UNECE, through its Center for Trade Facilitation and electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) develops international standards for electronic information exchange and the implementation of efficient trade control procedures.
In the area of agriculture and wildlife trade governments control the exchange of animals, plants and other agricultural products through the issuance and exchange of licenses, permits and certificates (LPCs). These documents and the underlying controls ensure the legality of trade and aim to prevent illegal trade and the transmission of pests and diseases which can be transmitted from animals to humans (zoonosis).
Currently these documents are mainly issued and exchange in paper format. However, information in a physical format is slow and paper documents are very vulnerable to fraudulent use. Criminals find ample opportunities to alter or forge documents, thus preventing efficient implementation of sanitary and phytosanitary controls thus exposing the population of entire countries to risks of new diseases.
To strengthen controls Governments have looked for high-tech protection mechanisms and are now starting to implement UN/CEFCAT advanced agriculture eBusiness standards which allow electronic information exchange and control mechanisms to protect their citizens and economies from illegal trade and the transmission of dangerous diseases.
For further information see policy brief on UNECE instruments to improve control of agriculture and bio-trade.