UN Guidelines research


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Download Updating the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection

The United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection are an influential declaration of best practices in consumer protection law and policy. But as they were last amended in 1999, they are now overdue for an update - not least in areas where advances in technology have affected consumers, such as access to knowledge, Internet and telecommunications services, e-commerce, and digital products and services.

Consumers International (CI), as the global campaigning voice for consumers, is well placed to make recommendations about what amendments should be made to address these new and emerging areas of consumer rights. This publication - which is a companion volume to a broader set of amendments developed by CI - explains our reasoning behind those proposed amendments that particularly affect consumers in the digital age.

A focus of this volume - and of the Guidelines themselves - is on how effective consumer laws and policies can benefit consumers in developing and emerging economies. As such, in-depth analysis is provided of how the proposed amendments relate to consumers in India, Brazil and South Africa, either by reflecting existing best practices in those countries, or by shining light on problem areas that the proposed amendments could help address.


Book launch events

We are holding the following events to launch this publication, at which you will have the opportunity to hear from the Consumers International staff and members who are directly involved in the UN Guidelines review, and from the researchers who contributed to the publication. You and your colleagues are cordially invited to attend the event nearest you:

New Delhi, 28 June 2013, 12:00-14:00

  • Venue: IDRC Asia Regional Office, 208 Jor Bagh, New Delhi 110003, India
  • Date: Friday 28 June 2013, 12 noon to 2pm. The event will be catered.
  • Agenda:
    12:00 Registration and welcome drink
    12:10 Welcome remarks by Dr Anindya Chatterjee, IDRC
    12:20 The UN Guidelines, the Internet and consumer protection by Amarjeet Singh, CUTS International
    12:35 CI proposals for amendments to the Guidelines by Jeremy Malcolm, Senior Policy Officer, Consumers International
    12:50 Consumer Protection Laws and the Online Environment by Vipul Kharbanda, Centre for Internet and Society
    1:05 Remaining time for lunch, discussion and networking
  • RSVP: By 21 June 2013 please to jeremy@ciroap.org.

WITS University, 4 July 2013, 17:00-19:00

  • Venue: G17 / Atrium, Professional Development Hub, University of the Witwatersrand, 92 Empire Road, Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Date: Thursday 4 July 2013, 5pm to 7pm. The event will be catered.
  • Agenda:
    17:00 Registration and welcome drink
    17:15 Introduction to the UN Guidelines by Onica Makwakwa, Head, Africa Office, Consumers International
    17:30 Access to knowledge issues by Pria Chetty
    17:45 Telecommunications issues by Charley Lewis, LINK Centre
    18:00 Remaining time for refreshments, discussion and networking
  • RSVP: By 27 June 2013 please to jeremy@ciroap.org.

São Paulo, Brazil, 12 August 2013, 17:00-19:00

  • Venue: IDEC, Rua Desembargador Guimarães, 21 - Água Branca - 05002-050 - São Paulo - SP, Brazil
  • Date: Monday 29 July 2013, 5pm to 7pm. The event will be catered.
  • Agenda:
    17:00 Registration and welcome drink
    17:15 Opening session with Marilena Lazzarini (Idec) and Juliana Pereira (National Secretary of Consumer - Ministry of Justice)
    17:45 Introduction to the UN Guidelines by Antonino Serra Cambaceres
    18:00 Brazilian context to UN Guidelines amendments and IDEC's work on music, film, Internet and copyright by Veridiana Alimonti, IDEC and Mariana Valente, invited researcher
    18:30 Remaining time for refreshments, discussion and networking
  • RSVP: By 5 August 2013 please to jeremy@ciroap.org.


This publication, supported by IDRC, is based on research undertaken by Consumers International and its partners to support our campaign for amendments to the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection. Our strategy was to focus on the countries of India, Brazil and South Africa through partnerships with the following member/partners:

With additional contributions and guidance from consumer policy expert Robin Brown of Australia and Charley Lewis of South Africa, these core partners contributed research papers that became chapters of a publication covering all of the proposed additions to the Guidelines, incorporating primary and secondary sources.

Alongside the core partners, other CI members contributed specific case studies to the treatment of particular sections of the amendments.

Our core partners have also taken the lead in presenting their research and liaising with their national governments with a view to having those governments support the amendments within the UN system. Their experiences also fed into a resource manual, for which Robin Brown and Alan Asher were primarily responsible, providing guidance on UN-level consumer advocacy.

Working documents and links

Provisional summary timeline for overall project16.97 KB
Accepted project proposal to IDRC202.42 KB

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