Research Guides United Nations Office at Geneva Library & Archives

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

About the history of UNCTAD

In the early 1960s, growing concerns about the place of developing countries in international trade led many of these countries to call for the convening of a full-fledged conference specifically devoted to tackling these problems and identifying appropriate international actions.

The first United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was held in Geneva in 1964. Given the magnitude of the problems at stake and the need to address them, the conference was institutionalized to meet every four years, with intergovernmental bodies meeting between sessions and a permanent secretariat providing the necessary substantive and logistical support.

A brief history of UNCTAD

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UNCTAD's 50th Anniversary

In 2014, UNCTAD celebrated the 50th anniversary of its establishment with various events.

Find more information about the anniversary celebrations on the dedicated web page: UNCTAD@50.

And read about UNCTAD's history in the newly published report:

UNCTAD History in the Making

This presentation is a visual journey through the history of UNCTAD, from its first Conference in 1964, through the events that have shaped its history in the last 50 years and to its forthcoming Conference (UNCTAD XIV), in Lima, Peru, in 2016.  Done by UNCTAD, 22 January 2015.