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8 Jul, 2017

UNCTAD launches World Consumer Protection Map for the Digital Age

Geneva, 7 July 2017, UNCTAD/PRESS – Another global malware attack, another leak of personal details online, this time of 200 million US citizens. It’s no wonder that consumers are concerned about online security, data protection and cybercrime. Trust in the internet is essential for inclusive e-commerce, but trust must be earned. So how can we build that trust and better protect consumers online?

This week during the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy (IGE), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) announced the development of the World Consumer Protection Map.

By developing this new tool, UNCTAD wants to provide relevant information about consumer protection worldwide and to enable better coordination channels between Consumer Protection Agencies globally. This sharing of knowledge will create a better understanding of the different laws and legal frameworks in different jurisdictions.

The World Consumer Protection Map is an interactive and easily accessible online tool that will provide an updated and comprehensive picture of consumer protection. It will also identify trends and benchmarks for global consumer protection as well highlight challenges that need to be addressed.

The tool will be developed using data from all 194 UN Member States.

“The map will allow consumer protection officials around the World to better coordinate and compare their efforts. This is especially important when dealing with a consumer protection breach, like a global hack of consumer data, which does not stop at borders or oceans,” said Arnau Izaguerri, Associate Legal Officer.

The Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Consumer Protection Law and Policy, who are meeting in Geneva for their second session, was established under the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP). The group monitors the application and implementation of the guidelines, provides a forum for consultations, produces research and studies, provides technical assistance and undertakes voluntary peer reviews.

The IGE has reviewed the Consumer Protection Online Questionnaire that has been developed by UNCTAD to help populate the World Consumer Protection Map.

The questionnaire is divided into three key sections: consumer protection legislation; consumer policy institutions; and consumer policies. The compilation of responses will help to compile a wealth of consumer protection knowledge.

The realization of UNCTAD’s World Consumer Protection Map will also help to build an active up-to-date contact list of consumer protection worldwide. The World Consumer Protection Map was presented at the IGE during UNCTAD’s Competition and Consumer Protection Week, and next steps in the development of the tool will be established.

“To protect consumers in this increasingly connected and digital world, it is essential to first have a clear view and understanding of the existing legal frameworks. The World Consumer Protection Map is the answer to this need,” said William Taborda, Information Systems Officer at UNCTAD.

Editor’s comment

Absolutely vital for the travel & tourism industry, one of the worst affected by credit card fraud, identity theft and a host of other problems. It is critical for the card companies, airlines, national tourism organisations, hotels, travel agencies, OTAs and all those who transact online to get a thorough briefing from UNCTAD officials on how they can work together to give this tool maximum traction.