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The main deliverables of WP.6 follow a three-step development process of inception, development and finalization. These are described in the Working Procedures for the UNECE Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies. The inception and development documents are shared among experts participating in the project itself, under the general intellectual property rights policy annexed to the Revised Terms of Reference in document ECE/CTCS/WP.6/2022/11.

The main part of the finalization process is a public review where any expert may provide comments using a pre-defined template.

Public Review

When project teams have finalized their initial drafts, they will be posted for public review in this section for a period of about thirty days. The projects currently in public review follow.

There are no projects currently under public review.

MARS Project: Revision of Recommendation K

Project launch date: 2 January 2023
Public Review performed: 15 May to 16 June 2023
Expected completion date: 31 July 2023
Project leader: Andy Henson

Project purpose:
Recommendation K was written in 1998 and last revised in 2008. Since the last revision, the language no longer aligns with best practice (nor that used in the relevant documentary standards), and the document does not address tools like the OIML CS and CIPM MRA which are available specifically to facilitate regulatory cooperation and avoid trade barrier issues.

This activity is explicitly listed in the Programme of Work 2023 in paragraph 10c: “Review for possible updates the Recommendation K on Metrological Assurance of Conformity Assessment and testing.”

Project scope:
Update Recommendation K with minor adjustments in order to modernize the language to align with current working methods. Update terms and references. Develop a brief guideline to demonstrate how implementers can comply with the recommended practices.

MARS Project: Revision of Recommendation M

Project launch date: 14 August 2023
Expected completion date: 15 October 2023
Project leader: Vera Despotovic

Project purpose:
Recommendation M was written in 2007 and suggests to governments to explore the possibility, wherever feasible and where the national legal framework permits, to involve their market surveillance authorities in the fight against counterfeit goods – in a complementary way to existing national legal mechanisms. A conference on the topic was organized on 21 February 2023 to explore the continued pertinence of this recommendation, returns on experience and what should be included in an eventual revision. The experts confirmed the relevance of Recommendation M today and noted a few points that could beneficially be updated:

  • reflecting the reference to the updated United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection in 2015 in recommendation text;
  • consider other relevant UN and European Union documents on strengthening rules for the control of restrictive business practices and
  • introducing more assertive and action-oriented language to the recommendation text.

This activity is explicitly listed in the Programme of Work 2023 in paragraph 12(a): “Review for possible updates the Recommendation M on Use of Market Surveillance Infrastructure as a Complementary Means to Protect Consumers and Users against Counterfeit Goods and plan for guidelines on implementation of this recommendation. A webinar on counterfeit products could also be planned in support of this ”

Project scope:

Update Recommendation M with minor adjustments in order to align with UN General Assembly and UNCTAD updated guidance on consumer protection and other relevant UN and European Union references. Integrate a more assertive and action-oriented language.

Develop a brief guideline to demonstrate how implementers can comply with the recommended practices.

GRM Project: Integrated risk management in Single Window systems

Project launch date: scheduled 15 February 2023
Expected completion date: 31 May 2024
Project leader: Valentin Nikonov

Project purpose:
GRM has developed a series of recommendations on risk management. Recommendation R on Managing Risk in Regulatory Frameworks underlines the importance of ensuring safety without stifling growth and to avoid the two extremes of over- or under-regulation. This recommendation also sets out the basic principles of risk analysis and management. Recommendation S on Applying Predictive Risk Management Tools for Targeted Market Surveillance suggests setting priorities in market surveillance based on the consequence of non-compliance and the probability of finding a non-compliant product.

Recommendation V on Addressing Product Non-Compliance Risks in International Trade proposes to optimize border compliance time and costs while maintaining regulatory requirements through an integrated risk management of product regulators and customs. These requirements support safety measures, sanitary-phytosanitary measures, public health measures, or economic safeguarding measures, for example. This would be in contrast to each individual agency establishing their own risk management system.

A Single Window as defined by UN/CEFACT in its Recommendation 33 on Establishing a Single Window is a facility that allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardized information and documents with a single-entry point to fulfil all import, export, and transit-related requirements. It should effectively coordinate all border agencies including product regulators and customs. Recommendation 33 advises that it can be an integrated system where the data is processed by the single-entry point, or it can be an interfaced system (decentralized) where the data is sent through the single-entry point to each agency for processing or a combination of the two.

In either of the two models proposed by UN/CEFACT Recommendation 33, it is important to apply the principles of WP.6-GRM Recommendation V to ensure that there is not unnecessary delays caused by uncoordinated risk management.

This project was proposed by the WP.6-GRM to the UN/CEFACT Single Window Domain in September 2021 and has since been integrated into the Programme of Work of WP.6 under the 2023 paragraph 14.c.

