The briefing, held on 29 October, was attended by regional coordinators and by representatives of more than thirty permanent missions in Geneva, and was an opportunity to discuss the consultations on the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection.
UNCTAD presented the follow-up work plan that had emerged as a result of the second Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Consumer Protection. The presentation looked at progress made in constituting four working groups on the issues of e-commerce, financial services, the implementation of the Guidelines, and "other issues" that could assist in the preparation of a report to be submitted to the review conference. The working groups will be open for participation by member States, via their missions and national experts; by other international organizations, such as the OECD; and by other relevant stakeholders such as Consumers International and the International Chamber of Commerce.
The Chair of the second Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Consumer Protection was represented by Ms. Nicole Nespoulous, Deputy Director of France's Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes. Ms. Nespoulous addressed the delegates, praising their interest in this process, and stressed the importance of setting standards for consumer rights internationally in order to allow for a better and more homogeneous national enforcement.
The UNCTAD secretariat clarified that these consultations will not involve negotiations about the pertinence of revising the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection or its text, but rather will consist of transparent and inclusive preparatory work to be submitted for the consideration of the review conference in 2015. A related report will summarize best practices in each field, and may propose a draft resolution on actions to be taken. Each working group will meet principally online. UNCTAD will conduct further consultations at international and regional forums on consumer protection throughout 2014 and 2015. In due course, member States will be asked to designate the person(s) to take part in the working groups.