DEVCO leads ISO’s work on developing countries. DEVCO supports developing countries in standardization matters by identifying needs and recommends actions to help meet them, for example through technical assistance and training. Technical assistance and training focuses on many subjects including the role of standards in economic development, standards development, conformity assessment and ICT support.

What DEVCO does

DEVCO has four main objectives:

  • To identify the needs and requirements of developing countries in the field of standardization and matters related to national quality infrastructure (NQI) and assist, as necessary, in defining these needs and requirements.
  • To recommend actions to assist the developing countries in meeting these needs and requirements.
  • Makes recommendations to ISO Council for the ISO Action Plan for developing countries and monitors its implementation.
  • To provide a forum for the discussion of all aspects of standardization and related activities, and for the exchange of experience among developed and developing countries.


DEVCO is based at the ISO Central Secretariat in Geneva


How DEVCO works

ISO's efforts to assist developing countries are integrated into a five year action plan, the implementation of which is monitored by DEVCO.

DEVCO meets annually to review needs and assess progress. It holds break-out sessions in conjunction with the annual meeting to address subjects of particular interest to developing countries. Past sessions have focused on topics such as standardization as a component of the national quality infrastructure, enhancing developing country participation in the standardization process and regional cooperation in standardization and related matters.

The DEVCO Chair's Advisory Group (CAG) meets twice a year and assists DEVCO in monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan for developing countries. The CAG consist of eleven members, eight members from a developing country and three from a developed country.

In all these activities, DEVCO works closely with other ISO policy committees (COPOLCO - dealing with consumer matters and CASCO - dealing with conformity assessment), the Technical Management Board (TMB - governs all technical work), as well as with specialized agencies of the United Nations and with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

ISO's Action Plan maps out how ISO aims to contribute to improving developing countries' economic growth and access to world markets and helping to achieve sustainable development.

DEVCO Publications

Building an infrastructure for sustainable development
A brochure covering all aspects of conformity assessment and its role in international trade.
This brochure offers delegates and experts a quick reference to the ISO system and its processes.