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First Session – Advisory Group on Advanced Technologies

30 January 2020

Room VIII, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland



Technology is evolving faster than ever before in human history. We are at the intersection of several cutting-edge technologies that are redefining interactions between the physical and virtual world, driving disruption and enabling new business modes. The importance of technology innovation is recognized by the international community in Sustainable Development Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. These trends such as Distributed Ledger Technology (e.g. Blockchain) , Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, Application Programming interfaces (APIs) hold significant promise in trade facilitation. Given these developments in technology, it becomes important to keep up to date with the latest trends to evaluate which trends and approaches may be viable for future developments, investments and practical implementation. The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) has proposed the establishment of an Advisory Group in order to advise and support the UNECE secretariat and UN/CEFACT on advanced technologies in trade facilitation and electronic business. The technologies in question include Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) - the most recent areas of rapid development in the international supply chain.

The first session of the Advanced Technology Advisory Group is scheduled to take place in Geneva on 30 January 2020. Participation in this session will be a key opportunity to be involved in ongoing work and setting the Group’s future agenda.


The purpose of the Advisory Group is to advise on advanced technologies such as Blockchain and IoT, as well as implementation challenges (such as regulatory obstacles). This includes the potential impact of these technologies on standards, services and everyday operations.  

The morning session is open to all interested stakeholders. This session will be centred on the need to register and identify technology “areas”, trends changing international trade and logistics, as well as practical use cases in the industry. The session will highlight potential new technologies of relevance.

The afternoon session shall focus on the recent work of UN/CEFACT in selected technology areas and their results. During this session, the participants will be invited to discuss the Vision and Mission Statement of the Advisory Group and the Programme of Work to define the framework in which the Advisory Group will operate. 


We are encouraging participation from all interested particies having the knowledge and experience from governmental institutions, business, civil society, consumer organizations, international organizations, UN/CEFACT experts and representatives from the Missions.

On-line Registration to the first session of the Advisory Group on Advanced Technologies is open now.

Deadline for visa support letter: 9 January 2020.

Entering the Palais des Nations

To attend UNECE meetings at the Palais des Nations, you must register in advance online on the relevant conference/meeting's webpage. 

Delegates enter the Palais through the Pregny Gate (Portail Pregny - see map) entrance, which faces the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) headquarters on the Route de Pregny. In order to obtain your identity badge from the Security Services, you will be asked to present a valid passport or a national identity card - the name must match the information provided on the registration form.  Your badge is strictly for your own personal use. Please note that delays are common and delegates must often to wait in the open air.

Security measures

Since 1 February 2017, security measures have been reinforced at the Palais des Nations. Once in the compound, only four doors are freely accessible (C-6, A-15, A-17 and E-40) during working hours. The UN/ECFACT Forum will be taking place in building E, accessible through door E-40.

Please consult the Brochure on the new security measures to access the Palais des Nations.

Please see map of UNOG Open Access (7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.) through doors C6, A15, A17 and E40.

Personal luggage*

You may bring into the Palais only the type of luggage that is normally considered as carry-on luggage by airline companies e.g. computer bags, rucksacks and hand bags. Should you have large luggage, after you have received your identity badge, the luggage will be stored for you by the Security Service if sufficient space is available.

*Disclaimer: The United Nations Office at Geneva declines all responsibility for any luggage stored. All pieces of luggage found unattended may be impounded and disposed of by the Security Services. Any costs related to the latter action may be charged to the owner of the luggage.


Free travel from the airport

Effective January 2008, free tickets for public transport  (TPG) is available from a machine in the baggage collection area (on the left hand side just before passing customs) at Geneva International Airport (Information GIA). This Unireso ticket allows you free use of public transport in Geneva for a period of 80 minutes. In the event of a ticket inspection on the Transports Publics Genevois (TPG)CFF (Swiss Railways) or Mouettes Genevoises (municipal ferries), anyone holding this type of ticket may be asked to show their airline ticket. If you are staying at a hotel in Geneva the establishment will offer you a “Geneva Transport Card”, which allows you to use public transport in Geneva free of charge during the period of your stay. (More information is available from Genève Tourisme or the establishment concerned.)

Public transport (transports publics genevois)

In Geneva, public-transport tickets (TPG) must be purchased prior to boarding a tram, bus or ferry. Ticket machines are available at most stops. Travel cards or passes can be purchased at the main TPG centres (Rive, Cornavin and Bachet de Pesay) and at newsstands. Please note tickets are not available on the bus itself.


Taxis are readily available from the airport. They are metered, so costs will vary, but the journey from the airport into the city centre will usually cost around CHF 30. The following direct telephone number will ensure arrival within minutes: 022 331 41 33. A taxi stand is located on rue Varembé

Transport to the venue (Palais des Nations)

Public transport from Geneva International Airport to the Palais des Nations

  • Bus n°5 : Bus stop "Nations"
  • Bus n°28 : Bus stop “Appia” or "Nations"

Public transport from Cornavin main railway station :

  • Bus n°5 : Bus stop "Nations"
  • Bus n°8 : Bus stop "Nations" or “Appia”
  • Tramway n°15 : Stop "Nations"

Access to the Public Transport website


Participants to the Forum are advised to book their accommodation early. Some of the hotels listed may apply United Nations preferential rates.


09:00 – 10:00   Registration

10:00 – 10:20
Opening Session: Welcome addresses

Opening address by the Director/Executive Secretary, UNECE
Welcome address by Ms. Sue Probert (tbc), Chair of UN/CEFACT

10:20 – 10:25
Adoption of the agenda

The secretariat will present the draft agenda for adoption

10:25 – 10:30
Appointment of Chair and Vice Chairs

The Chair and Vice Chairs will introduce themselves and present the objectives for the meeting

10:30 – 11:00
Keynote - Creating Ecosystems That Can Benefit from Transformative Technologies

11:00 – 13:00
Session 1: Panel on Transformative Technologies in Trade and Logistics

Managers and high-level experts from the public and private sectors who are involved in technology implementation will make presentations on the potential of specific technologies in trade and logistics as well as presenting use cases where the implementation challenges will be highlighted. The technologies which will be covered include: The Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Interoperability Tools such as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). At the end of the panel discussion there will be a short wrap up discussion

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch Break

14:30 – 15:30
Session 2: Panel discussion on obstacles and challenges

Representatives from the public and private sectors as well as international organizations will discuss the principle challenges, implementations obstacles, and lessons learned from the implementation of new technologies

15:30 – 16:30
Impact and how to get there

The draft Vision and Mission statement, summarizing the overall goals and methods by which to achieve them will be presented, discussed, amended and approved.
The draft Programme of Work of the Advisory Group on Advanced Technologies in Trade and Logistics for 2020-2021, which was prepared by the secretariat, will be presented to the Group for discussion and approval.

16:30 – 17:00
Future work

The Group will discuss its future work, including the specific activities to be undertaken during the coming year

17:00 – 17:05
Other Business

Experts will be invited to raise other issues not previously addressed during the session

17:05 – 17:25
Adoption of decisions and the report

17:25 – 17:30   Closing


Item 1: Adoption of the agenda

Item 2: Appointment of the Officers

Item 3: Panel on Transformative Technologies in Trade and Logistics

Item 4: Panel discussion on obstacles and challenges

Item 5: Vision, mission and Programme of Work

Item 6: Future work

Item 7: Other business

Item 8: Adoption of the decisions and draft report
Draft report - AGAT/2020/INF.2


Mr. Tomas Malik 
Secretary of the Advisory Group on Advanced Technologies

Mrs. Aruna Vivekanantham