The ICCO has published a full report on the International Workshop on Cocoa Certification, held in Douala, Cameroon in June.

The report, which can be downloaded here, includes a summary of the Workshop’s themes, proceedings and outcome, along with its recommendations, a statement by co-organizer the United Nations Forum on Sustainable Standards, a summary of the vision from key stakeholders participating at the Workshop, a fully updated programme and a list of participants.

The Workshop, which was held at the Hotel Sawa in Douala, was co-organized by Cameroon’s Ministry of Commerce and the Office National du Café et du Cacao (ONCC). It was kindly sponsored by the Government of Cameroon, the UNFSS, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Hershey, Mondelēz International and Mars Chocolate.

Pictured: The trade and industry perspective panel at the International Workshop on Cocoa Certification in Douala

LONDON, 22 July 2013—The African Cocoa Coalition (ACC), which comprises autonomous non-governmental organizations and farmer groups active in the cocoa sector, has become the 35th stakeholder to sign the Abidjan Cocoa Declaration.

David Guba Kpelle, the ACC’s Programme Director, signed the Declaration on behalf of the Coalition at the recent International Workshop on Cocoa Certification in Douala, Cameroon.

ACC has been playing an active role in the ICCO’s multi-stakeholder sustainability initiatives in the cocoa sector since the first Roundtable on Sustainable Cocoa Economy was held in Accra in 2007 and it has since been involved in capacity building for cocoa farmers, including training them to form strong associations and cooperatives.

The ground-breaking Abidjan Cocoa Declaration now has 35 signatories from across the entire cocoa sector. The international stakeholders began signing the Declaration at a special ceremony during the first World Cocoa Conference in Abidjan in November.

The Declaration recommends specific and measurable actions to achieve a sustainable cocoa economy, and reflects the more detailed proposals of the Global Cocoa Agenda. The important issues highlighted by the Agenda formed the basis of the many presentations and panels that took place at the Conference.

The Declaration is the first step in an ongoing process aimed at creating a sustainable future for the cocoa sector and helping to ensure that its benefits are shared along the entire chain, starting with the growers. Another World Cocoa Conference, planned for 9 – 13 June, 2014 in Amsterdam, is set to monitor and review the progress being made to deal with the issues outlined by the Declaration and the Agenda.

The texts of both the Abidjan Cocoa Declaration and the Global Cocoa Agenda, as well as most of the presentations that were delivered at the first World Cocoa Conference, can be downloaded here.

The other signatories to the Abidjan Cocoa Declaration are: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Togo, Papua New Guinea, Mars, Mondelēz International, Nestlé, Blommer Chocolate, CEMOI, Ferrero Trading, Armajaro Trading Ltd, ADM, Barry Callebaut, Cargill,  Hershey, Petra Foods, Amtrada/Continaf, Noble Group, Olam International / Outspan Ivoire, Touton, Transmar Group, Federation of Cocoa Commerce, CAOBISCO, World Cocoa Foundation, IDH (Dutch Sustainable Agriculture Initiative), ECA (European Cocoa Association), ACP (The Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States), Talents (farmer), ICI (International Cocoa Initiative) and HCCO (Hamburg Cocoa & Commodity Office GmbH).

The Declaration remains open, and all cocoa stakeholders are urged to sign it.

Nicaragua on 15 July 2013 acceded to the International Cocoa Agreement 2010, the United Nations Treaty Section has confirmed.

Click here to see the official notification of accession to the Agreement from the United Nations.

London, 12 July 2013—The ICCO’s latest International Workshop brought to Douala, Cameroon a group of world experts to tackle the thorny issue of certification in the cocoa sector.

The International Workshop on Cocoa Certification, which took place from 24 to 27 June 2013 at the Sawa Hotel in Douala (the commercial capital of Cameroon), attracted over 150 participants from all over the African producing region and the world of cocoa. It was organized in conjunction with Cameroon’s Ministry of Commerce, the Office National du Café et du Cacao (ONCC) and the United Nations Forum on Sustainable Standards (UNFSS).

The Workshop’s participants, who included farmers, government officials, representatives of the cocoa and chocolate industries, certification bodies, civil society and international agencies, reviewed cocoa certification with the aim of making recommendations on the best approach to achieve sustainability.

At the end of four days of discussions, the Workshop, which heard from 30 speakers and panellists, adopted a list of recommendations including: enhancing transparency on the impact of certification on farmers’ livelihood, through collecting and disseminating information on sustainability standards; acknowledging the role of existing certification schemes, alongside those in development, as potentially efficient tools through which to support the development of a sustainable cocoa economy; and requesting UNFSS consultation for a better understanding of sustainability standards. The workshop also requested the ICCO to facilitate a direct dialogue between governments representing cocoa producing countries and the cocoa and chocolate companies on this issue.

The week-long event was kindly sponsored by the Government of Cameroon, the UNFSS, the Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), Hershey, Mondelēz International and Mars Chocolate.

Pictured: Farmer David Aidoo addresses the ICCO’s Cocoa Certification Workshop in Douala, Cameroon in late June 2013 (top); Karin Kreider of ISEAL (above); Christopher Wunderlich of UNFSS (left)

Full details of the Certification Workshop are available by clicking here to go the announcement page, where most of the presentations and all of the recommendations are available for download.