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, facilitate consensus-building, and offer 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:

  • Comprehend options to address macro-level development challenges
  • Achieve beneficial integration into the international trading system
  • 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 195 countries that make up our organization. Our goal is prosperity for all.

 

 

Secretary-General

Rebeca Grynspan of Costa Rica is the first woman and Central American to serve as UNCTAD’s secretary-general.

Ms. Grynspan is a renowned advocate of human development, who has helped to focus the world’s attention on relevant issues such as the reduction of inequality and poverty, gender equality, South-South cooperation as a tool for development, and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, among others.

A former vice president of Costa Rica, Ms. Grynspan joins UNCTAD from the Ibero-American Conference where she also led the organization as secretary-general.

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Rebeca Grynspan

Featured publications

UNCTAD at a Glance

UNCTAD at a Glance
English | French

Annual Report 2020

Annual Report 2020
(Highlights)

6  UNCTAD facts and figures
Promoting
development

57
years

Membership
195
members States

Staff members
456+
Regular budget
for 2020

68
million
Extrabudgetary
expenditure

42
million

Projects
218
in 80 countries

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.

See our place in the UN family.