The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) is a subsidiary, intergovernmental body of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) which serves as a focal point within the United Nations Economic and Social Council for trade facilitation recommendations and electronic business standards. It has global membership and its members are experts from intergovernmental organizations, individual countries' authorities and also from the business community.
UN/CEFACT is the home for International Standards relating to trade facilitation and business, the member base consists of experts from around the world who come together to collaborate on open and free to use standards that are in use for many of the business processes or documents that you use today.
UN/CEFACT is split into a number of business domains, namely:
- Accounting and Audit
- Agriculture Fisheries and Agri Food
- Code List Focal Point
- Cross Border Management
- eData Management
- Environmental Management
- Finance and Payment
- Health and Insurance
- Libraries and Schema Focal Point
- Single Window
- Specification (Methodologies)
- Supply Chain and Procurement Domain
- Syntax Focal Point
- Team of Specialists on Sustainable Fisheries
- Trade Procedures Facilitation
- Transport and Logistics
- Travel and Tourism
- UN/LOCODE Advisory Group
- Validation Focal Point
This separation allows you as a newcomer to identify the right area of interest for your needs, there maybe multiple domains of interest to you and your work, and in each you will find a group of experts willing to collaborate and discuss industry related topics and standards.
We will focus our attention in this document around the transport and logistics domain to enable you to get started with ease.
UN/CEFACT publish their standards on the website, this can be found at:
It contains a streamlined page of standards and recommendations for each domain and also the general standards to support each domain. If your looking for something in particular it can be found on this website.
The publications will vary, some are PDF documents these are usually for the White Papers, Business Requirement Specification (BRS) or guidelines. Others are contained within a ZIP file this gives you all of the required files for implementing that standard such as XSD schemas, UML diagrams or XLS versions of the outputs.
UN/CEFACT are also working on JSON-LD (Linked Data) and Open API sepcifications for some of their standards and for making the vocabulary easily assessable in various tools as default.
Participating in the development of new or existing standards within UN/CEFACT is much easier than you would think, there are a few simple steps to follow and you can reach out to the domain co-ordinatator for further assistance
- 2.Look around on the Cue platform for projects under the domain
- 3.Identify any projects you are interested in and reach out to the project lead
There are 2 forums a year (Spring and Autumn) one of which is usually hosted in Geneva at the Palais de Nations, the other rotates at various locations globally, or virtually. These forums are a good place to get an understanding of work ongoing within the domain and meet other like minded experts in your are of interest, as well as find out about projects in more detail.
Meetings throughout the year are advertised at the following webpage and will usually be topical or to support ongoing work.
If you need to make a submission for a data element to be contributed to any of hte libraries there are 2 ways in which to do this.
- 1.Internal: An internal submission is submitted from a UN/CEFACT project team and will be relevant to the project business process, collaboration or transaction scope. Typically a normal submission is supported by one or more BRS (Business Requirement Specification) plus relevant RSM (Requirements Specification Model). The normal submission can include CCs and BIEs and qDTs and CCBDA (Core Component Business Document Assembly) message structures. CCBDA message structures must be submitted whenever UN/CEFACT schema production and publication is requested.
- 2.External: An external submission is possible when a specific sector submits a set of candidate core components that it has extracted from a published repository of their business processes. A bulk submission should be supported by the documents describing the scope of the domain and the related information model.