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close this bookThe NGLS Handbook of UN Agencies, Programmes and Funds Working for Economic and Social Development (NGLS)
close this folderUnited nations conference on trade and development (UNCTAD)
View the documentOrigins and background
View the documentUNCTAD activities
View the documentNGO relations

Origins and background

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is the principal organ of the General Assembly in the field of trade and development. It was established as a permanent intergovernmental body in 1964 (GA Resolution 1995 XIX) in Geneva as a result of the first session of the conference, with a view to accelerating economic growth and development, particularly that of developing countries.

UNCTAD was established to affirm the United Nations General Assembly's conviction that international cooperation in trade and development is vital for world economic growth and the economic development of developing countries. Since 1964, UNCTAD has greatly evolved—its history is linked to the difficult but immensely challenging history of North-South cooperation. Its special quality is its concern with change as the hallmark of development, which explains the evolution that has marked UNCTAD's existence during the last three decades.