The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly, established in 1964 to promote trade, investment, and development in developing countries. Headquartered in Geneva, UNCTAD has 194 member States as well as numerous intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other observers.
The quadrennial ministerial Conference is the highest decision-making body of UNCTAD. It is widely attended by stakeholders in development including Heads of State and Government, Ministers and representatives of governments, international institutions, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and the private sector.
It sets UNCTAD's mandate and work priorities and, thanks to its design of formal and informal sessions, facilitates dialogue on the world's key and emerging issues affecting the global economy, discusses policy options and formulates global policy responses.
The Conference includes high-level round tables on key issues in the international economic debate. Informal thematic side events are also held with the aim to promote interactive discussions on development issues. The World Investment Forum and a Commodities Forum, which are an integral part of the Conference, bring together thousands of business and government representatives to advance developing countries' participation in these sectors.