High Level Committee on Management

Working Group on Document Standards

UN Semantic Interoperability Framework
for normative and parliamentary documents
(UNSIF)


In the past year, the Secretariat of the High Level Committee on Management (HLCM), the UN Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (UN/DGACM), and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) jointly led the activities of the inter-agency Working Group on Document Standards (WGDS).

Between June 2016 and March 2017 the WGDS members - FAO, IAEA, ICAO, IFAD, ILO, IMO, UN/DGACM, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNON, UN-WOMEN, WFP, WHO, and WIPO - met online and offline to carry out joint analyses and consultations geared to the definition of a common document standard for the UN system.  In late March 2017, the WGDS recommended to the High Level Committee on Management the adoption of the UN Semantic Interoperability Framework for normative and parliamentary documents (UNSIF).

At the Thirty-Third Session of the High Level Committee on Management (HLCM) held in Budapest, 30-31 March 2017, HLCM:

  • Commended the work of the HLCM Working Group on Document Standards to develop a UN Semantic Interoperability Framework (UNSIF) for normative and parliamentary documents.
  • Noted that the UNSIF creates the foundation to harmonize machine-access to UN system normative and parliamentary documents on the basis of an internationally recognized standard that, while making normative and parliamentary documents more accessible and open to all stakeholders, will contain the system-wide long-term information management costs.
  • Adopted the UN Semantic Interoperability Framework for normative and parliamentary documents (UNSIF) formed by:
    a. Akoma Ntoso for the United Nations System (AKN4UN), which defines the guidelines for the localisatio of the Akoma Ntoso XML standard to the specific requirements of UN parliamentary and normative documents.
    b. the United Nations System Document Ontology (UNDO), which provides a formal representation of UN documents basic entities and their relationships. 
  • Adopted the first version of the AKN4UN Guidelines for the mark-up of UN normative and parliamentary documents and UNDO as the main reference for the implementation of UNSIF.
  • Endorsed the proposal supporting the implementation of the UN common documentation standard across the UN System.

AKN4UN and UNDO should be considered as living documents, which will be subject to regular updates to incorporate new developments and requirements. The online version hosted by this site shall be considered the latest and authoritative version of AKN4UN and UNDO.

The adoption of UNSIF has put the foundations for the establishment of a UN-wide ecosystem of machine-readable documents that will foster collaboration and reduce costs in information management across the system by transforming the web of information enclosed in traditional word processing documents into a web of data that can be interpreted by computers to create innovative services. By having documents available in a common semantically rich format will raise dramatically the UN capacity to coordinate activities, create synergies and respond to clients’ information demands, improve the efficiency and quality of information processing, dissemination and accessibility, and bring significant benefits in terms of governance, accountability and transparency.