It is my pleasure to welcome all of you to the 17th Forum of the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT).
Trade facilitation, commercial and governmental business processes and electronic business standards are vital factors in the development of world trade and, therefore, central to the remit of the UNECE. Acting as the focal point within the United Nations for these matters, the UNECE established UN/CEFACT with the mandate to achieve improved worldwide coordination and cooperation in these areas and to undertake, within its mandate, work of global relevance that meets current and future demands.
UN/CEFACT is thus an important intergovernmental body of the UNECE that works to improve the ability of business, trade and administrative organizations, from developed, developing and transition economies, to exchange products and relevant services effectively. Its focus is on facilitating national and international transactions, through the simplification and harmonization of processes, procedures and information flows, thus contributing to the growth of global commerce. For this purpose, UN/CEFACT and its Forum develop trade facilitation recommendations, eBusiness standards and supporting technical specifications – in a process of close collaboration between governments and the private sector.
UN/CEFACT Forum sessions are held bi-annually in different locations throughout the world. This time, the 17th Forum is being held in Geneva at the Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG) from 30 August to 3 September 2010. I would like to express my deep appreciation to the Swiss authorities for allowing the UNECE to use the facilities of the CICG for this important event.
I am confident that this Forum will provide an excellent opportunity for the further development of UN/CEFACT instruments, for taking important decisions relating to UN/CEFACT structures and processes and for reaching out to the “Geneva constituency” of UN/CEFACT, including Permanent Missions based in Geneva.
Economic Commission for Europe