Since 2002, UNCTAD assists governments in the preparation of harmonized legal frameworks, through the e-Commerce and Law Reform Programme.
The creation of an enabling legal and regulatory environment is critical to ensure an effective implementation of e-government strategies and to facilitate electronic and mobile commerce. Key issues to be addressed include: electronic transactions, electronic signatures and authentication, data protection and privacy, consumer protection, computer crime, intellectual property, competition, taxation and information security at large.
UNCTAD helps to build the capacity of decisionmakers, lawmakers and legal practitioners at national and regional levels. The assistance targets, in particular, ministry officials in charge of law reform who need to learn more about the legal implications of ICTs; parliamentarians who have to examine new cyberlaws; and legal professionals who enforce new legislation. UNCTAD has developed a training course on the Legal Aspects of e-commerce.
UNCTAD can also review draft legislation, prepare legal frameworks as part of harmonization efforts, and help draft of new or revised legal texts.
Finally, UNCTAD carries out specialized studies on regional cyberlegislation harmonization providing documentary evidence on cyberlaw initiatives and results so far achieved across the world.
Some activities are coordinated with the “TrainForTrade
” capacity-building programme of UNCTAD, the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL
) to promote the adoption harmonized standards, the UN Regional Commissions as well as regional institutions, and other relevant international organizations such as the OECD.
The Programme is currently financially supported by Finland.