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Guidance Material

White Papers

White paper is a guidance document which provides either a best practice view of a given topic or provides suggested ways forward without going to a formal recommended practice.

Name Description
White Paper Geofencing Facilities in Transport and Logistics

The purpose of this paper is to define the rules for these facilities and outline the methodology, providing consistency and a drive towards quality geofences that can be used and trusted by industry.

White Paper Technical Application of Business Standards for Sustainable Tourism

This White Paper offers guidance to governments for facilitating and promoting sustainable tourism in their constituencies taking into consideration work that has been produced by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) on Experience Programs. Aimed at producing definitions and guidelines on sustainable tourism, it provides elements upon which certification or labeling systems could be built.

White Paper on Transfer of Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records - Compliant Titles This white paper explains the key requirements laid out in the MLETR that an electronic record must satisfy to be an ETR so that its legal validity is preserved even when used across international borders through achieving the same legal effects as are achieved by use of its paper counterpart. These are the requirements of writing and signature, integrity, singularity, exclusive control to preclude double-spending, delivery and endorsement. The MLETR also provides for changes of medium where required.
White Paper on Single Window Assessment Methodology This white paper provides a practical tool for assessing and improving the implementation of Single Window mechanism, which is crucial for trade facilitation and reducing trade transactions costs. This methodology provides guidance and a structured approach for assessing the maturity level of a Single Window based on international recommendations and standards.
White Paper on Digital Product Conformity Certificate Exchange This white paper explores new possibilities that arise when framing the problem in terms of access to (rather than exchange of) conformity attestations. It also proposes the use of technology to link conformity attestations to physical product supply as a way to address existing problems. The paper also points to ways in which such framing may provide a natural structure for the future transition to fully digitalised systems, while noting that detailed exploration of such is outside the scope of this paper.
White Paper on the use of Artificial Intelligence in Trade Facilitation This white paper describes the ongoing technological revolution which brings new era of prospects where innovations and progress can fundamentally alter how we live and work together. Artificial intelligence (AI) belongs among the emerging and enabling technologies that have the potential to broadly impact and reshape the global economy and international trade across all its fields.
White Paper on eDATA Verifiable Credentials for Cross Border Trade This white paper describes a highly scalable operating model for digitisation and trust of cross border trade based on verifiable credentials, linked data, and decentralised identifiers. It provides national regulators with implementation guidance.
White Paper on encouraging Private Sector Participation in National Trade Facilitation Bodies This white paper evaluates practices and solutions to strengthen private sector participation in National Trade Facilitation Bodies (NTFBs) to make them more effective and to strengthen the impact of NTFB to trade facilitation reforms. Public-private dialogue is vital for trade facilitation as it ensures a service-centered approach and collaboration. NTFBs should therefore strive to get meaningful contribution and commitment from relevant private stakeholders.
White Paper on Open Finance to Support Trade Facilitation

This white paper investigates the economic paradigms of open banking and open finance in order to understand how they can back trade worldwide. It provides an overview of open banking in the European Union and in seven countries. In addition to defining fintech and open finance, the paper describes open finance use cases for trade facilitation and suggests ways forward for policy and decision-makers.

White Paper on IoT Standards for Trade Facilitation

IoT is a network that connects uniquely identifiable “things” or devices to the Internet. These devices have sensing capabilities and can, potentially, be programmed. This paper is therefore focuses on the role of UN/CEFACT standards can play in defining data and process flow between IoT devices operated by various parties as part of an international supply chain and how this data can be integrated into existing supply chain automation processes in an interoperable manner.

White Paper Overview of Blockchain for Trade Blockchain, which is one form of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), offers opportunities to increase the reliability and security of trade transactions. The repetition of data among multiple ledgers in a network, as well as the immutability of information after it has been integrated into the blockchain, can increase levels of confidence for both traders and regulators. 
White Paper on Technical Application of Blockchain to UN/CEFACT Deliverables Blockchain technology is one of the most talked about topics in the sphere of information technology as well as in the facilitation of electronic business. The cryptocurrency blockchain applications are well known and well-publicized, however, this technology has the potential to influence the way that we do business today, as its use expands to new areas.
White Paper on Integrated Track and Trace for Multimodal Transportation

This White Paper provides a high-level overview of integrated track and trace for multimodal transportation and attempts to bridge the gaps that exist in the identification schemes used to identify consignment movements and commercial systems.

