Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Consumers International World Congress - Day 1 roundup

Consumer leaders from more than 60 countries have gathered in Hong Kong to address the global challenge of financial consumer protection.

Day 1 of Congress was all about Fringe Events. You can find here photos of delegates from around the globe, who arrived in Hong Kong and took part in the sessions.

Hong Kong Consumer Council (HKCC) CEO, Connie Lau
, has welcomed delegates to the CI World Congress, noting that "this is a moment not only to foster cultural understanding and partnership, it also presents a great opportunity for exploring ways to protect and empower consumer rights".

In other highlights:

As one of the hosts of Consumers International World Congress 2011, the Hong Kong Consumer Council has been busy with preparatory tasks, ranging from working out conference themes, to selecting souvenirs for participants. Finding suitable souvenirs for the conference delegates wasn't easy, reports Hong Kong newspaper The Standard.

After visiting many social enterprises, HKCC Chief Executive Connie Lau finally decided upon a workshop for the mentally handicapped and its picture frames and magnetic gifts - miniature replicas of popular local snacks, such as a kai mei bun, French toast and egg tarts. Each gift is inexpensive but is handmade and unique. Even the sesame seeds on each kai mei bun are different.

Not enough 'brain power' spent on consumers during financial crisis - French Finance Minister and chair of the G20 finance ministers in 2011, Christine Lagarde to tell CI World Congress.

In a video address to the Congress, Christine Lagarde will say:

"It is my personal belief that on the occasion of the [financial] crisis we didn't spend a lot of time, nor a lot of brain power on consumers", going on to say, "consumers were the victims on many occasions and in many instances".

Madame Lagarde will add: "It is only fair that consumers are part of the process of rebuilding trust and rebuilding regulation and making sure that the same situation does not happen again."

The message from Madame Lagarde will be followed by a keynote address from James Guest, Vice President of CI and CEO of Consumers Union in the United States. Highlighting the impact of financial abuses in the US, India, Egypt, Spain and Bosnia, James Guest will talk about the significance of the CI campaign on financial services.

Rob Steele, Secretary-General of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has sent a welcome message to CI World Congress delegates.

Steele introduces COPOLCO, ISO and the work with Consumers International.

Academic Jonathon Hanks
told CI ahead of his presentation on Wednesday that he would hope "delegates would leave with a heightened sense of the fundamentally important role that consumer bodies can play in addressing sustainability challenges, an appreciation of the responsibility that they have in doing so, and some practical ideas on actions that they can take to deliver on this responsibility." 

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