Joint efforts of chocolate industry and government of Côte d’Ivoire to halt deforestation announced

Today the government of Côte d’Ivoire and companies involved in the chocolate and cocoa supply chain presented a series of practical actions to implement the Joint Framework of Action signed at COP23 in Bonn last November.

Read the article on Ghana here.

The announcement heralds the next phase of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), initiated and led by the Ministry of Water and Forests, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and IDH.

Through this initiative, the industry and the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are working together to end deforestation and forest degradation caused by cocoa farming.

During today’s meeting, the Ivorian government and the industry representatives presented the results of work jointly conducted over the past six months by working groups on forest preservation, agroforestry, social inclusion, traceability, finance and monitoring & evaluation. Among the outcomes was the identification of the first five priority regions in Côte d’Ivoire where CFI activities will be carried out: Guémon, Cavally, Nawa, San Pedro and La Mé.

Progress was also reported in defining the policy plan to halt deforestation and forest degradation by 2020, including a unified traceability system, implementation of agroforestry in cocoa production and the creation of a public-private fund for forest preservation.

Alain Donwahi, Minister of Water and Forestry Côte d’Ivoire:

“I hope that the start-up phase covering the period 2018-2020, during which pilot actions will be carried out, is followed by a longer extension phase with a minimum duration of 10 years to obtain the significant impacts envisaged.”

Jonas Mva Mva, IDH’s Cocoa Program Director said:

“With the validation of the implementation plan a key step has been taken for the partners to move to action on the ground. The coming months will be crucial to further expand and reinforce the existing experiences, while assuring the engagement of local communities in the forest protection plans.”

Rick Scobey, President of WCF said:

“WCF and nearly 30 companies are committed to support the implementation of the Ivorian government’s new strategic directions. We will remain a trusted partner to ensure the sustainability of cocoa, the health of the planet, and the prosperity of Ivorian cocoa farmers.”

The set of public-private actions announced today represent unprecedented commitments on forest protection and restoration, and sustainable cocoa production and farmer livelihoods. These combined actions, which are aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, will play a crucial role in sequestering carbon stocks and thereby addressing global and local climate change.

CFI is an active commitment by the top cocoa-producing countries, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, and leading chocolate and cocoa companies to end deforestation and restore forest areas, through no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.

The commitment was signed into Frameworks of Action at the 23rd United Nations Climate Change Conference, and plays a crucial role in supporting forest carbon sequestration and thereby mitigating global and local climate change. Through the agreement, companies and governments are taking action through joint planning, to eliminate illegal cocoa production in national parks, in line with stronger enforcement of national forest policies and development of alternative livelihoods for affected farmers.

More than 50 stakeholders are engaged in the implementation of the Frameworks, championed by chocolate and cocoa companies and high-level government officials who are actively supported with the expertise of development partners, research organizations, environmental and civil society organizations and farmer associations. The Initiative is chaired by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and facilitated by IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).

For a complete list of companies who have committed to the joint framework of action, see here.

Read more here: The Cocoa & Forests Initiative

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