An Interconnected World
In my time at ASTM International, I’ve been impressed with the breadth and diversity of ASTM’s global outreach efforts, especially in recent years. The ability of our organization to connect with key stakeholders and partners throughout the world, in a manner that’s most effective for them, is particularly empowering. Each year we see the fruits of these labors as we adapt to new challenges and work to continuously expand ASTM’s global footprint.
That diversity of offerings has been particularly important over the past 18 months as the COVID-19 pandemic presented roadblocks to the many traditional avenues for global outreach. In lieu of face-to-face trainings, ASTM’s global cooperation team expanded its virtual training sessions, which have attracted more than 1,400 representatives from over 80 nations, including Austria, Guatemala, and Zambia, to name a few.
The continued growth of our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Program, unaffected by the lack of international travel, has bolstered our global footprint with national standards bodies and helped to advance our mission worldwide. Recent MoU agreements include standards bodies in Algeria, Burkina Faso, Libya, and New Zealand, bringing our total to 118.
To support the capacity-building needs of our MoU partners, we also offer online training courses designed to strengthen knowledge of the ASTM standards-development process, share best practices for communication and stakeholder outreach, and much more. 2021 opportunities have included training with Brazil, Jordan, Malawi, Sri Lanka, and many others.
In addition to those offerings, we’ve also been able to seek out and identify key international partnerships. Sectoral partnerships include the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) on the topics of water sanitation and hygiene in southeast Asia; the Indian Rubber Manufacturers Research Association (IRMRA) on rubber technology and testing in India; and ASD-STAN on cooperation in the development of European and global aerospace standards. For more on ASTM’s international partnerships, visit page 42.
This spring, our Brussels office staff and members of the global policy team met virtually with representatives of six European industry associations to discuss current industry concerns about the interaction of European Union legislation with regional and international standardization. During these constructive exchanges, our team also explained ASTM International’s openness to collaborate where possible, to pursue technical coherence and alignment in order to minimize duplication, and to deliver market-relevant solutions to our stakeholders and common members in a timely manner.
Beyond the expansion of ASTM’s global footprint, these efforts have lasting and tangible effects. In recent years, we’ve seen a steady increase in global participation on our technical committees. In 2020, we saw growth of nearly 4%, with strong European and Middle Eastern participation driven by the launch of ASTM’s UAE (United Arab Emirates) Chapter and interest in emerging industries such as exoskeletons, advanced manufacturing, and more. We’re also looking forward to opening the Asia-Pacific regional office, where we can conduct strategic outreach on a local level.
The world is more connected today than it has ever been, and ASTM International is well-positioned to serve as a collaborator and partner with stakeholders around the globe. We have the tools and infrastructure to empower others while supporting our mission of helping our world work better. And we know that our standards development process is most effective when we have globally diverse and equitable representation on our technical committees. ■
Katharine E. Morgan
President, ASTM International