Update: CI proposal for UN recognition of WCRD

14 Nov 2016

CI’s proposal for the United Nations to recognise World Consumer Rights Day as an official UN International Day was launched at the start of this year and in less than twelve months has made some good progress. 

This October, with the support of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) the proposal was tabled for discussion at the first UN Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on Consumer Protection. This meeting was established under the revision of the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection and brings together senior representatives from government consumer protection agencies around the world.

Several country representatives spoke in favour of the proposal - a testament to the many letters and meetings that CI members have written and held over the last six months. However, some reservations were expressed by one country delegation and, as a result, the meeting agreed to hold further consultations.  Due to the fact that the IGE works on a consensus basis, the final notes of the meeting propose a consultation on UN recognition of a ‘World Consumer Day’ in line with the suggestions of the one country delegation rather than the ‘World Consumer Rights Day' proposal.  Consumers International have already made it very clear that we do not support the proposal for a ‘World Consumer Day’.

In an international context there is risk that this could be misunderstood (intentionally or unintentionally) as a celebration of consumption. This would undermine the work that Consumers International, our Members and many national consumer agencies do to promote responsible and sustainable consumption patterns. It would also run counter to many international commitments such as those relating to sustainable consumption and production, and climate change. As such Consumers International is not be able to support this proposal.

Nevertheless it is important to note that broad support for the CI proposal for UN recognition of ‘World Consumer Rights Day’ has been established among member states as a consequence of excellent work this year and CI will be working with our members to campaign for a successful outcome at the next Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on Consumer Protection in mid-2017.

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