unctad.org | Collective effort needed to protect consumers in data fueled economy, UNCTAD SG says
Collective effort needed to protect consumers in data fueled economy, UNCTAD SG says
27 octubre 2017
UNCTAD
India and other Asian countries must work collectively to protect consumers in a global economy increasingly fueled by data, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi has today told a global event in New Delhi on empowering consumers in new markets.


India and other Asian countries must work collectively to protect consumers in a global economy increasingly fueled by data, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi has today told a global event in New Delhi on empowering consumers in new markets.

The fact that data has overtaken oil as the world's most traded commodity shows why the digital economy is such a game changer, Dr. Kituyi said.

"This poses a phenomenal challenge. This creates new responsibilities that we must deal with collectively," he said, calling for the need to ensure new online users have the skills necessary to take advantage of digital opportunities.

According to UNCTAD's 2017 Information Economy Report, between 2012 and 2015 more people in India went online for the first time than anywhere else in the world.

While this is a great achievement, Dr. Kituyi said, vulnerable groups have been left behind, in India and elsewhere, and they need to be empowered, as well as protected.

UNCTAD data shows that while 70% of consumers in developed countries buy online, less than 5% do so in most developing countries.

The main concern, Dr. Kituyi said, is that growing digital divides, between and within countries, will lead to unequal benefits from e-commerce.​

Some 20 countries, including China, participated in the event, which is convening Thursday and Friday.

By hosting this first regional conference on consumer protection, Dr. Kituyi said, India shows its commitment to advancing consumer rights.

He recalled that the country led efforts to adopt in 1985 the first version of the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection, the only international instrument on the issue.

The guidelines were revised in 2015 to reflect changes in the global economy, such as the rise of e-commerce. That same year, UNCTAD became the focal point for consumer protection in the UN family.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the event's opening that "the revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection of 2015 are being translated into the new Indian consumer bill."​

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