Note: ISO is often wrongly called as International Standards Organization. This is wrong. It is not an abbreviation. This is a word from Latin meaning Equal. The background goes that ISO is a multi Language organization. to avoid confusion between languages, the Latin word is chose. Irrespective of Language, the name of the organization is ISO.
The Headquarters of this organization is located Geneva, Switzerland. It is not a Government Organization. It is a association of 160 national Standards Organizations and they are called as “member bodies”. Though ISO is non governmental, Its members may be part of their National Government. The most representative organization of the country is chosen as a member of the organization, and only one from each country can become a member. See the list of members Here.
There are other members called as Correspondent Members and Subscriber Members.
The role of ISO is limited to specify the requirements for products, Services, good conformity assessment, Managerial and organizational practices. ISO is not involved in certification nor has any control over the certification business.
The standards developed by ISO are designed to be implemented worldwide.
The most popular of ISO Standards are ISO 9000 Family on Quality Management Systems and ISO 14000 Family on Environmental Management Systems.
ISO 9000 forms basis for many other industry specific Standards like TS16949 for automobile Industry, ISO 17025 for Laboratories and AS 9100 for Aviation Industry.
These are few examples of industry specific Standards only.
Also ISO has provided standards for Various Processes too. There are specific Standards for processes such as Risk Management, Configuration management Etc.