Speaking at the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Consumer Protection Law and Policy of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) today, BASCAP Policy Advisor P. Suriya Prabha highlighted the significant risks to consumer health and safety associated with the proliferation of potentially hazardous counterfeit products and their increasing availability online.
The BASCAP intervention urged member states to include anti-counterfeiting and-piracy strategies in national consumer protection efforts, including for online platforms, and delivered BASCAP recommendations outlined in Strengthening Consumer Protection – Measures to adapt the UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection to guard against counterfeiting and piracy.
The BASCAP paper contains key provisions from the UN Guidelines grouped into three categories and provides policy recommendations for consideration by national governments; notably: Access to information, raising consumer awareness and increasing protection on e-commerce.
Calling attention to the importance of protecting consumers from online fraud, including the rampant availability of counterfeit goods on e-commerce platforms, Ms Prabha highlighted measures from BASCAP’s best practices to remove fakes from online platforms and offered BASCAP assistance to interested member states to help build robust consumer protection systems to ensure consumers have access to legitimate and non-hazardous goods.
BASCAP also offered assistance to UNCTAD to facilitate cooperation with the private sector and promote principles for good business practices reflecting BASCAP’s mandate.
The Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Law and Policy is a standing body established under the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP) to monitor the application and implementation of the guidelines, provide a forum for consultations, produce research and studies, provide technical assistance, undertake voluntary peer reviews, and periodically update the guidelines.
The meeting, taking place from 3-4 July, included delegates from UN member states responsible for consumer protection, and representatives from consumer protection groups and industry bodies.