Project scope:
This project will develop a White Paper guideline to describe the best practices of coordinated risk management among multiple government agencies through a Single Window. It will be a practical example of applying the principles of WP.6 GRM Recommendation V (and preceding recommendations) to the principles of the UN/CEFACT developed Recommendation 33 (and subsequent SW recommendations). It is planned to be developed in close collaboration with the experts of the UN/CEFACT Single Window Domain and eventually proposed as a joint WP.6 - UN/CEFACT deliverable.

GRS Project: Gender and Salutation Code Lists

Project launch date: scheduled 14 February 2023
Public Review performed: 17 April to 19 May 2023
Expected completion date: 31 August 2023
Project leader: Fernanda de Castro Boria

Project purpose:
We are often asked to fill out administrative forms or commercial forms where we must indicate gender and salutation. These are often limited (for gender for example) to male, female or other (sometimes instead of other, it is “non-binary”). This does not reflect the diversity which exists in society today. There are two factors to take into account: biological sex and the social construct of sexual identity. Some organizations maintain a binary only approach while there are some organizations which list over a hundred different options, some of which are not always well understood.

The Gender-Responsive Standards work of UNECE WP.6 has been raising awareness of how gender considerations are often lacking in standards and causing a negative impact – often unintentionally – on women and girls. It has defined gender as a social construct which is not solely defined by biology. With this understanding, there are a number of minorities, notably of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community who also experience negative impacts of traditional standards.

The Team of Specialists on Gender-Responsive Standards is in a unique position to provide a place to share on this issue in light of article 16.e of its 2023 Programme of Work.

Project scope:
This project would develop a White Paper Guideline to address the different code lists linked to gender and salutations. After developing the different types of code lists that could / should exist, it will list the proposed entries with brief definitions.

These code lists could then be taken into consideration by other standards bodies for integration into their own work (such as the ISO 5218 code list or the UN/EDIFACT code list 3499 in the Person Demographic Information segment). Currently, there only seems to be a single code list on biological gender, so it is expected to have a proposal for gender identity and salutations. It is possible that a proposal for a gender identity code list would be difficult to create as this is something which is still evolving, in which case, it might be proposed to identify the most common entries and advise to always allow for a free-text entry so that individual may self-define as well.

Other organizations such as UN/CEFACT, UN Free and Equal, UN Women and others would be invited to join this work.

Regulatory compliance of products with embedded artificial intelligence or other digital technologies

Project launch date: 1 February 2023
Public Review of White Paper performed: 6 June to 10 July 2023
Expected completion date: 31 March 2024
Project leader: Markus Krebsz

Project purpose:

In addition to WP.6 key areas of work (market surveillance, risk management, gender-responsive standards, education standards, regulatory cooperation, and standardization) and mindful of increased complexity due to digital innovations as well as a changing regulatory landscape, WP.6 is looking to develop new guidance on digital and green transformations and their relevance for quality infrastructure for trade.
This also supports the UNECE 70th Commission session (April 2023) proposed theme “Digital and green transformations for sustainable development in the ECE region.” This further supports Decision 16 of the 32nd Session of WP.6 to explore the link between quality infrastructure and the 70th session theme.
Given how quickly technical regulations for innovative products such as those using artificial intelligence become outdated, a rethink concerning current compliance models is required.

This project acknowledges the need to facilitate efficient innovation and sustainable digital transition and work that addresses Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other aspects of digitalization (e.g. Internet-of-things, connected devices, neurotechnology and robotics) in technical regulation and international regulatory cooperation.
This project is covered under the WP.6 Programme of Work for 2023 under paragraphs 6 and 7.

Project scope:

This project proposes to develop a “Recommendation on compliance of products with integrated artificial intelligence and other digital technologies” with guidance for effective technical regulation, regulatory impact assessment and international regulatory cooperation.
This project will concentrate on the compliance of products which integrate technologies such as artificial intelligence. For this reason, it concerns all four subgroups of WP.6 (MARS, GRM, GRS and START); it is therefore proposed to be monitored directly by the WP.6 Bureau and open to the expertise of all four subgroups. This project will not be developing how artificial intelligence and other technologies can be used by administrations in their regulatory processes.

This project proposes to:

  • Formulate a clear definition of artificial intelligence within a product context, and considering eventual variations/deviations thereof
  • Articulate a clear definition of software embedded into products, and considering eventual variations/deviations thereof
  • Give consideration of the whole product life cycle in digital regulation (continuous compliance) incl. for example
    • Risk management
    • Standards
    • Conformity assessment
    • Market surveillance
    • Metrology
  • Provide guidance on how to balance the multitude of various legitimate regulatory objectives (e.g., cybersecurity, product safety, resilience, privacy) and the fast-moving nature of digital innovation (acknowledging that the former has the potential to stifle the latter)
  • Highlight and address the need for cross-sectoral regulatory impact assessments considering horizontal digital frameworks coinciding with sector-specific technical regulation

The project acknowledges that functional features and characteristics of embedded digital technologies pose a greater challenge with additional demands on traceability and validation in regulatory compliance.