unctad.org | About

ABOUT UNCTAD

Globalization, including a phenomenal expansion of trade, has helped lift millions out of poverty. But not nearly enough people have benefited. And tremendous challenges remain.

We support developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively. And we help equip them to deal with the potential drawbacks of greater economic integration. To do this, we provide analysis, consensus-building, and technical assistance. This helps them to use trade, investment, finance, and technology as vehicles for inclusive and sustainable development.

Working at the national, regional, and global level, our efforts help countries to:

  • Diversify economies to make them less dependent on commodities
  • Limit their exposure to financial volatility and debt
  • Attract investment and make it more development friendly
  • Increase access to digital technologies
  • Promote entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Help local firms move up value chains
  • Speed up the flow of goods across borders
  • Protect consumers from abuse
  • Curb regulations that stifle competition
  • Adapt to climate change and use natural resources more effectively

Together with other UN departments and agencies, we measure progress by the Sustainable Development Goals, as set out in Agenda 2030.

We also support implementation of Financing for Development, as mandated by the global community in the 2015 Addis Ababa Agenda, together with four other major institutional stakeholders: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, and the United Nations Development Programme.

While we work mainly with governments, to effectively deal with the magnitude and complexity of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, we believe that partnerships and closer cooperation with the private sector and civil society are essential.

Ultimately, we are serving the citizens of the 194 countries that make up our organization. Our goal is prosperity for all.


UNCTAD in the UN system

UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. Our headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland, and we have offices in New York and Addis Ababa.

UNCTAD is part of the UN Secretariat. We report to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council but have our own membership, leadership, and budget. We are also part of the United Nations Development Group.

Take a look at the UN system chart (PDF) to see our place in the UN family.

Leadership

Mukhisa Kituyi  
Secretary-General
Mukhisa Kituyi
Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi  

A former trade minister, Dr. Kituyi is an expert in international economics and diplomacy, with direct experience in trade negotiations on behalf of his country, Kenya.

Before becoming Secretary-General, he was the chief executive of the Kenya Institute of Governance, based in Nairobi, Kenya — a think tank and advocacy organization focused on improving public policy.

The UN General Assembly approved his nomination on 10 June 2013 for a term of four years. He took office on 1 September 2013. He is our seventh Secretary-General.

More on Dr. Kituyi and his predecessors.

Joakim Reieter 
Deputy Secretary-General
Joakim Reiter
Deputy Secretary-General Joakim Reiter

A diplomat and trade expert, Mr. Reiter has wide-ranging expertise in trade negotiations and multilateral organizations.

He was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 9 January 2015. He took office on 1 April 2015 for a term of two years.

More on Mr. Reiter.


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