The ICPEN Antwerp Conference Break-out Session allows UNCTAD to gather the inputs from ICPEN Members to the Revision of the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection, in preparation for the special meeting in Geneva (11-12 July).
The First Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Consumer Protection held in Geneva (July, 2012) was celebrated under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) Meeting on Competition Law and Policy. This body mandated UNCTAD to undertake the revision of the 1985 United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP), as revised in 1999. The process started by taking stock of how the UNGCP had been implemented since their last revision among Members States. UNCTAD Secretariat received contributions from over 40 countries that have been integrated into a consolidated Implementation Report. This report confirms the relevance of the current guidelines worldwide and also highlights the need for regulation on other topics not yet covered, namely: e-commerce and financial services. As mandated by the IGE, UNCTAD undertakes wide consultations among Member States, other international organizations, and relevant stakeholders. The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) Conference gathers consumer protection agencies from all over the world to discuss policy and cooperation issues.
UNCTAD is organizing a break-out session during the ICPEN Antwerp Conference to disseminate the implementation report of the UNGCP and to take stock on the emerging issues that should be addressed in the current revision process. This interactive event is aimed at pooling the opinions of consumer protection agencies on this issue in order to prepare the discussions to be held during the IGE Meeting in Geneva on 11 and 12 July 2013.
Expected outcomes include:
· Discussion/validation of the implementation report on the UNGCP prepared by UNCTAD Secretariat: The report will be presented to members states, who will have the chance to provide further comments (to be taken into consideration for the IGE meeting)
· Consensus on the revision process: adding new chapters for emerging issues (e-commerce and financial services) and leaving the revision process open for other issues to be integrated as appropriate.
· Discussion on the content of the revised guidelines, especially for the chapters on e-commerce and financial services: extent and content of the new chapters.
Future actions: consolidate those contributions to prepare the IGE meeting in Geneva on 11 and 12 July which will be entirely devoted to the revision of the UNGCP.
- ICPEN Antwerp Conference participants (N.B. most ICPEN Member States are also UNCTAD’s Member States) wanting to participate in the break-out session.
Hassan Qaqaya, Head of the Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, DITC
Ebru Gokce, Economic Affairs Officer of the Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, DITC
Arnau Izaguerri, Consumer Protection Unit Officer, COMPAL Programme, Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, DITC