Trade is recognized as an important means of implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. Trade facilitation and paperless trade can help make trade more inclusive and sustainable. This led United Nations ESCAP members to negotiate and adopt the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Framework Agreement), a UN treaty to accelerate and support the digitalization of trade procedures. The Framework Agreement encourages implementation of pilot projects on cross-border paperless trade (Article 13), as a basis for capacity building of ESCAP developing member States and to achieve harmonization and interoperability between paperless trade systems.
In this context, the ESCAP Secretariat seeks to hire an individual national consultant to conduct a national feasibility study in a selected Central Asian country on the electronic exchange of trade-related data and documents with other countries in Asia, in particular with those that have been actively engaged in the development and/or implementation of the Framework Agreement or where paperless trade readiness assessments have already been conducted. The consultant will evaluate the feasibility for the selected country to engage in cross-border electronic exchange of trade-related data and documents, including by identifying priority partner countries and documents, assessing the costs and benefits of exchanging specific documents or harmonizing systems, and developing a pilot project plan.
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
The consultant is required to perform the following tasks (with tentative timeline):
Prepare for the national feasibility study by:
- Participating in an inception briefing session by the overall coordinating consultant.
- Drafting a workplan in consultation with, and based on the plan/methodology advised by, the coordinating consultant.
- Liaising with relevant stakeholders, taking into account the outputs and activities of this assignment.
National feasibility studies, when completed, should provide evidence-based guidance to member States on (i) partner countries they may prioritize for electronic exchange of trade data and documents; (ii) specific data/documents for electronic exchange; (iii) what systems and processes need to be harmonized or improved and the government agencies involved; and (iv) the costs and benefits of doing this exchange and harmonizing/improving the systems and processes necessary.
Delivery date: 29 February 2024
Carry out the national feasibility study. Tasks include:
Conducting secondary research and collecting relevant information.
Consulting/interviewing relevant agencies and stockholders to collect primary data.
Drafting the report and revising it based on feedback from the coordinating consultant.
Delivery date: 30 April 2024
Organize a national workshop/meeting, in collaboration with the coordinating consultant, with relevant stakeholders for validation of the draft study and to seek feedback, including on possible plans for pilot exchange.
Delivery date: 15 May 2024
Coordinate and support country stakeholders to participate in a subregional consultation workshop/meeting involving the target countries, in collaboration with the coordinating consultant. This could include presentation of findings of the national feasibility study and national workshop/meeting (including possible plans for pilot exchange), and facilitating discussions on follow-up actions.
Delivery date: 30 June 2024
Finalize the national feasibility study report and any inputs to follow-up actions, including by incorporating comments/suggestions received on the drafts.
Delivery date: 31 July 2024
The consultant is expected to carry out the assignment during the period of 1 February 2024 – 31 July 2024.
Consultancy fee is expected to range from USD 8,000 to 10,000, depending on the experience of the consultant and final terms of reference.
Requirements for the consultancy
A minimum of 5 years of work experience in trade facilitation/e-commerce/paperless trade is required. The consultant should preferably have relevant experience in implementing trade facilitation (including trade regulatory/customs automation projects), and assessing the feasibility of cross-border cooperation activities related to trade facilitation and the electronic exchange of trade-related data and documents, particularly in relation to the target country of study.
Relevant work experience in the country in which the national feasibility study is proposed to be conducted is required. A good network with relevant government agencies and/or association with a national-level think tank or trade facilitation/digitalization-related agency is preferred.
EOI Submission (deadline: 29 January 2024)
Individuals with relevant expertise are invited to submit their Expression of Interest (EOI), for a selected target country of study, to Mr. Yann Duval, Chief, Trade Policy and Facilitation Section, United Nations ESCAP ([email protected]) with a copy to Mr. Yern Fai Lee ([email protected]).
The EOIs should include:
(1) An email expressing interest, highlighting previous work experience, other related assignments, training or any useful experience and contacts/networks relevant to the assignment.
(2) Proposed work plan (1 to 2 pages) on how to carry out the assignment; and
(3) Curriculum Vitae (CV), and any other evidence of relevant work.
The criteria used to evaluate the applicants will be:
(1) previous work and other experience in the areas related to the assignment, and
(2) quality and scope of the proposed work plan
*Please note that only selected candidate(s) will be contacted.
For further information:
Please email Mr. Yern Fai Lee ([email protected]) should you have any questions.
 Details on the Framework Agreement can be found at: https://www.unescap.org/resources/framework-agreement-facilitation-cross-border-paperless-trade-asia-and-pacific