Good progress was made at the International Cocoa Organization’s September 2019 meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and a number of important decisions were taken.
The meeting of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) was an auspicious one, hosting as it did the 100th meeting of the International Cocoa Council (ICC), an event that was chaired, along with the opening ceremony, by the Vice President of Côte d’Ivoire, Daniel Kablan Duncan.
Speaking to C&CI not long after the meeting took place, the Executive Director of the UN cocoa body, Michel Arrion, said there had been “a strong convergence of views” in the opening remarks of the President of the ICC (Madagascar), Côte d’Ivoire’s Vice President, and the response of the EU, representing importing countries.
“The messages focused on the need to improve the living income of cocoa farmers, better distribution of the value added along the chain, and the necessity to integrate social and environmental costs into international prices,” Mr Arrion told C&CI.
“The EU explicitly said they were supporting joint efforts of Côte d’Ivoire Ghana to raise prices and that they were willing to engage with Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana – and any other country invited to join the process – at bilateral level and at multilateral level,” Mr Arrion told C&CI.
“Our Strategic Plan of Action (2019-2024) was also adopted at the meeting,” Mr Arrion said, “focusing on farmers’ incomes and on environmental sustainability.
“The priorities for the Secretariat were further developed and approved, on the basis of three concept notes on improved statistics, better communication/visibility – particularly the ICCO’s website and use of social media – and being more proactive in reconstituting our portfolio of projects. A note on the generic promotion of cocoa consumption was also discussed.”
As briefly highlighted in the September 2019 issue of C&CI, the dates and venue of the next World Cocoa Conference have also been approved by the ICCO. The event will take place in Bali at the Nusa Dua Convention Centre, 20-23 September 2020.
Regarding the conference, Mr Arrion said that, apart from approving the venue and dates, a first discussion took place on the main themes to be discussed, centring around living income and value distribution, and on promoting consumption in emerging markets, in Asia in particular.
As Mr Arrion also explained, the chair of the working group on the revision of the ICA 2010 reported on the completion of a first review of all of the articles of the agreement, and the Council will hold a special session on 30-31 March 2019 to review all of the proposals in detail and decide on the next steps.
During the meeting in Abidjan, the chair of the ad hoc panel on fine flavour cocoa reported on the recommendations of the panel of experts and the Council provisionally adopted a new list of fine flavour countries with new percentages (the final list needs to be fine-tuned, a process that will be completed at the next session in April 2020).
The Côte d’Ivoire meeting also saw the ICCO’s next budget, for the period 2019-2020, approved.
“Overall, the meetings had a very rich agenda and saw very good discussions, with a consensus on all the main points,” Mr Arrion concluded.