ISO/TC 207 N419
June 17, 2000

NGO Contact Group Summary Report
to the ISO/TC207 CAG

On 13 & 17 June 2000 members of the CAG NGO Contact Group met with representatives of the NGO community and ISO/TC 207 member bodies. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss issues of concern to the NGO community and to develop concrete proposals to address these issues.

The NGOs recognize and appreciate the importance of the work being undertaken by ISO/TC 207 and they believe they can add value to ISO/TC 207's work. The inclusion of NGOs in the standards development process improves the effectiveness of the ISO 14000 series standards in achieving their intended purposes and it improves the credibility of these standards in the eyes of external stakeholders. More effective NGO representation in the ISO/TC 207 standards development activities can only broaden the value, usefulness and acceptance of these standards for all users.

However, during these meetings NGOs expressed serious concerns about not having an effective voice and the capacity to adequately represent their views. See the accompanying NGO Contact Group Discussion paper.

As a result of these two productive meetings with the public interest organizations, it is recommended to ISO/TC 207 that an ISO/TC 207 NGO Task Group be formed as detailed below. The NGO Contact Group was formed to investigate and have dialogue on NGO concerns. It is now important to build on this preliminary research.

Furthermore, it is also recommended that the ISO/TC 207 Chair invite NGO Task Group to report to the ISO/TC 207 CAG on specific items of interest and concern, and that the Chair of the proposed NGO Task Group perform this reporting function. The ISO/TC 207 CAG serves a useful function to provide leadership guidance that facilitates the successful administration of ISO/TC 207 and its business at and between the annual meetings. In addition to providing the mechanism for reporting to the ISO/TC 207 CAG on the activities of the proposed NGO Task Group, the presence of an NGO representative can add value by providing:

  • constructive advice that conveys the general views of NGOs;
  • information on activities of NGOs in conjunction with businesses, governments, and communities; and
  • information on other NGO-related trends external to the ISO/TC 207 standards development process.
The ability of an NGO representative to advise the ISO/TC 207 CAG will send a clear message to the public interest community that the ISO/TC 207 leadership values dialogue with and input from this community.

ISO/TC 207 should form an NGO Task Group under the following terms and with the following deliverables:


The complex issues relating to more effective NGO participation in ISO/TC 207 work and the realization of the specific deliverables listed below will require more support and effort than can currently be provided by the three ISO/TC 207 Contact Group members. An expanded participation that includes national member bodies will also be required in these efforts for longer-term solutions.

Terms of reference and deliverables:

  • Addressing resource impediments to effective NGO participation.
    Advice on the development of a mechanism that obtains and sustains funding to support NGO participation in the work of ISO/TC 207 at the international and national levels. The mechanism to collect the funds will be implemented by and the funds will be administered within the NGO community, not by the ISO/TC 207 NGO Task Group or by ISO/TC 207.

  • Addressing structural/procedural limitations to effective NGO participation.
    Development of a paper that identifies whether the procedures and practices of ISO and/or ISO/TC 207 can enable or may limit effective NGO participation, and report back to ISO/TC 207. This paper should seek to identify best practices.

  • Establishing an interface with the broader NGO community and enhancing communication, education and coordination within the NGO community (both internal and external to ISO/TC 207) on the work of ISO/TC 207.
    An information product on the work of ISO/TC 207 with accompanying text regarding the NGO perspective and concerns about the work of ISO/TC 207. Also, outreach will take place in the form of website content and workshops/seminars targeted for an NGO audience.


The NGO Task Force will accomplish the terms of reference and deliverables listed above in a two-year time period starting on September 1, 2000. Between June 18, 2000 and September 1, 2000, the initial administrative organization of the NGO Task Group is expected to be completed. ISO/TC 207 will decide at the June 2001 ISO/TC 207 plenary whether to continue the existence of the NGO Task Group based on an evaluation of the value of this group and/or whether there is additional work to accomplish.

Chair and Secretary:

The Chair of the NGO Task Group will be an NGO representative who has ongoing participation in ISO/TC 207 through an ISO member body or international liaison organization. The individual to serve in this role will be chosen by the NGO members of the Task Group (see Membership below).

NGOs attending this ISO/TC 207 meeting have agreed to the formation of the NGO Task Group and have recommended that the Task Group be chaired by Jason Morrison of the Pacific Institute.

The Secretary of the NGO Task Group will be provided by one of the ISO member bodies on the NGO Task Group (see Membership below) that is willing to provide this support. Standards Australia has offered to serve as the Secretary of the NGO Task Group and other national member bodies are invited to express interest.

The Chair and Secretary will serve for the term detailed under Timeframe above and may be replaced if necessary.


The NGO Task group will consist of:

  • Any NGO representatives participating in ISO/TC 207 through an ISO member body or international liaison organization who will participate on the Task Group as representatives of their NGO. In order to ensure that NGO participation is internationally representative, the NGO participants should ideally represent a range of geographic regions and both developed and developing countries and countries in transition.

  • Representatives of ISO/TC 207 member bodies, interested in fostering NGO participation. The member bodies participating should ideally represent a range of geographic regions and both developed and developing countries and countries in transition.

  • Representatives of the ISO/TC 207 CAG to serve as necessary in an advisory capacity, and Dorothy Bowers, Steven Cornish, Bill Dee, John Henry and Dick Hortensius are willing to provide this advisory support.


The NGO Task Group will meet at the June 2001 and 2002 ISO/TC 207 meetings, but it is expected that the NGO Task Group will conduct much of its business by e-mail correspondence.