ITU guidelines on establishing a national standardization secretariat

ITU-T has launched a set of guidelines for developing countries to establish a ‘national standardization secretariat’ charged with marshaling ICT standardization domestically and representing a country’s interests in the international standardization work of ITU-T.

The “Guidelines on the establishment of a National Standardization Secretariat (NSS) for ITU-T”, which are currently undergoing translation into the six official languages of the Union, respond to the extended mandate given by the revised WTSA Resolution 44 – Bridging the standardization gap between developing and developed countries.

The Guidelines present a step-by-step roadmap to the establishment of a NSS, spanning from the determination of the legal basis of the entity responsible for its management to best practices in the analysis of resource requirements and the creation of national-level standardization expert groups. Guidance is also offered on the responsibilities, leadership, membership and working methods of each committee or expert group comprising an efficient NSS.

The Guidelines demonstrate the viability of establishing an effective NSS with access to limited resources by outlining a three-tier model of participation in the work of ITU-T:

  • At the “NSS-General Level”, a country concentrates on high-level ITU-T activities including the World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA) and the Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG).  This level of participation accommodates involvement in a limited number of ITU-T Study Groups through the formation of Ad hoc Groups as necessary.
  • A country participating at the “NSS-General Level” can progress to the “NSS-Study Group Level” through the formation of additional expert groups to engage with the work of specific ITU-T Study Groups.
  • A country having bolstered its standardization capacity through continued engagement with ITU-T will eventually reach the “NSS-Full Sector Level”, at which they will be actively involved in close to all ITU-T Study Groups. This degree of participation would necessarily demand investment in additional secretariat support functions, including the maintenance of a website and document archival system, and countries would also be encouraged to form national expert groups corresponding to the fields tackled by ITU-T Study Groups.

An Annex to the Guidelines contains further practical information on the operation a NSS and can also be found on the Bridging the Standardization Gap (BSG) website here…

For more information on ITU-T’s BSG programme and NSS guidelines, please contact Venkatesen Mauree, BSG Programme Coordinator, at

ITU’s BSG programme aims to address the disparity between the standardization capacities of developed and developing countries, with the goal of aiding development through standardization’s ability to expand markets, increase quality and decrease costs through heightened trade and technology transfer.

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