Q. 185.0( 1 Vote )

Name the organisation formed by the United Nations for consumer protection. How does it serve consumers?

Answer :

United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP) was adopted in 1985 for consumer protection. This was followed after a long campaign by the consumer associations in many countries, with Consumers International (then known as the International Organization of Consumers Union) acting as an interlocutor with the United Nations. At the international level, this has become the foundation for consumer movement. Today, Consumers International has become an umbrella body to over 220 member organizations from over 115 countries.

The Intergovernmental group of experts on consumer protection law and policy has been established to monitor the implementation of the guidelines, provide a forum for consultations, produce research and studies, provide technical assistance, undertake voluntary peer reviews, and periodically update the UNGCP. Its first meeting took place on 17 and 18 October 2016 in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

The 2015 revision sets up institutional mechanisms for monitoring compliance with the UNGCP, under the management of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy, which is to be held under the patronage of UNCTAD.

The group has the following functions:

a. To provide an annual discussion and modalities for many-sided consultations, discussion and exchange of views between the Member States on matters related to the guidelines, in particular, their accomplishment and the experience arising therefrom.

b. To undertake studies and research occasionally on consumer protection issues related to the guidelines based on a consensus and the interests of Member States and distribute them with a view to increasing the exchange of experience and giving greater efficiency to the guidelines.

c. To conduct deliberate peer reviews of national consumer protection policies of Member States, as implemented by consumer protection authorities.

d. To collect and distribute information on matters relating to the overall attainment of the goals of the guidelines and to the suitable steps the Member States have taken at the national or regional levels to promote effective completion of their objectives and principles.

e. To provide capacity-building and technical assistance to developing countries and economies in conversion in formulating and enforcing consumer protection laws and policies.

f. To consider relevant studies, certification, and reports from relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations and networks, to exchange in sequence on work programmes and topics for consultations and to identify work-sharing projects and cooperation in the provision of technical assistance.

g. To make suitable reports and recommendations on the consumer protection policies of Member States, including the purpose and achievement of these guidelines.

h. To operate between and report to the United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices.

i. To conduct a periodic review of the guidelines, when mandated by the United Nations Conference to Review All Aspects of the Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices.

j. To establish such procedures and methods of work as may be necessary to carry out its mandate.

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