Skills development



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.

For whom

Decision makers
Private sector
Policy makers

Services offered

Technical 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

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 Support

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.


Experts of the core group are directly involved in delivering UNNExT activities, including as members of Advisory Groups established to build capacity in specific areas (See work programme) . They include:

  • Legal experts
  • Data harmonization experts
  • Process Analysis experts
  • Trade facilitation research [data and indicators] experts
  • Customs and Trade; and Transit logistics experts
  • Trade facilitation capacity building and training experts
  • Trade and Transport Facilitation; Institutional; and Public-Private Sector Partnership experts

Meet the beneficiaries

4 priority areas essential for paperless trade facilitation

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.

Introduction to the 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.