Edited by Stephen Tully
Chapter 119: UN: Guidelines for Consumer Protection, 1999
Commentary: In recognition that consumer protection influenced economic and social development, ECOSOC requested the UN Secretary-General to prepare a survey (1977) and comprehensive report (1979) for the purposes of formulating an international policy framework (1981). Draft guidelines were prepared in 1983 prior to their final adoption: UNGA Resolution 39/248 (1985). They were intended to assist governments to develop national law and policy with respect to consumer protection. The CSD called for an expanded version (UN Doc E/1995/32) in the light of changing consumption patterns: see Agenda 21, Chapter 4 and UN Secretary-General Reports, UN Docs E/CN.17/1995/13 & E/1995/70. ECOSOC made similar requests: ECOSOC Resolutions 1995/53 and 1997/53. Various proposals were made to incorporate the concept of sustainable consumption: see UN Secretary-General Report, UN Doc E/CN.17/1998/5 and the recommendations of the Interregional Expert Group Meeting on Consumer Protection and Sustainable Consumption, São Paulo, UN Doc E/CN.17/1998/5. The UNGA Resolution adopting the version of the Guidelines (UN Doc A/C.2/54/L.24 (1999)) encouraged relevant NGOs to support effective implementation. The extracts below are limited to corporate roles and responsibilities. The ICC has also formulated several consumer codes stating best marketing practice: see the International Code of Advertising Practice (1937 and revised 1949, 1955, 1966, 1973, 1987 and 1997); the Guidelines on Advertising and Marketing on the Internet (1998); and the International Code of Direct Selling (1999). Codes formulated by consumer organisations emphasise corporate adherence to national competition and advertising law: see, for example, Consumers International (1997), ‘A Consumer Charter for Global Business’, London; Consumers...
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