Launch of report: Access by consumers to essential services: Energy, water and sanitation

22 November 2022
13:30 - 14:30 hrs. Rm. XXIII, Palais des Nations
, Switzerland

UNCTAD will launch its report entitled, "Access by consumers to essential services: Energy, water and sanitation," on 22 November 2022 from 1.30 to 2.30 p.m. in Room XXIII of the Palais des Nations, Geneva and online as a side event to UNCTAD’s Trade and Development Commission, thirteenth session. 

The war in Ukraine is posing serious disruptions to the global energy markets, putting Governments and consumers under enormous pressure. In a recent Brief, the United Nations urges governments to identify and target vulnerable populations and to provide solutions for accessing and affording energy. The cascading crises of the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate emergency highlight the importance of consumer policies to protect citizens from vulnerability and exclusion.

The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection recognize access by consumers to essential goods and services and the protection of vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers as two of consumers legitimate needs. The Guidelines also recommend that Member States promote universal access to public utilities and formulate, maintain or strengthen national policies to improve rules and statutes dealing with provision of service, consumer information, security deposits and advance payment for service, late payment fees, termination and restoration of service, establishment of payment plans and dispute resolution between consumers and utility service providers, taking into account the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers. Government intervention is necessary to meet consumer needs in public utilities, and its extent is an implicit global recognition of their importance. 

UNCTAD launches the report entitled, "Access by consumers to essential services: Energy, water and sanitation," aiming to provide policy makers with background on the emerging trends and considerations as well as policy options, focusing on the key requirements for inclusive and affordable access. The report launch will be followed by a discussion to provide a global overview of consumers’ situation in relation to these essential services; and identify effective solutions to address the challenges by Government authorities.

Purpose of this event:
The event aims to discuss the ways in which Government authorities can effectively address and enhance consumers’ access to essential services, in particular energy, water and sanitation. 

The consumer policy framework needed, engaging competition and consumer protection authorities and sectoral regulators, to overcome the multiple challenges faced by consumers in the current context will also be discussed by the panelists. The case studies examined in the volume will serve as an anchor for the more general debate.
Key objectives:
•    Discuss the key insights from the report and exchange experiences on the consumer policy needed to enhance and 
     improve access by consumers to essential services of energy, water and sanitation.
•    Discuss the experiences of the member States and international organizations and their vision on the most
     promising opportunities to improve access and quality of service.
•    Support developing countries in updating their policy frameworks in a strategic way in the light 
     of sustainability, including demand and supply side efficiencies and fiscal options for demand reduction.
Participants and targeted audience:
The webinar will bring together policymakers, international civil servants, and academics in an attempt to expose the policy experience of competition, consumer protection and sectoral regulation perspectives. 

The event targets policymakers in developed and developing countries, as well as academics and other stakeholders such as civil society organizations, activists and scholars.

Delegates participating at the twelfth session of the Trade and Development Commission are invited to attend.

Opening remarks: Ms. Teresa Moreira, Head Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD

Presentation of the report: Access by consumers to essential services:  Energy, water and sanitation

•    Mr. Robin Simpson, international consumer protection expert
•    Mr. Arnau Izaguerri, Economic Affairs Officer, Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD Discussant
•    Ms. Natalie Harsdorf-Borsch, Acting Director General, Austrian Federal Competition Authority
•    Ms. Debora Ponce Ogaldez, Counsellor Permanent Mission of Guatemala to the World Trade Organization

Conclusion: Ms. Teresa Moreira, Head Competition and Consumer Policies Branch, UNCTAD


Meeting ID: 954 4877 9066
Passcode:  472808

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