GENEVA-The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), developer of international standards, has achieved a membership record that now comprises the national standards institutes of 160 countries.

Four new members from West Africa have enabled ISO to set the new record:

• Gambia Standards Focal Point (GAMSFP)

• Liberia Division of Standards (LDS)

• Direction de la Normalisation et de la Promotion de la Qualité (DNPQ) of Mauritania

• Sierre Leone Standards Bureau (SLSB)

ISO’s network of national members covers all regions of the world and includes 122 developing economies. The four new members of ISO are “correspondent members,” a category for countries that do not yet have a fully developed national standards activity.

ISO Secretary-General Rob Steele says, “It’s significant that even in these times of global financial crisis, the ISO family is growing. The benefits that ISO standards can deliver to business, government and society as a whole are increasingly recognized. Through membership of ISO, countries can contribute to and influence the standards that are most important to their economies and receive early warning of forthcoming standards.

“Naturally, with a majority of ISO’s members coming from developing countries, we have a strategic objective of assisting them to use standardization as a lever for economic development, trading capacity and support for consumer, social and environmental protection.”