UNCTAD receives a new consumer protection mandate from the General Assembly

23 December 2015

The United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the revised United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, entrusting UNCTAD with a new mandate, on 22 December 2015.

Last updated in 1999, the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection have been revised to reflect a world of e-commerce and online shopping, complex and globalised financial services, energy crises and mass tourism.

With this update, UN member States have agreed to put UNCTAD at the centre of global consumer protection.

"If we want citizens to be active players in achieving sustainable development we need to empower them as consumers in the marketplace," UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said. "I am delighted that member States have entrusted UNCTAD with becoming the privileged international forum for advancing consumer protection worldwide."

The General Assembly decided to establish an intergovernmental group of experts on consumer protection law and policy to monitor the implementation of the guidelines, which will serve as forum for exchanges of best practices and provide technical cooperation and capacity building to developing countries and economies in transition.

Amanda Long, Director-General of Consumers International, the world federation of consumer groups, said: "We are particularly pleased with the high level of commitment to establish an intergovernmental group of experts. Effective implementation by member States and business will be key in going forward."

The Intergovenmental Group will meet for the first time under the auspices of UNCTAD, from 17 to 18 October 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.