Although the global pandemic caused difficulties and required flexibility, the Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative in Colombia has achieved significant progress over the past year. This included progress on detailing further its 2020-2022 action plan, the development of research projects on cocoa agroforestry, and signature of partnerships with European cocoa platforms. The progress of the Initiative can also be followed through its newly launched dedicated website. The Initiative’s activities in 2019-2020 were financially supported by IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative.
Creation of Thematic Working Groups
Using the 2030 Action plan as a foundation, signatories worked together to create a detailed shorter-term plan for 2020-2022. In 2019, five working groups were set up, each with a focus on one of the strategic outcomes agreed, these included: Deforestation-free cocoa production models; financial instruments that strengthen deforestation-free cocoa models; Monitoring, verification, and traceability systems; Strengthening cocoa institutions against challenges around forests and peace; and the Communication and transparency strategy.
After an intense first half of the year with many meetings, each group has established its own action plan, activities, milestones, and budget, all approved by the Technical Committee.
Definition of the Initiative’s Geographic Focus
The Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative also confirmed its regional focus. In 2019, A total of 5 regions were identified and split into 8 departments, based on forest coverage, cocoa production, armed conflict index, and prioritized PDET regions (Territorially Focused Development Plans by the government).
Over the past months, an additional working group was formed to identify regional municipalities where pilot programs will be implemented. Each of the five strategic outcomes mentioned above depend on a pilot to achieve the milestones of the action plan. The pilots will include new projects as well as ongoing efforts of the signatories in these municipalities and will be presented to the Technical committee in mid-December.
New Signatories to the Framework for Action
The Cocoa, Forests & Peace Initiative is glad to welcome the following new signatories:
- Chuculat – a Colombian chocolate company
- Fundación Etnollano – an NGO that works with indigenous communities in the Amazon region
- Red Cacaotera – a producers association representing 100+ cocoa producers’ organizations.
Each signatory represents a different sector, adding to the diversity of voices and experience in the Colombian cocoa value chain.