What happens and when

Lake Brienz
Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

Week at a glance

With a programme of structured meetings, innovative breakout sessions and social events, we’ve packed a lot into the ISO Week 2018. Below, you’ll find a full agenda to help you to get the most from your time in Geneva.


24 September



25 September


DEVCO breakouts

Welcome Reception

26 September


Open Session [Standards for the SDGs]

UN Reception

27 September

General Assembly

General Assembly breakouts

Gala Dinner

28 September

General Assembly

General Assembly

Closing Cocktail

All meetings will be held at the CICG (except for Council)

Meetings description

27-28 September | CICG

ISO General Assembly 2018

This is your opportunity to get together with all ISO members to examine the ideas and strategies that create success. This year’s annual General Assembly features some remarkable keynote speakers. From cutting-edge tech to fine-tuning trade policies, or keeping pace with the shifting trends of global commerce, we’ve put together a line-up of speakers who will challenge and inspire you over two days of meetings.

In addition to covering the big ideas that affect us all, the annual General Assembly also provides breakouts that will focus on key areas where standards can advance the global agenda.

You can find out more about our key speakers and the themes of the breakout sessions below.

Click to access the draft agenda of the General Assembly [restricted access].

27 September, Afternoon | CICG

General Assembly breakouts

Breakout 1: “Trends in international trade and the role of standards”

One of the main benefits of standards is that they facilitate trade, which in turn leads to economic growth and development.

This breakout will explain the role of International Standards in the international trading system, and explore how they facilitate trade by removing unnecessary obstacles (“technical barriers”) and supporting regulatory harmonization. The session will look at this topic through the lens of recent trends in international trade; for example, challenges to multilateralism.

ISO members will learn about the current trends in international trade and the threats and opportunities that these present for standards organizations.

Breakout 2: “Technology, standards and innovation”

Success in today’s world is about being open to change – and innovation is at the root of positive change. It is all about new ideas, new processes and new products disrupting the status quo for the better. Standards bodies will have to adapt quickly to meet these future challenges. This was well captured in the theme of the 2017 General Assembly “Open minded, Open for change”.

This breakout session explores how International Standards support innovation and innovation policies, thus contributing to driving the changes necessary to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda.

ISO members will hear about examples of standards supporting innovation and share best practices on how to engage with business leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers on this subject.

Breakout 3: “International Standards supporting the SDGs”

Building on the outcomes of the open session of 26 September, this breakout session will demonstrate how International Standards are essential tools to help governments, industry and consumers contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. 

ISO members will see the results of the work of the TMB Task Force on UN Sustainable Development Goals, including a new Website with a mapping of ISO standards to the SDGs that they support, communication materials and guidance to members and committees on how to form partnerships (e.g. with UN and other international organizations) to enhance the value of their standards in supporting the SDGs.

Breakout 4: “Engaging policy makers and government”

How much can International Standards really contribute to advancing the global agenda? This depends largely on how widely they are used. Achieving the ambitious goals agreed by the United Nations requires commitment and action from governments (not just businesses), yet it can be challenging for standards bodies to engage with policy makers and government.

There are many benefits to greater engagement. For example, policy makers can stay informed of (and provide input into) ongoing developments in international standardization that they may find useful to support their policy goals. At the same time, standardizers can gain important insights into public policy challenges that could potentially be solved by the development of International Standards.

This breakout session will examine how ISO and its members can stimulate dialogue between standards development organizations and policy makers. ISO members will hear perspectives from policy makers and will be invited to discuss their goals and challenges related to engaging public-sector stakeholders.

26 September, Afternoon | CICG

Open Session [Standards for the SDGs] – hosted together with the United Nations

This year, we’re bringing you an Open Session together with the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Building on our theme of how standards can help advance the global agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we’ll be joined by UNECE, a body that facilitates greater economic integration and cooperation among its fifty-six member states.

As an organization that cooperates actively with ISO in the development of International Standards, UNECE also develops standards in a number of sectors including energy, trade facilitation, transport and agricultural quality, among others. The Open Session with the UN will take an open-minded look at the areas where standards can make a difference and identify future areas that need to be addressed.

More information on this printable flyer.

