The Expert Meeting on Consumer Interests, Competitiveness, Competition and Development will be held from 17 to 19 October 2001 at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. It will be opened at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 17 October 2001. The provisional agenda, together with the secretariat’s annotations thereto, will be circulated as document TD/B/COM.1/EM.17/1.
Taking into account the existing UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection (A/C.2/54/L.24), the Expert Meeting will examine the new dimensions of consumer concerns, especially in developing countries and economies in transition, resulting from globalization and liberalization, such as the effects of privatization of utilities on consumers, deregulation and increased competition in the market place of developing countries, consumers’ access to damage redress, consumer representation, and consumer access to financial services; and it will formulate appropriate recommendations for action in capacity-building for rule-making and enforcement, consumer education and enhancement activities, as well as international cooperation in this field, with a view to responding appropriately to the important requests made by UNCTAD X and the Fourth United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices. In its task, the Expert Meeting will have before it for consideration, the conclusions and recommendations in this respect of four regional meetings held prior to it, in Cartagena (Colombia) on 23-25 July 2001; in Accra (Ghana) on 20-21 August 2001; in Goa (India) on 10-11 September 2001; and in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) on 1-2 October 2001.
A list of possible topics to be addressed by the Expert Meeting, as well as a detailed schedule for the Meeting, are given in the provisional agenda (TD/B/COM.1/EM.17/1).
The UNCTAD secretariat has prepared a background document to facilitate the discussion, which will be circulated as document TD/B/COM.1/EM.17/2. Experts participating in the Meeting are requested to make written contributions with respect to their specific experiences in the field of the subject matter. The contributions will be made available at the Meeting in the form and language in which they are received.
Member States of UNCTAD are requested to nominate experts at an early date and not later than 21 September 2001. Experts, who will participate in the Meeting in their personal capacities, are expected to have proven expertise in the subject, and may be selected from Governments, the academic world, the public and private sectors, and NGOs. Experts may include representatives from various sectors of competition policy and consumer affairs, including competition authorities, standards boards, consumer protection affairs, privatization departments, and economics and legal experts.
With regard to financing the participation of developing countries’ experts in UNCTAD expert meetings in accordance with Trade and Development Board decision 456 (XLV), Governments of developing countries are requested to nominate one expert as a possible beneficiary of financing for this Expert Meeting. Nominations should be received at least four weeks before the Meeting, and they should be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of the nominee, his or her address, phone and fax numbers or e-mail address, and the name of a contact person in the Permanent Mission in Geneva. The Secretary-General of UNCTAD will base his decisions as to which experts should receive financing on the principle of equitable geographical representation, beneficiary needs and the expertise of the experts concerned. Once the list of experts has been finalized, the Secretary-General will have all travel arrangements made in accordance with United Nations financial rules and regulations, though in order to cover as many experts as possible, use of the least costly travel fare will be authorized.
Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badge at the UN Security Service, Villa Les Feuillantines, 13 Avenue de la Paix (close to the main entrance to the Palais on the Place des Nations, on the opposite side of the road). The Security Service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (non-stop). It is advisable to arrive
by 9 a.m. to complete procedures and reach the Meeting in good time. Walking from Villa Les Feuillantines to the E-Building (Bâtiment E) of the Palais takes about 10 minutes. Participants are advised to carry a passport or similar identification document with them.
Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the session, as well as non-governmental organizations in the General Category and those in the Special Category wishing to participate as observers, are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives by 21 September 2001.
All communications concerning representation at the Meeting should be sent to the UNCTAD secretariat, Intergovernmental Support Services, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10 (tel.: +4122 907 5007; fax: +4122 907 0056; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
All other enquires should be addressed to the coordinator in the substantive division, Mr. Philippe Brusick, tel.: +4122 907 5671; fax: +4122 907 0247; email: email@example.com.
Secretary-General of UNCTAD
14 August 2001