White Paper on Smart Containers Smart Containers are taking the digital age of shipping one step further beyond paperless processes by embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) to support enhanced decision-making by the various sectoral stakeholders. This provides greater visibility to the stakeholders within the transaction as well as to regulatory agencies who need detailed information on the consignments before they arrive at the border. 
White Paper on MSMEs-ISMIT The paper goes through the challenges MSMEs face in international trade and explains how eServices platforms can provide solutions for transport, finance, border clearance and other in support of MSMEs
White Paper on Women in Trade Facilitation  Women face key challenges in international trade and participating in the facilitation of international trade. This White Paper takes an academic approach to identify these challenges and scans the literature for concrete measures to help rectify disadvantages or discriminations women might face.
White Paper on Data Pipeline Concept for Improving Data Quality in the Supply Chain  This paper provides a model for recuperating data at the source and thus attempt to improve data quality. It also explores the possible information that can be input or output from a Pipeline.
White Paper on Trusted Transboundary Environment  This document aims to provide guidance on establishing a mutual recognition framework between countries in view of ensuring the legal significance of information, when higher   levels of reliability are required or are desired.

Core Principles for Managing Risks and Contingencies in the Operation of a Systemically Important Single Window

As a Single Window is a single entry point for the submission/response between the private sector and the government, it represents an essential infrastructure for the national economy. Any disruption can negatively impact the economy. This White Paper examines those disruptions and provides base principles for dealing with them.

Technical Note on Terminology for Single Window and other electronic platforms This document provides the key elements for an official definition of Single Window, and proposes an alternative vocabulary for mechanisms that are similar in nature or function to Single Windows but do not satisfy all of the criteria of Recommendation N° 33. The objective is to create a controlled vocabulary in order to be clear about the scope and nature of any given mechanism.
White Paper on Reference Data Model Reference Data Model is a methodology to organize data into logical groupings, creating a subset of the larger UN/CEFACT Core Component Library. Such groupings encourage interoperability and accountability throughout the international supply chain.
White Paper on Paperless Trade This joint paper with the World Economic Forum seeks to provide an overview of the history and base principles of paperless trade. It brings support to the articles of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
Green Papers

Green Papers study a given topic and provide suggested ways forward or approaches. There is not yet a clear suggested way forward and the paper lays out multiple scenarios in view of eventually proposing a way forward through a White Paper or a Recommendation.

Name Description
Green Paper on Trade Finance as a tool for Trade Facilitation This paper articulates the linkages and complementarities of Trade Facilitation activities with the financing of international commerce under the broad array of Trade Finance and Supply Chain Finance solutions
Green Paper on Sustainable Tourism Experience Programs This paper on Sustainable Tourism aims to study how Experience Programs in tourism can be a catalyst to enhance local economies and promote decent employment at a micro-, rural level. According to the World Tourism Organization, international tourism in 2017 accounted for 1,340 billion USD of receipts, 55% of which represents leisure, recreation and holidays.

Guidelines provide technical assistance for implementing UN/CEFACT standards.

Name Description
Reference Guide on Code Lists and Identifiers in the Textile and Leather Value Chains This Reference Guide identifies and describes code lists and identification schemes supporting the business processes and transactions for traceability and transparency in the textile and leather value chains.
Guide to Drafting a National Trade Facilitation Roadmap This trade facilitation strategy provides a framework for national reform, defining the rationale, strategy, implementation and conditions. It can be used for a whole-of-government trade facilitation reform or to implement specific trade facilitation measures.
Reference Data Model (RDM) Guideline This guideline includes material that focuses on the business community doing further discovery and analysis work. Some of the contents of this guideline are not typical of this type of technical document. However, they are critical for successful adoption and standardization in this area to move forward.
Code Management User Guide This user guideline describes how to define and apply restrictions and extensions to code lists in UN/EDIFACT messages as well as UN/CEFACT XML messages. In addition, it describes example processes for validating those messages. The process could be done in one-phase, for which message structure and value constraints are validated simultaneously (so-called ‘coupled’) or in two-phases, for which these constraints are validated separately (so-called ‘decoupled’).
Message Construction Guidelines for Core Components Business Document Assembly (CCBDA) This guideline describes how to construct UN/CEFACT compliant XML messages according to Core Component Business Document Assembly Technical Specification (CCBDA)
Electronic SPS Certificate (e-CERT) This Implementation Guide describes and gives guidance to implementation of Electronic SPS Certificate (e-CERT), which is on the one hand HUB compliant and on the other hand still facilitates bilateral exchange. The aim is to facilitate a standardized implementation in countries which wish to implement e-Certification for SPS certificates.
Executive Guides

Executive Guides are developed in order to provide a high-level overview in a single page of a given UN/CEFACT deliverable. They are meant to give a quick overview and explain where to find further information on the topic.

