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Trade Programme

Introduction

The trade programme works to develop closer economic relations among member States, as well as to better integrate their economies into the world economy. The trade programme's inter-governmental bodies make policy recommendations, develop standards for use in trade and assist member States in implementing them. These bodies also suggest ways and means of creating legal and administrative frameworks for fostering trade. Work includes a range of activities to assist member States with: trade facilitation; regulatory and standards policy; commercial agricultural standards; and e-business standards.

Key areas of work

In focus

On 17 November, the UNECE will organize a webinar entitled “Circular Economy Opportunities: Perspectives of Transition Economies” from 10:30 – 12:00 as a side event to the World Circular Economy Forum Online. This webinar will explore the opportunities and challenges relating to circularity in transition economies. The webinar will bring together speakers from three of UNECE’s 17 programme countries (Georgia, Kazakhstan and Serbia) and experts from think tanks, to explore different perspectives on various angles of circularity.

In focus

Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business Resources for COVID-19 Response

The COVID-19 pandemic has evolved from a health crisis into an economic crisis causing major disruption in global trade. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and its subsidiary inter-governmental body - UN/CEFACT have a number of tools and resources that can be used to address the immediate and long term challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate global trade. The aim of this website is to provide a non-exhaustive list of such resources on trade facilitation and digitalization.

In focus

This year we celebrate the first ever observance of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, as decided at the 74th UN General Assembly in 2019.
It also comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, that has brought about a global wake-up call on the need to transform and rebalance the way our food is produced and consumed. As 820 million people globally are impacted by food insecurity and nearly 1/3 of food produced for human consumption is lost every year, it is time to join efforts in tackling the food loss and waste issue.
On this day, UNECE is keen to present one solution: the FeedUp@UN – a digital blockchain-powered food loss and waste management system. It is designed to identify and quantify the food which disappears on its way from the farm to our shops, the currently “invisible” food and make it available for redistributing, donating or further processing.
Please also check the latest food loss and waste FeedUP@UN video.

Highlights

  • UN/CEFACT has recently published several White Papers, Guidelines and Executive Guides which are available on the website
  • UN/CEFACT has over a dozen active projects ranging from Single Window recommendations to eQuality Certificates and Sustainable tourism to Blockchain. If you are interested in joining our work, please contact us at cefact@un.org 
  • UNECE’s recent Symposium on nuts and dried fruit highlighted how for many communities around the world, the sustainable trade in nuts and dried fruit is the key to improved food security, rural development and sustainable livelihoods for all including women, youth and the elderly
  • UNECE’s work on meat-cut descriptions is an important element for the growing international electronic trade in meat worldwide, the recent UNECE symposium for e-trade in meat underlined.
  • The 17th MARS Group meeting in Moscow showcased coordination possibilities of market surveillance worldwide with the example of the EU, addressed product non-compliance risk in international trade and the use of WP.6 Recommendations R, P, S and T in creating risk-based import compliance frameworks using predictive risk management tools. The meeting also outlined the important role of standards in the market surveillance agencies’ work.
  • Working Party 6, in collaboration with the Kyrgyz Economic University, organized a Workshop on Women Entrepreneurship which raised awareness regarding the challenges faced by women in business, when trading internationally, and identify measures to build capacity for increased female entrepreneurship.
  • New brochure on “Gender Responsive Standards”: Standards are often developed by technical committees where the participation of women is far below parity. Very few methodologies exist to probe if standards respond to gendered needs and to correct any gender bias in standards. The UNECE marked “World Standards Day” by raising awareness about UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Declaration, which aims at making standards work for women.
  • New brochure on “Standards for Sustainable Development”: The UNECE marked World Standards Day by launching the Standards for the SDGs Portal a vital awareness-raising tool, that allows UNECE and other standards developing organizations to highlight how their work helps advance Agenda 2030 and shares stories about successful implementation. All users are invited to use the available templates to submit information to be added to the portal.