UNCTAD briefs Geneva-based diplomats and visiting experts on UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection

28 July 2014

UNCTAD holds briefing on the progress of the Working Groups for the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, as part of the preparatory process for the Seventh UN Review Conference in 2015.

More than fifty representatives of permanent missions in Geneva and experts participating in the fourteenth Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy (IGE) attended the informal UNCTAD briefing, held on 9 July. This side event allowed invitees to discuss the Working Groups for the consultations on the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP).

Ms. Nathalie Homobono, Director General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control of France, who chaired the briefing, presented the initiative to revise the UNGCP.

Ms. Teresa Moreira, Consumer Director General of Portugal, introduced the Working Groups that emerged as a result of the second Ad Hoc Expert Meeting on Consumer Protection on e-commerce, financial services, implementation and other issues. The chairs of each of the Working Groups presented the preliminary results of consultations carried out so far.

Participants at the informal briefing held on 9 July
The speakers for each of the Working Groups were:
  • Ms. Homobono (e-commerce)
  • Mr. Sothi Rachagan, Chief Executive Officer of MyCC-Malaysia (financial services)
  • Ms. Clarissa Forecchi, Counsellor of the permanent mission of Brazil
  • Mr. Thomas Fohgrub, Counsellor of the permanent mission of Germany (other issues)
  • Mr. Saturnin Aboghe, Counsellor of the permanent mission of Gabon (implementation).

The Working Groups so far have received a total of 70 submissions, which will be summarized in a first draft report due in August 2014. The final outcome will be an UNCTAD Secretariat report to be submitted to the Review conference.

Mr. Guillermo Valles, UNCTAD's Director of the Division of International Trade and Commodities, underlined that these consultations respond to a call from consumer protection experts and will be carried out in a transparent and inclusive manner so as to ensure ownership among all stakeholders.

The report's first draft will be circulated for comments to member States, via their missions and national competition and consumer protection experts; to other international organizations, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); and to other relevant stakeholders such as Consumers International and the International Chamber of Commerce. These will be consolidated by November 2014, and in January 2015 a Preparatory Expert Group Meeting on Consumer Protection will be convened to discuss the report and eventually propose a draft resolution on the revision of the UNGCP for consideration of the Review Conference.