What was your contribution to the event?:
The CI delegation comprised Indrani Thuraisingham covering the general matters, Robin Simpson covering financial services, and Jeremy Malcolm covering CDA (mainly e-commerce and access to knowledge). We each interceded during the session to make our case for the amendments developed by CI and its members, and for the establishment of a UN Standing Commission on Consumer Protection.
What outcomes do you have to report?:
The Consumers International delegation that presented out proposal for revision of the UN Guidleines achieved a good outcome, though the process from this point forward will be more drawn out than we expected. UNCTAD will form working groups of member states and observers, which CI will be part of, to work on the text. Ultimately however the Secretariat will be responsible for finalising the text, drawing upon our advice. There will be a working group on e-commerce, one on financial services, one on our proposal for a Standing Commission on Consumer Protection, and likely one on everything else that we or others have proposed, including data protection (though this subject was particularly contentious).
The text will be finalised by the Secretariat by July 2014, then to be forwarded to the 7th UN Review Conference on the UN Set of Multilaterally Agreed Equitable Principles and Rules for the Control of Restrictive Business Practices (UN Set) scheduled for 2015. Then it is hoped that the UN Set meeting might decide to forward the draft to the UNGA for approval, though we have no direct control over that so continued lobbying of governments will be essential. A shortcoming of this pathway is that the the UN Set meeting will be composed of competition policy experts, not consumer protection experts - all the more reason for the establishment of a Standing Commission on Consumer Protection, as we have proposed. The official conclusions of the meeting have not yet been released, but we will make them available when they are.