Established in 1964, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is the UN's main organ in the field of trade and development. It is the driving force behind the United Nations system's integrated approach to development problems and to the closely related issues of trade, funding, technology, investment and sustainable development.
Its main objectives are to help Third World countries so that they can get the most out of the trade, investment and development opportunities available to them, come to terms with the problems stemming from globalization, and carve out their rightful place in the world economy.
More specifically, UNCTAD - with its 188 member states - assists developing countries, especially the least-developed ones, in deriving maximum benefit from globalization, becoming well integrated into the international trading system, increasing their export capacity, diversifying their commodity production, managing their debt, attracting capital, improving investment conditions and strengthening their technological capacities.
UNCTAD works in close co-operation with a host of other organizations in the United Nations system, including the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as with a wide range of private and public agencies at both the national and international levels.