The UNCTAD secretariat provides substantive and technical services to the intergovernmental bodies of UNCTAD in their discussions and deliberations. Since its inception in 1964, the secretariat has thus serviced twelve sessions of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, meeting every four years, with the thirteenth session having taken place in Doha, Qatar in April 2012.
It has also fully serviced three United Nations Conferences on the Least Developed Countries, meeting every 10 years with the third Conference having taken place in Brussels, Belgium, in May 2001.
The secretariat undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection to provide substantive inputs for the discussions of the experts and government representatives in these intergovernmental bodies.
It also provides a series of technical assistance programmes and projects in support of developing countries, paying particular attention to the special handicaps of the least developed countries.
The Secretary-General of UNCTAD is Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi (Thailand). The Secretariat is composed of about 400 staff members with an annual regular budget of approximately $50 million and $25 million of extrabudgetary technical assistance funds.