UNCTAD: When consumer interests are protected, social and economic progress follows – supporting countries to meet the SDGs
When consumer interests are protected, social and economic progress follows - supporting achieving the SDGs, - says the UNCTAD Report of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy, heard on 9 and 10 July 2018.
The Report aimed at informing policymakers and law enforcement agencies about the positive impacts of the consumer protection on promoting a more inclusive and sustainable development
The UNCTAD experts in consumer rights protection point out a clear link between better consumer rights and achieving the SDG. At the same time the UNCTAD experts see the existing gap - the link between consumer rights and achieving the SDGs is not properly minded in the indicator's framework.
The two indicators that have been introduced by the UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group (IAEG) to monitor progress towards Target 16.3 focus exclusively on state-reported aspects of the criminal justice system and do not cover civil justice system. Therefore, most of the cases related to the consumer rights protection remain uncovered. Some experts underscored that for achieving SDG 16 on peace, justice and effective, accountable and inclusive institutions it is important to focus on the civil justice system and legal empowerment of consumers.
Consumer protection and development has already been explored in an UNCTAD report published earlier this year which detailed how consumer policy "can support the implementation of many, if not all, of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals". The report mapped the link between the Sustainable Development Goals and the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection, revised and adopted by the General Assembly in 2015. "Consumer protection measures contribute to equity and social justice by enhancing the bargaining equality between both the interests of the consumer and producer," - said the report. The report upheld that right of consumers to safe and nutritious food contributes to, among others, Goal 2 on ending hunger and Goal 3 on ensuring healthy lives.