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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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You're here: Home > Foreign cooperation > Global level > United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices in New York and Addis Ababa. UNCTAD is part of the UN Secretariat. It reports to the UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council but has its own members, leadership and budget. It is also part of the United Nations Development Group.

The United Nations General Assembly has entrusted UNCTAD with the role of focal point within the United Nations on competition and consumer protection issues, as stated in General Assembly Resolutions 35/63 of 22 April 1980 on Competition, and 70/186 of 22 December 2015 On Consumer Protection.

The aim of the Competition and Consumer Policy Program is to contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development goals by improving the functioning of markets through enhanced competition and consumer protection.

One of the goals of UNCTAD's activities is to promote competition protection and foster global competitiveness in order to provide equal trade opportunities at the global level.  UNCTAD supports policies and promotes frameworks that protect and empower consumers against the unfair practices of more powerful entrepreneurs.


Protection of Competition

Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy

UOKiK participates in the meetings of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Competition Law and Policy held once a year. This group meets to discuss ways to improve global cooperation on competition policy implementation and increase convergence through dialogue. The basis for intergovernmental consultations is the United Nations set of principles on competition.


The IGE Group has no rule-making function, but conducts its work through:

  • interactive debates
  • voluntary mutual evaluation of competition law and policy
  • round tables on specialised competition issues
  • reviews of technical assistance and capacity building activities.


Once agreement is reached on the recommendations, individual member states decide whether and how to implement the recommendations (e.g. through unilateral, bilateral or multilateral agreements, as appropriate).


Cross-border Cartel Working Group

In 2020, a working group on cross-border cartels was established, open to United Nations Member States, with the main purpose of highlighting best practices, facilitating information exchange and consultation, and reporting to the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Competition Law and Policy. The working group meets regularly by teleconference and is open representatives of national competition authorities, interested organisations or international networks. 


Consumer Protection

The Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy (Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy)

UOKiK participates in meetings of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy. It is a permanent body established under the United Nations Consumer Protection Guidelines that works to monitor the application and implementation of the guidelines, provide a forum for consultation, conduct research and studies, provide technical assistance, undertake voluntary peer reviews, and periodically update the guidelines.

The working groups meet regularly and informally by teleconference and are open to government representatives with relevant expertise (e.g., national consumer protection authorities, national consumer product safety authorities), interested international organizations and networks and parties representing civil society and academic environment.


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