Mandate and key functions

The United Nations General Assembly entrusted UNCTAD to be the focal point within the United Nations on competition and consumer protection issues, as contained in General Assembly resolutions 35/63 of 22 April 1980 for competition and 70/186 of 22 December 2015 for consumer protection. The purpose of the Competition and Consumer Policies Programme is to contribute to poverty reduction and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by improving markets’ functioning through strengthened competition and consumer protection.

The Competition and Consumer Policies Programme fulfils this mandate through three key functions:

  1. Providing a forum for intergovernmental deliberations.

    Government representatives and experts come together to discuss competition and consumer protection issues. The main fora are the annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy and the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy (IGEs).

  2. Undertaking research, policy analysis and data collection.

    The Programme focuses its research on issues that raise the interest of member States, in particular in IGE discussions. Also, the work developed under the Research Partnership Platform, launched in 2010 to gather universities, research centers and scholars working on the topics of competition and consumer protection, informs UNCTAD’s research, policy analysis and IGE discussions.

  3. Providing technical assistance to developing countries.

    The Programme assists partner countries to implement the recommendations and best practice identified in the previous two workstreams. Findings and lessons from the technical assistance are then fed back and used to inform the research and intergovernmental deliberation components of the Programme's work.

    The Programme aims to continue being the partner of choice for developing countries and countries with economies in transition seeking high quality, development focused support for improving their competition and consumer protection systems towards inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.

It achieves this objective through the following strategies:

  • Global delivery of in-depth technical assistance.

    Currently, countries in Latin American, African and Asian regions receive comprehensive long-term technical assistance to strengthen their competition and consumer protection systems, funded by development partners or through self-funding.

  • Tailor-made advisory services.

    Member States can request UNCTAD for advisory opinions and technical assistance in law and policy drafting and review. Their requests frame UNCTAD’s delivery and ensures full coincidence between beneficiary countries’ needs and UNCTAD outputs.

  • World-class technical expertise.

    The Competition and Consumer Policies Programme provides high quality advice to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, partnering with more experiences countries and highly experienced and respected experts from around the world.

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