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The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) says it plans to undertake a review of the International Cocoa Agreement.

A Working Group on the International Cocoa Agreement met 17-18 July at the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States in Brussels. After some debate, it was concluded that the present agreement has shortcomings which did not enable it to effectively address the challenges currently facing the global cocoa sector.

As a result, the ICCO said, two options need to be considered: retain the International Cocoa Agreement, 2010 but amend some of its provisions, pursuant to its Article 63, to improve its relevance; or start the process for negotiation of a new agreement.

In both cases, a compilation of members’ comments on this issue will be submitted to the Administrative and Finance Committee, and a final decision will be taken by the International Cocoa Council at its September 2017 meetings in Abidjan.

Representatives from ICCO exporting and importing member countries, the cocoa trade and industry, and development organizations, met in Brussels on 19-20 July 2017 in the context of a Multi-stakeholder Platform on Cocoa Market Developments.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss current cocoa market developments, particularly the issue of declining cocoa prices, its negative impact on the incomes of cocoa farmers and cocoa-dependent producing countries and the measures to address these challenges.

A number of positions were agreed, including the need for a new approach. The platform called on all stakeholders to develop a new international framework of co-operation and a package of short-term and long-term actions to ensure sustainable livelihoods for cocoa farmers and the sustainability of the cocoa value chain, consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. In this respect, the government representatives recommended a revision of the International Cocoa Agreement, 2010.

The platform acknowledged the need for better coordination of national production policies and programs in cocoa-producing countries to ensure a supply consistent with global demand projections.

It also recognised the need for diversification  of  income  to  mitigate  the  negative  effects  of  fluctuations  in  cocoa  prices,  increase resilience and improve their livelihoods.

All  relevant  stakeholders  were  called  upon  to  invest  in  the  professionalization  and  empowerment  of  cocoa farmers. The platform encouraged all stakeholders and particularly the governments of cocoa-producing countries to invest in helpful policies, institutions and infrastructure.

It was also agreed to expand the consumption of cocoa and chocolate products in emerging markets, and the platform called for more transparency in the operations of the cocoa sector, in particular closer cooperation among market participants to enable a better access to information.

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