As part of the awareness-raising activities on the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), a delegation from the CFI technical secretariat composed of representatives of the Ministry of Water and Forests, the Cocoa-Coffee Council and IDH organized stakeholder information workshops in the regions of Cavally (Guiglo, 12 August 2020), Guémon (Duekoué, 13 August 2020), Nawa (Soubré, 03 September 2020) and San-Pedro (San Pedro, 04 September 2020). The main objective of these workshops was to generate ownership and support from local authorities in the implementation of activities in the CFI priority regions. More specifically, they aimed to:
- Introduce the forest policy and the new forest code of Côte d’Ivoire and its importance for cocoa production;
- Introduce local authorities to the context, commitments, stakeholders, and main activities covered by the Cocoa & Forests Initiative;
- Identify supportive actions by regional authorities to facilitate the implementation of activities within CFI priority regions and collect their recommendations.
In total, more than 279 people participated in these workshops, including administrative and political authorities, village chiefs, youth and women representatives, civil society organizations, representatives of the cocoa and chocolate industry, and members of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative Technical Secretariat.
During the exchanges, relevant recommendations were made by the participants, namely:
- The Ministry of Water and Forests should conduct a campaign to raise awareness among local authorities and communities on the new provisions set out in the strategy for the preservation, rehabilitation and extension of forests and the forest code.
- The stakeholders of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative should raise awareness among producers on the beneficial relationship between forests and sustainable cocoa production and the benefits of new production techniques such as agroforestry.
- The Cocoa & Forests Initiative stakeholders should prioritize the involvement of local communities (including workers) in the implementation of forest restoration activities.
At the end of the workshops, the local authorities reiterated their thanks to the government of Côte d’Ivoire and its partners for setting up a public-private partnership platform through the Cocoa & Forests Initiative. They pledged to support all the actions of the initiative in their respective regions. As a next steps, the NGO IDEF has been recruited by the Technical Secretariat of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to organize further community awareness sessions in localities in the CFI priority regions with the support of local authorities and other local civil society organizations.
These awareness-raising sessions are being organized with the financial support of IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Partnerships for Forests (P4F) and GIZ.