Governments take first step towards an official UN World Consumer Protection Week

Announcement from Consumers International (CI):

In a very positive step forward, national consumer protection ministries and agencies have reached agreement on a proposal for the United Nations (UN) to make World Consumer Protection Week an official UN observance.

The proposal calls for the week to be held each year in the week in which the 15 March falls. The proposal will now be passed to the UN General Assembly later this year for a final decision.

Last year Consumers International began work to call for UN member states to recognise World Consumer Rights Day as the UN observance. During the consultation process it became clear that the inclusion of ‘rights’ was not acceptable to all member states due to the different status of rights and protections in various countries. As decisions at the UNCTAD Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Policy and Law (IGE) are made by consensus, progress was only possible if the proposal was changed to refer to ‘World Consumer Protection Week’.

As a result, Consumers International consulted with our members on supporting UN recognition of an international day or week for consumer protection, even if it didn’t use the term ‘rights’ and the majority of members supported this as a positive compromise.

If the proposal is adopted at the UN General Assembly later this year, Consumers International will continue to mark the 15 March as World Consumer Rights Day, within the UN recognised World Consumer Protection Week.

World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated in more than eighty countries on 15 March every year. The day marks an address made by US President JF Kennedy to the US senate in which he set out four basic consumer rights. These were later expanded to the eight consumer rights recognised by consumer organisations around the world.

Creating an official United Nations World Consumer Protection Week will help to raise awareness of  the importance of  consumer protection amongst governments, businesses and consumers and will support implementation of the recently revised UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection.

Click here to see the full media release from Consumers International.