The IEC charter embraces all electrotechnologies including energy production and distribution, electronics, magnetics and electromagnetics, electroacoustics, multimedia and telecommunication, as well as associated general disciplines such as terminology and symbols, electromagnetic compatibility (by its Advisory Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility -ACEC-), measurement and performance, dependability, design and development, safety and the environment.
Today, the IEC is the world's leading international organization in its field, and its standards are adopted as national standards by its members. The work is done by some 10 000 electrical and electronics experts from industry, government, academia, test labs and others with an interest in the subject.
The IEC was instrumental in developing and distributing standards for units of measurement, particularly the gauss, hertz, and weber. They also first proposed a system of standards, the Giorgi System, which ultimately became the SI, or Système International d’unités (in English, the International System of Units).
In 1938, it published a multilingual international vocabulary to unify electrical terminology. This effort continues, and the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary remains an important work in the electrical and electronic industries.
The CISPR (Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques) – in English, the International Special Committee on Radio Interference – is one of the groups founded by the IEC.
IEC standards have numbers in the range 60000–79999 and their titles take a form such as IEC 60417: Graphical symbols for use on equipment. The numbers of older IEC standards were converted in 1997 by adding 60000, for example IEC 27 became IEC 60027.
The IEC cooperates closely with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In addition, it works with several major standards development organizations, including the IEEE with which it signed a cooperation agreement in 2002, which was amended in 2008 to include joint development work.
Standards developed jointly with ISO such as ISO/IEC 26300, Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 carry the acronym of both organizations. The use of the ISO/IEC prefix covers publications from ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 on Information Technology, as well as conformity assessment standards developed by ISO CASCO. Other standards developed in cooperation between IEC and ISO are assigned numbers in the 80000 series, such as IEC 82045-1.
Member countries include:
In 2001 and in response to calls from the WTO to open itself to more developing nations, the IEC launched the Affiliate Country Programme to encourage developing nations to become involved in the Commission's work and/or to use its International Standards. Countries signing a pledge to participate in the work and to encourage the use of IEC Standards in national standards and regulations are granted access to a limited number of technical committee documents for the purposes of commenting. In addition, they can select a limited number of IEC Standards for their national standards' library. Countries participating in the Affiliate Country Programme include:
Technical Committee Webpages
IEC Standards and tools in database format
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