In its 2013-2016 Strategic Plan, HLCM called for the “development of innovative and sustainable business solutions” and highlighted that “new technologies open entirely new horizons to re-shape the operational models of UN organizations”. HLCM embraced the use of ICT as an agent of change and improved knowledge management.

Against this background, FAO introduced this discussion with a presentation on their pilot project on “Achieving Greater Access, Visibility and Efficiency in FAO’s Normative and Governance work”

XML (Extensible Mark-up Language), which is a document open standard to facilitate document interoperability and data exchange. It is a widely diffused standard, currently in use at the U.S. Congress, European Parliament, Italian Senate and Chamber of Deputies, U.K. Parliament, House of Representatives of Uruguay, Senate of Brazil, and House of Commons of Canada.


The adoption of semantic technologies can lead to considerable efficiencies in document management processes. The results of a recent HLCM survey showed that there is an overwhelming interest in developing a system-wide approach to information and knowledge management.

It would be strategically important for the UN system to approach the critical domain of information and knowledge management with unity of intents. Delaying a shared approach may lead to the flowering of un-coordinated organisations-specific documentation standards and future digital fragmentation across the UN system.

The adoption of international standards is also a driver for the United Nations system to excel as a modern, progressive Organization that attains to best management practices. HLCM has a good experience and success stories in this area: IPSAS, Three Lines of Defence, IATI, etc.


The Committee:
Thanked FAO for their presentation on their Open Governance initiative.

Noted the potential value of an early engagement in an assessment of possible approaches for a joint initiative towards the adoption of a common documentation standard across the UN system, as part of the Committee’s strategic priority to use new technologies to re-shape the operational models of UN organizations.

Requested organizations to express their interest to the CEB Secretariat to form a working group, open to representatives of the documentation, library and conference management offices, to explore the subject of XML and propose possible courses of action.