SW – Customs

Building Single Window Environment (SWE) Recourse material (reference to the World Customs Organisation)

Although there are several Single Window initiatives taking shape all over the world, it is challenging to estimate the number of currently operating systems, due to the differentiated Single Window models adopted and the extent of cross-border operations and functions performed. However, in most cases Customs Administrations have a pivotal role in the implementation and operation of SW systems across all six WCO Regions.

The document ‘Single Window Environment Maturity’ makes reference to the RAMMAP-SWIM Explanatory Note and the SW Compendium Vol.2, Part IX on ‘Performance management and sustainability’. The aim of the document is to assist members by providing easy-to-access information that might serve as an overall self-assessment framework.

WCO has developed ‘Single Window Data Harmonization Guidelines’ to provide Single Window environment developers with tools that can be used in order to achieve data harmonisation and to develop internationally standardised data sets including the data element names, definitions, the United Nations Trade Data Element Directory (UNTDED) tag and the formats.

To support capacity building efforts, the WCO has developed a Compendium on ‘Building a Single Window Environment’. The WCO SW Compendium was updated in 2017 and was endorsed by the Council in the July session that year. The new Compendium still consists of two Volumes, while the Chapters have been renamed as Parts (Part I, Part II, etc.). Each Part focuses on a particular area of the SW Environment, providing comprehensive guidance on the building blocks of Single Window implementation.  Structural and editorial improvements have been made to some Parts and four new Parts have been developed.

A Supplement Edition to the WCO Single Window Compendium on ‘How to build a Single Window Environment’ was developed in 2015. The Supplement provides a succinct approach to the Single Window concept, which would be useful to members and other stakeholders in the implementation/enhancement of a Single Window environment. It would serve as ‘a supplementary training package for national and regional technical assistance and capacity building activities’.

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UNCEFACT) has developed Recommendation 33 on the subject, which is an important piece of work in this area.

WCO Building a Single Window Environment


Note: A number of international organisations and bodies have defined Single Window, sometimes with regards to their area of interest and activity. IPCSA has used the information publicly available from these sources to provide information on these concepts and has credited/referenced the relevant organisations either through links to their websites or in a direct reference.