The CSN Framework of International Standards is a list of existing international standards that are of most use to Commonwealth ODA countries in facilitating trade and reducing poverty.
This list of over 100 standards highlighted by the CSN represents a holistic set of solutions to typical problems related to the ability of Commonwealth countries to trade amongst one another. They also represent solutions for a wide range of specific issues which impact quality of life for citizens’ including product and service quality, sustainability of resources, food security, energy efficiency, environment, worker safety, and a dependable business environment.
In the same way that the UN Sustainable Development Goals highlight a range of issues and topics which need to be addressed through positive action and ODA funding does not focus on a single set of issues, so the Holistic Framework does not focus on a single standard to be adopted by all Commonwealth countries.
International Standards play a fundamental role in trade, however they are not the panacea for all problems, nor are they solutions or remedy for all difficulties. No individual International Standard can address every trade and poverty issue of Commonwealth countries. Each represents a highly technical and focused solution to a specific problem or issue.
It is difficult to quantify the exact benefit of using an individual standard. This depends on a wide range of variables and is dependent both the situation they are used and the quality ecosphere in which they are implemented. Nonetheless, in depth studies have shown the benefits of the use of standards at the national level (see for example Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy. Cebr, 2015) and at the micro-level, studies have shown the benefits of groups of standards in companies across the Commonwealth (See for example Economic Benefits of Standard – International case studies. ISO, 2011).
In order to develop or adopt International Standards, there should be in place in each country a standardization and quality infrastructure which is able to address the priorities across the entire economy and social landscape. Each country should therefore ensure that its process is based on Good Standardization Practice such as transparency, openness, impartiality, efficiency, relevance and consistency and the development dimension. For more information on the development and adoption of International Standards, please see the CSN 'Toolkit' download.