Name Description
Smart Connectivity This guide outlines the importance of common standards and common procedures in the cross-border exchange of trade related information.
Transboundary Movement of Waste This guide highlights the electronic messages created by UN/CEFACT which can be used for the exchange of information related to the Basel Convention on transboundary movement of waste.
Smart Containers This guide explains the functioning and advantages of using smart devices on transport equipment in order to communicate status, improve security awareness, enhance product quality controls and improve compliance.


e-CMR  This guide explains the general background of the e-CMR (electronic consignment note), the UN/CEFACT e-CMR standard and how this can be used to improve the exchange of data.
UN/LOCODE  This guide aims to help governments, government agencies, industries and private companies to understand better how the UN/LOCODE codification system and how this can be used to improve the exchange of data. 
eInvoicing / Cross Industry Invoice  This guide aims to help governments, government agencies, industries and private companies to understand better how the UN/CEFACT CII e-Invoicing standard can be used to improve the exchange of data. 
UN/EDIFACT One of the cornerstone of UN/CEFACT standards, UN/EDIFACT provides a centrally maintained and controlled syntax that has been stable since the 1980s.
Core Component Library and Core Component Technical Specification This is one of the bases of UN/CEFACT’s role as semantic hub in the international standardization community. CCL is an encyclopedia of all information which is pertinent in international trade.
Small Scaled Lodging House Information Process Tourism is a major economic sector for many countries around the world. This standard helps smaller lodging facilities to promote their national tourism and diversify their tourism market.
IMO FAL The IMO FAL declarations are obligatory for all maritime vessels entering ports. UN/CEFACT has worked closely with the IMO and other standards organizations to provide a clear standard for the electronic exchange of these requirements, based on its Multi-Modal Transport Reference Data Model (MMT RDM).
Reference Data Models UN/CEFACT RDMs facilitate the use of international standards by packaging the information by the sector of activity. They provide the basic semantic library of all information and code lists necessary for data exchange in each sector.
eCommerce Electronic Commerce – transactions between buyer and seller initiated on an online platform. Many of UN/CEFACT’s existing standards can apply to this business process as outlined in this short guide.
Streamlining Formalities and Documentary Requirements This guide aims to explain the basis of streamlining formalities and documentary procedures related to the import, export and transit of goods. The goal is to assist governments to identify redundant information and to apply data harmonization and standardization tools and techniques to simplify these formalities.
Briefing Notes

The UNECE secretariat prepared a number of briefing points on key issues related to either UN/CEFACT deliverables or Trade Facilitation issues.

Name Description
Briefing note on the importance of Semantics within Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business for SDG 17 This briefing note discusses the importance of clear semantic data-exchange standards and how this supports both WTO TFA as well as the United Nations SDGs. UN/CEFACT aims to be the semantic hub for all trade-related data-exchange standards.
Briefing note on sustainable textile value chains in the garment and footwear domain for SDG12 This paper explores how traceability and transparency of value chains can help advance the sustainability of the garment and footwear sector.
Transparency in textile value chains in relation to the environmental, social and human health impacts of parts, components and production processes This paper identifies basic principles, possible solutions, and provides recommendations for an international framework initiative on transparency and traceability for sustainability patterns in the clothing sector.
Briefing note on United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Contributions to UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption This briefing note discusses why decoupling economic development from environmental degradation and ensuring fair progress through more responsible production patterns and consumption practices, is essential for green and inclusive economic development.
Briefing note on Blockchain for SDG This briefing note discusses the possible contributions that blockchain, an emerging innovative technology, is making or could make to advance the achievement of the SDGs.
Briefing note on the contribution of UN/CEFACT to UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls This briefing note discusses why gender matters for trade and how the integration of the gender dimension into trade facilitation can help attain Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5.
Briefing note on the contribution of UN/CEFACT to UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 This briefing note provides an insight into how UN/CEFACT’s work to develop a standard for the exchange of fishery messages for the sustainable management of fisheries (FLUX) contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 14.
Background paper: facilitating trade to feed the world Through its contribution to trade facilitation and supply chain optimisation,  UN/CEFACT makes international and national logistics more efficient and cost-effective. As a result, the food produced is more likely to reach the market in good condition, be consumed and is less likely to be wasted.

These brochures are aimed to provide general information on UN/CEFACT and its work.


Last update date: July 16, 2024