Supporting countries to protect their consumers during trade turmoil

The COVID-19 pandemic caused turmoil in international trade in 2020, unleashing rampant cross-border distribution of unsafe consumer products.

In the 2015 revision of the UN guidelines for consumer protection, UNCTAD was entrusted with a mandate on consumer protection law and policy. It became the focal point for consumer protection within the UN system, overseeing the implementation of the guidelines by member states and relevant stakeholders.

UNCTAD also hosts annual intergovernmental group of experts meetings on consumer protection law and policy, the only international forum for the discussion of consumer protection issues.

In 2021, UNCTAD facilitated the adoption of the first recommendation on product safety, an outcome of the Eighth UN Conference to Review the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices held in 2020.

It continued to lead discussions through the UNCTAD working group on consumer product safety and organized several important events.

The pandemic showed that consumer policy is a powerful instrument to protect consumers in the growing e-commerce context, prevent health and safety hazards in goods and services, and promote sustainable and responsible consumption. It also contributes to reducing inequalities within and between countries.


Consumer protection

World Consumer Protection Map

A key resource is the UNCTAD World Consumer Protection Map, an interactive tool that gathers information on the legal and institutional frameworks for consumer protection of 104 member states, assisting consumer experts in identifying international best practices.



World Consumer Protection Map



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