Our May WebDebate will focus on the topic of standardisation and will ask the question of whether standards offer practical solutions for strained negotiations or represent an arena for realpolitik?
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A standard is an agreed way of doing something, like producing a product or performing a process. Standards have an impact on our daily lives. For example, the A4 paper we use in our printers is standardised, which is why they do not jam. The Internet also depends on standards. Technical standards and services form the infrastructure that makes the Internet work, The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), the domain name system (DNS), and the secure sockets layer (SSL) are example of these standards. They ensure that hardware and software can work together as seamlessly as possible.
A previous webinar on Standardisation – The Key to Unlock the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focused on highlighting the importance of standards, distinguishing them from regulations, illustrating the process of making them, and pointing to their instrumental role in achieving the SDGs. We will build on this first webinar and deepen our reflections on standards by looking at a number of cases including such diverse topics as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Internet.
This WebDebate focuses on questions of politics and diplomacy behind the standards. On the one hand, standards offer practical solutions for strained negotiations and are crucial in ensuring the smooth running of our lives. From this perspective standards seem like a practical necessity that are guided by the need to make processes smooth and ensuring compatibility. On the other hand, the setting of standards can be a highly political undertaking that needs to mediate between various interests and might benefit some actors to the detriment of others.
In order to discuss this, we are joined by Mrs Lorenza Jachia, Secretary to the UNECE Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies, who will draw on years of rich experience with standards.
If you form part of a dynamic circle of practitioners in your community, we encourage you to establish a diplomatic hub to follow the WebDebates and to facilitate discussions. For more information, contact Ms Mina Mudric, DiploFoundation.