Global ISO Meeting of the Cookstoves Community Yields Important Progress on Standards
Delegates to the first meeting of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 285 (TC 285) on Clean Cookstoves and Clean Cooking Solutions have returned from Nairobi, Kenya after an unprecedented meeting to develop standards for clean cooking solutions. The delegates built on the significant progress over the last few years on developing international guidelines and formalized a roadmap for standards and guidelines that are needed to support innovation and growth in our sector. The recent meeting was unparalleled within the ISO world – even at this first meeting, there were over 70 delegates from 19 countries, with significant representation and active participation from developing countries, including the Kenya Bureau of Standards as co-secretariats of the meeting with the American National Standards Institute.
Delegates discussed the need for standards in the areas of laboratory and field testing, durability, social impacts, use, acceptability, and fuels. After a week of discussions, the delegates agreed to move forward on several projects to develop standards, methodologies, and guidelines that will be the focus of our efforts over the coming months and years. These outcomes were established through a consensus process which ensures that the eventual results will address critical needs and be more easily adopted.
These groups, following final approval by TC 285, are planned:
• A Task Force on evaluating existing standards for fuels for relevance and gaps;
• A Working Group on improvements to and mapping of existing lab protocols, including durability and developing requirements for testing;
• A Working Group to develop an overarching approach for testing, common metrics, and definitions;
• A Working Group to provide guidance on suitable field testing methods; and
• A Working Group on guidelines for social impact assessment.
The delegates also agreed that tools and methods for evaluating use, acceptability, and adoption are critical and TC 285 will be monitoring ongoing work in this area and identifying opportunities for collaboration among the various stakeholders.
As the chairperson of TC 285, I was inspired to see so many countries working together and planning for future collaborations. Standards are incredibly important, but it is also challenging to get different countries and different types of organizations aligned. Thanks to all the delegates, who were so focused on finding areas of mutual interest and agreement, and who demonstrated what can be achieved when the strength and expertise of the clean cooking sector comes together. We look forward to more organizations and countries joining in!
Photo credit: Kenya Bureau of Standards