25-26 September | CICG


Over 350 delegates are expected at DEVCO to consider the role of International Standards in supporting sustainable development and trade, and to explore ways of improving economic, social and environmental outcomes in developing countries. In addition to national standards body leadership and key stakeholders, representatives of international organizations, regional standardization bodies and major donor organizations will be in attendance.

The DEVCO agenda will feature a keynote presentation by an internationally renowned speaker (to be announced soon), breakout groups for delegates to share experiences and best practice on stakeholder engagement strategies, how standards support public procurement, and approaches to teaching standards in institutions of higher education. Panel sessions on policy issues related to the participation of developing countries in standardization and ongoing technical work will be showcased. The DEVCO meeting is also an excellent opportunity to interact with peers and to make new contacts with key players on the international scene.  

Click to access the draft agenda of the DEVCO [restricted access].

25 September Afternoon | CICG

DEVCO breakouts 

Breakout 1: Stakeholder engagement – focus on SMEs

The active participation in standards development provides SMEs with an advantage to respond to market needs and requirements. The use of standards allows SMEs to improve the quality of goods and services, cut costs, increase profits and access export markets.

This session will focus on sharing experiences between national standards bodies on successful engagement strategies and effective collaboration schemes, in particular with SMEs.

Breakout 2: Standards and public procurement

Because governments are major buyers of goods and services, using International Standards in public procurement is a powerful way for policy makers to promote specific policy goals. International Standards can also help regulators and their main contractors align their procurement systems with international best practice.

Invited speakers will share experiences and explore with the audience challenges and opportunities to enhance collaboration between standards bodies and regulators in this area.

Breakout 3: Teaching standards – curricula for higher education

Various approaches by institutions of higher education teaching standardization as part of their curriculum will be shared and discussed. National standards bodies will exchange successful experiences on ways to further engage with academia in their countries. Key reasons why standardization should be part of university programmes will also be explored during the session.



The Technical Management Board (TMB) reports to the ISO Council and exists to manage the technical committees (TCs) and maintain the rules that govern the processes for developing International Standards effectively. Specifically, it is responsible for appointing TC Chairs, monitoring the progress of technical work and for all matters relating to the planning, coordination, performance and monitoring of technical committee activities. The ISO Week 2018 in Geneva provides an ideal opportunity for the TMB to review the progress made throughout the year, and to set its priorities and plan its work programme for the following year.



Council is the core governance body of ISO and reports to the General Assembly. It is composed of 20 member bodies, ISO Officers and Chairs of Policy Development Committees (CASCO, COPOLCO, DEVCO). Council is chaired by the President, John Walter, with the Secretary-General, Sergio Mujica, as Council Secretary. Council meets three times annually to discuss key matters relating to ISO strategy and policy, financial as well as operational and statutory matters.

During the ISO Week 2018 in Geneva, Council will, amongst other things, deal with the ISO strategy implementation, the ISO Central Secretariat budget, a number of governance appointments as well as planning the work of the bodies reporting to Council for the following year.



Bertrand Piccard

Bertrand Piccard was the first to complete a non-stop, round-the-world balloon flight and was the initiator and visionary of Solar Impulse, the first airplane to fly around the world without fuel. A psychiatrist and aviator, Bertrand Piccard will talk about his personal experiences, and the role of innovation in achieving the unexpected.


We need to embrace clean technologies and efficient solutions, because they are much more than “ecological…”, they are logical. They create jobs and generate profit, while also reducing CO2 emissions and preserving natural resources. Even if climate change didn’t exist, they would make sense. Clean growth is much better than the dirty status quo we have today.

Bertrand Piccard on Solar Impulse
Bertrand Piccard
Bertrand Piccard


The innovation space

Advancing the global agenda, and improving the quality of life of an ever-growing global population, will rely on new technologies and new ways of thinking. Standards support innovation and act as a strong foundation upon which new developments can be built.

But what do we mean when we talk about innovation? How does standardization actually help foster breakthrough ideas and then turn them into game changers? We’ll be exploring the idea of innovation from two particular angles in an interactive space where ideas fly and open-minded questions abound.

How do International Standards support innovation in business? In particular, how can they drive sustainable development and technological advancement?

How is ISO adapting to future challenges while continuing to do what it does best: supporting and developing the production of International Standards?

Together with our Swiss member, SNV, we’ve created an Innovation Space where you can understand more about these ideas by visiting information satellites that address the big questions in innovation. Whether you just pass through for a cup of coffee or are looking for an engaging discussion, take a trip though the Innovation Space to find out what innovation means to standardizers, and what standardization can do for innovators.


