United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Established in 1964, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), promotes the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. UNCTAD has progressively evolved into an authoritative knowledge-based institution whose work aims to help shape current policy debates and thinking on development, with a particular focus on ensuring that domestic policies and international action are mutually supportive in bringing about sustainable development.


The organisation works to fulfil this mandate by carrying out three key functions:

  • It functions as a forum for intergovernmental deliberations, supported by discussions with experts and exchanges of experience, aimed at consensus building.
  • It undertakes research, policy analysis and data collection for the debates of government representatives and experts.
  • It provides technical assistance tailored to the specific requirements of developing countries, with special attention to the needs of the least developed countries and of economies in transition. When appropriate, UNCTAD cooperates with other organisations and donor countries in the delivery of technical assistance.

The Secretary-General of UNCTAD is Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi (Thailand), who took office on 1 September 2005.

In performing its functions, the secretariat works together with member Governments and interacts with organisations of the United Nations system and regional commissions, as well as with governmental institutions, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, including trade and industry associations, research institutes and universities worldwide.


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