A train-for-trainers workshop focusing on strengthening the capacity of consumer protection practitioners in three key areas: i) consumer credit and banking, ii) environment, and iii) professional services, was convened from 31 August – 2 September 2015 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. Comprehensive modules were developed to support institutional capacity and build a cadre of consumer protection trainers to raise level of compliance of consumer protection laws and regulations. These modules are expected to be used as reference training materials by ASEAN Member States (AMS) to develop and implement training programs at the national level.
Government personnel from relevant ministries and agencies went through a series of exercises (case studies and role play) from identifying consumer-related issues in each area and the corresponding consumer protection laws and policies or regulatory framework to the pre and post market interventions including dispute resolution mechanisms that should be implemented. The training also provided the opportunity for AMS to share information and best practices of consumer complaint handling in their respective agencies, to identify issues hindering effective consumer protection enforcement and means to improve their respective consumer redress schemes. A related initiative, ASEAN Complaint and Redress Mechanism Models developed guidelines to facilitate AMS to develop relevant redress mechanisms to facilitate consumer complaints.
Facilitated by UNCTAD and prominent experts in the field, the training was convened with the support of the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program II (AADCP II) as part of the project "Strengthening Technical Competency for Consumer Protection in ASEAN".
The second full-scale training, to take place from 5-7 October 2015 in Manila, the Philippines, will discuss the remaining three modules focusing on the following: i) product safety and labeling, ii) healthcare services, and iii) phone, and internet services and ecommerce.