We’ve organized many opportunities for you to network with fellow ISO members and connect with friends.


Social events

Start at 18h00

Join us for an evening of making new acquaintances and renewing old contacts as we kick off the ISO Week 2018 at this opening event.

Useful tip

This event immediately follows the DEVCO plenary.
Dress code: business attire

UN Reception

United Nations (UN)
Starts at 18h30

Jointly hosted by the United Nations Office at Geneva and ISO, join us at the historic Palais des Nations for this special reception to discuss the outcomes from the Open Session.

Please arrive punctually at 18h00 at the visitor gate to allow for security procedures [passport required]

Useful tip

The event consists of drinks and light refreshments.
Dress code: business attire

Starts at 19h30

Come and celebrate with fellow ISO members in one of Geneva’s most remarkable historic buildings, located along the Rhone River in the centre of town. The evening promises to be an elegant opportunity for networking and socializing together. 

Useful tip

No transfer is organized. We recommend taking a taxi or public transport.
Dress code: evening wear (shirt-and-tie or cocktail dress)

Starts at the end of the General Assembly plenary

Your opportunity to conclude the Week’s events with a social drink and some light refreshment before embarking on your journey home.

Useful tip

For people travelling directly onwards, please note that there is luggage storage available at the CICG.

Bilateral meetings

Bilateral meeting CICG

Should you want to organize a meeting or side event at the CICG, please contact the Events Team. Several rooms will be available from Monday to Friday. 

Augustin Rollet
Augustin Rollet
Events Assistant

+41 22 749 05 35

Bilateral meeting ISO/CS

Should you want to organize a meeting or side event at ISO/CS, please contact the Events Team. Several rooms will be available from Monday to Friday.

Beatrix Mokhtari-Hegi
Beatrix Mokhtari-Hegi
Events Associate

+41 22 749 02 13

Accompanying persons

Activities for accompanying persons are organized from Tuesday to Friday on a first-come, first-served basis.

For those interested, please join us at the registration/information desk to participate:

  • Tuesday 11:00 – 13:00
    Red Cross Museum - Guided visit of the permanent exhibition in English
  • Wednesday 13:30 – 16:30
    Patek Philippe Museum - Guided tour through the historical significance of the art of watchmaking and enameling
  • Thursday 09:00 – 12:00
    Geneva Highlights - Visit of the International district, Old Town and its highlights
  • Friday 10:00 – 12:30
    Chocolaterie Stettler - Tour into the Manufacture, discover of Stettler’s history and craftsmanship and tasting
Klaus Hatlanek
Klaus Hatlanek
Events Team Leader

+41 79 752 08 25


Discover the locations where we’ll be holding our meetings and social events during the week.


CICG – Centre International de Conférences Genève

A fully equipped, modern conference centre located next to the United Nations, this is the venue for most of the events and meetings during the ISO Week 2018.

How to get there:
Tram 15, “Nations” stop, or Bus 5, “Vermont” stop, or Bus 8, “UIT” stop. See TPG for more information.  

ISO/CS – ISO Central Secretariat

Conveniently located between the town centre and the airport, the ISO Central Secretariat (ISO/CS) welcomes you on organized visits to discover the hub that serves ISO’s members.

ISO building

Visits to ISO/CS

Should you be interested in visiting the ISO Central Secretariat, please note that return transfers will be organized from the CICG during the lunch break. You can register at the information desk at the CICG from Tuesday to Friday. We will work on a first-come, first-served basis.

GALA DINnERThusday 27 September, 19h30

BFM – Bâtiment des Forces Motrices

This stunning 19th-century industrial building sits on the Rhone River in the heart of Geneva and has been transformed as a venue for concerts and theatre.

BFM building

How to get there:
Tram 14, “Palladium” stop,
or Tram 15/Bus 1, “Stand” stop.
See TPG for more information.   

UN Reception - Wednesday 26 September, 18h00

UN – United Nations

The Palais des Nations is an instantly recognizable Geneva landmark and has served as the United Nations headquarters in Switzerland since 1946.

BFM building

How to get there:
Buses 8/28/F/V/Z, “Appia” stop. See TPG for more information.
Alternatively, 15 minutes walk from CICG.