ESCAP´s Development Solution


United Nations network of experts for paperless trade and transport in Asia and the Pacific

Program in a Nutshell

Created in 2009

10 activities carried out​


  • Technical Assistance and Support
  • Capacity Building and Development
  • Policy Advice, Support and Formulation

Geographical scope​

Regional Economic Status

Partner : ESCAP

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The United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT) is a community of knowledge and practice for experts from developing countries and transition economies from Asia and the Pacific involved in the implementation of electronic trade systems and trade facilitation.

  • Technical Assistance and Support

    • Tools and guides development activities: the network develops guides and training materials to bridge the gap between the standards developers and the “implementers” and emerging experts in developing countries.

  • Capacity Building and Development

    • Capacity building (training) activities: the network delivers trainings and capacity building programmes at the national and regional levels, using the knowledge and tools developed by the network and its partners. An important feature of the network training programmes is that it relies heavily on peer-to-peer support, where experts and practitioners from countries with advanced paperless trade systems transferring their know-how and experience to those in less advanced countries.

      Knowledge sharing activities: the network provides new and specialized knowledge sharing mediums, such as the UNNExT policy brief series “Towards a Single Window Trading Environment” used to disseminate good practices and case studies on paperless trade environment development. It also organizes subregional and regional thematic events to discuss emerging paperless trade facilitation issues and create synergies between existing initiatives in the region and beyond, including through it support to the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum.

  • Policy Advice, Support and Formulation

    • Regional Advisory Services: the network facilitates delivery of advisory services on trade facilitation and paperless trade, in particular for least developed countries. Once the nature and scope of the services request are identified, the ESCAP/ECE Secretariat can identify the most appropriate available expert for its delivery.

      Research and Analysis: the network collaborates with the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) to deliver analytical studies related to trade facilitation and paperless trade. The collaboration between the two networks creates synergies between academic and policy research economists and trade facilitation practitioners and technical experts, to deliver more relevant studies, increase dissemination of ARTNeT research findings, and promote utilization and implementation of UNNExT tools and guides.

      In addition, UNNExT incorporates National Focal points. These NFPs identify local experts and institutions that play a key role in trade facilitation; provide national updates on progress made towards paperless trade and trade facilitation; and disseminate UNNExT tools and information to relevant national stakeholders.

  • Paperless Trade Facilitation Priority Areas

    • The work programme of UNNExT initially focused on 4 priority areas essential to moving forward on trade facilitation and paperless trade:

      1. Trade Process Analysis;
      2. Document Simplification and Data Harmonization;
      3. Legal Framework Development;
      4. Single Window Planning and Implementation.
  • Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific

    • In line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Asia-Pacific countries are striving to make international trade procedures more efficient and inclusive. The adoption of the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific paves the way for the region to accelerate progress in this area by digitalizing trade procedures.

  • Reducing barriers to trade : Single Window Implementation

    • This initiative allows to :

      • Reduce at and behind the border time and cost of procedures
      • Reduce international shipping costs

  • Capacity Building Workshop on Paperless Trade for Regional Connectivity

  • Toolkit for Trade Facilitation

    • A Single Window Implementation Toolkit for Trade Facilitation: Prepared and used for regionwide capacity building trainings in collaboration with the World Customs Organization and others, including an annual 2-week UNNExT Masterclass on Single Window Implementation.

Policy makersBusiness AssociationsCorporationsMSMEsSMEsExpertsDecision makers
  • National agencies or bodies