The São Paulo Consensus adopted by member States during UNCTAD XI in 2004 called upon the Trade and Development Board to convene informal hearings with civil society actors to allow them to express their views on the issues before the Board. This was the first time that such hearings were institutionalized.
Hearings with civil society and the private sector are also held as part of the preparatory process for the organization of UNCTAD Ministerial Conferences. These hearings allow participating organizations to contribute to the preparatory process of the Conferences and to comment on the pre-conference negotiating text.
Civil society organizations accredited to the hearings and those that have observer status with UNCTAD are allowed to participate at these meetings.