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Subject: [ubl-comment] UBL and UN/CEFACT (copy)

cc: jon.bosak@sun.com, mcrawford@lmi.org, rberwanger@btrade.com,
         raywalker@attglobal.net, jamie.clark@mmiec.com, KNaujok@attglobal.net,
         ebxml-mgmt@lists.ebxml.org, patrick.gannon@oasis-open.org,

Experts and business user communities have expressed concern to us about 
the duplication of resources between the OASIS UBL project and UN/CEFACT's 
ebXML Core Components project.  Many implementers are uncertain about 
whether the two projects are complementary or divergent.  We have also 
received many inquiries about whether the two projects can be combined.

Ultimately, whether to recombine is a question for the members of UBL and 
the participants in the relevant UN/CEFACT work groups.  However, the 
personal opinion of the undersigned is that we should seek to promote 
it.  The underlying harmonization work and message is diluted by division, 
and would be enhanced by being unified.

Some UBL representatives have indicated that UBL would be pleased to work 
within UN/CEFACT under specific conditions, among which were a separate 
work group for UBL, continuation of the current UBL leadership, and 
continuation of procedural operating rules currently employed by UBL and/or 
OASIS.  If these accurately reflect the wishes of UBL's membership, 
UN/CEFACT may be able to accommodate some of them.  We will recommend that 
the appropriate bodies explore those options at the upcoming Forum meeting 
in Geneva next week.

The CC team and its work currently reside in UN/CEFACT's TMG group (along 
with the UMM and most other UN/CEFACT ebXML projects).  There may be other 
equally appropriate solutions.  Several UBL leaders are candidates for 
UN/CEFACT group leadership positions.  We welcome their 
participation.  There appear to be a sufficient number of positions and 
projects, and opportunities to define additional projects, to accommodate 
as many of the UBL members as care to participate.

Our own review of the OASIS, UBL and UN/CEFACT procedural rules suggests 
that there are very few differences.  We would be happy to bring any 
recommended changes to the Forum for discussion and ultimately to 
UN/CEFACT's plenary (its member delegations).  However, we may need to 
understand better any specific concerns about UN rules.  As an 
international inter-governmental organization, UN/CEFACT must take formal 
actions based on articulated reasons if it is to alter its voting, 
procedural or public consultation rules.

There may be other organizational ways to align these efforts.  UBL's 
current venue is OASIS, our partner in the ebXML project, which may also be 
able to contribute suggestions for better coordination.   We believe 
strongly that open, public discussion of these issues is the best way to 
address and resolve them.

As a community, we have a short window of opportunity to cooperatively 
create a unified suite of open, nonproprietary and international e-business 
standards.  In our view it is the right time for open conversations and 
compromise, and the wrong time for splintered efforts.  We look forward to 
discussing these issues with UBL and UN/CEFACT participants alike during 
the upcoming Geneva meetings.

Ralph Berwanger
Jamie Clark
Klaus-Dieter Naujok
Ray Walker

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