The Consumers’ Federation of Australia (CFA) have called on the Federal Government to support the recognition of World Consumer Rights Day as an official United Nations Observance.

Consumers International (CI) are currently campaigning for the United Nations to recognise the day as an official UN observance, and are working with consumer advocacy groups around the world to bolster the campaign. Advocates hope World Consumer Rights Day can join similar international days held on important global issues, such as women’s rights, child rights, the environment and health issues.

UN recognition of World Consumer Rights Day is an important step in supporting the implementation of the newly revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection. It will help to raise awareness of consumer protection amongst governments, business and consumers and strengthen consumers’ rights in countries where it is currently weak.

CFA is supporting this campaign as a member of Consumers International, which is the international federation of consumer organisations with more than 200 Member organisations around the world.

CFA has asked the Minister for Small Business, Michael McCormack MP, to support this initiative by backing the proposal at the meeting of the UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy in July, and calling upon the Minister for Foreign Affairs and our country mission to confirm their support.

World Consumer Rights Day has been held on March 15 every year for the last 33 years. In recent years the day has been marked in more than 90 countries, with a wide variety of consumer organisations, national consumer agencies, international organisations and individuals from around the world taking part in a range of activities. In Australia, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) marks the day with its annual National Consumer Congress.

Given the historic adoption of the revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection that was achieved at the end of 2015, there is now an urgent need to raise awareness of these protections for consumers around the globe. UN recognition of World Consumer Rights Day can play a crucial part in this.

Formally recognising World Consumer Rights Day as a UN Observance, could help this important annual moment play an even more powerful role in raising awareness of consumer rights and highlighting inadequate consumer protection. Official UN recognition can help to put consumer rights on the map of even more organisations, governments, companies and media outlets. It can help to raise awareness by engaging more people, in more activities, in more countries.

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