Since 2011, UNCTAD's COMPAL Programme has been hosting the annual International Consumer Protection Forum, which has grown to be the major public forum on consumer protection issues in Latin America with over 300 participants.
It aims to provide a space for policy makers and other relevant stakeholders such as businesses, consumer associations, academia, practitioners, and the public at large to exchange views on current and future challenges and trends to the welfare of consumers.
The thirteenth edition of the International Consumer Protection Forum will be devoted to digital and financial issues through three sessions and will be held in Spanish only.
According to recent UNCTAD research, dispute resolution is a driver of consumer trust in markets, especially digital markets. Latin America hosts some sophisticated mechanisms for online dispute resolution for consumers, although their interoperability across borders remains a challenge.
The first session will share ongoing government initiatives at the Latin American level. One of the objectives of the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection is to facilitate the development of independent consumer groups.
Consumer associations play an essential role voicing consumers’ interest in policymaking, informing and educating consumers, defending consumer rights, and monitoring markets.
According to an UNCTAD publication, issues of governance, human resources, professionalization, and funding are key to strengthening consumer associations.
The second session will discuss ways to strengthen consumer associations in Ibero-America. UNCTAD’s World Consumer Protection Map shows that cross-border cooperation in consumer protection in Latin America is one of the most advanced in the world. However, according to UNCTAD’s research, such cooperation often takes the form of informal agreements among agencies, which poses challenges in the areas of e-commerce, product safety, and dispute resolution.
The third and last session will identify the necessary improvements needed in regional cooperation to face current and future challenges in Latin America.
Past editions of the COMPAL International Forum on Consumer Protection were hosted in Guayaquil, Lima, Santo Domingo, Bogotá, Cuzco, Guanacaste, Mendoza, Guadalajara, El Salvador, Lisbon, Asunción and Buenos Aires.
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TopicCompetition and consumer protection
Arnau Izaguerri - Arnau.Izaguerri@unctad.org