure and MoIAT’s ‘Make in the Emirates’ campaign. This year, the meeting is being held under the theme of ‘Collaborating for Good’.

Hosting ISO’s Annual Meeting in the UAE reflects the country’s position as a globally recognized and established industrial hub that is conducive to business growth and exporting. The event signifies the global community’s confidence in the UAE’s quality infrastructure system as well as the role played by the country in helping to enhance standards and conformity at home and abroad.

With the UAE having been a key member of the ISO Council over the last decade, MoIAT is committed to collaborating with global counterparts, aligning with international standards and contributing to their development, and enhancing quality infrastructure while also exchanging experiences and sharing best practices.

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 meeting. As well as convening international officials and experts, physically and virtually, ISO’s Annual Meeting will witness the signing of a number of MoUs between MoIAT and various regional and global standardization institutions.