First Roundtables of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative

June 13th and 15th, the first Roundtables took place in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The Roundtables were hosted in Côte d’Ivoire by the Ministry of Public Hygiene, Environment and Sustainable Development (MINSEDD) and in Ghana by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. Participants included representatives from cocoa and chocolate companies, local governments and civil society organizations (CSOs). The roundtables were held to collaboratively build a Framework of Action to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa value chain.

Both the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources of Ghana and the Minister of Public Hygiene, Environment and Sustainable Development in Côte d’Ivoire made public statements to show support for the Initiative and commitment to work together with the cocoa industry towards a framework of action to end deforestation in cocoa.

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are the two largest cocoa producing countries in the world. Rapid deforestation in the past decades presents a direct threat to biodiversity and to cocoa production in the countries and therefore to the environment and the economy.

The Cocoa and Forests Initiative, launched March 16th in London, by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative, World Cocoa Foundation, 12 cocoa companies, and The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit, is now joined by over 30 cocoa companies.

“All cocoa companies involved understand the importance of acting now and acting fast”, says Richard Scobey, President of the World Cocoa Foundation. “I am confident that through the multi-stakeholder process facilitated by IDH, we will be able to present an actionable framework of action at the COP 23 in Bonn in November this year, in order to have a lasting impact in global deforestation in the cocoa supply chain.”  

In each country, three multi-stakeholder roundtable meetings will be planned over the next five months, including public, private, CSO stakeholders, farmer organizations and community representatives. These roundtables will provide strategic guidance for the development of a Framework of Action and the implementation of a suite of actions to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa value chain.

Daan Wensing, Global Landscape Program Director at IDH: “It is important all stakeholders are involved in formulating national level ambitions and the road maps to reach them. Driving green growth in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire needs the commitment of not only government, but private sector, civil society and farmers. Industry commitment across the global value chain is an important building block for this process, and we are happy to see it so strong in the Cocoa and Forests Initiative.”

Supporting the development of the Framework of Action, a transparent and credible process will be developed to measure and monitor progress on the targets in terms of sustainable production, forest protection and restoration, and community/farmer inclusion.

The Roundtables received great media coverage in both Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. A few links to online articles can be found below. The events were also broadcast on national radio and television channels.

Ghana News Agency 

Government to reverse ascendancy of forest degradation

Farmers can now register trees on their farms

Le Gouvernement de Côte d’Ivoire et les industries du cacao unissent leurs forces pour mettre fin à la déforestation