ABIDJAN, 23 November 2012–The Abidjan Cocoa Declaration—outlining a course of action to bring about major changes in the cocoa sector–was signed at the end of the successful first-ever edition of the World Cocoa Conference, held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire during the week of 19-23 November 2012.
The Conference, which was attended by over 1,200 delegates from cocoa producing and consuming nations all over the world, climaxed with the signing of the Abidjan Cocoa Declaration by representatives of the cocoa sector stakeholders, including governments, producers, processors, exporters, traders, chocolate manufacturers and civil society. The Declaration aims to move the entire sector onto a path of sustainable development that will benefit all stakeholders along the cocoa value chain.
The Conference was officially opened by the President of Côte d’Ivoire, His Excellency Dr. Alassane Ouattara (pictured top), with the Ivorian Prime Minister also inaugurating the adjacent Exhibition. Delegates were also able to hear an address on the subject of the worst forms of child labour by the First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, Madame Dominique Ouattara, who leads the country’s programme to eliminate the practice.
Among the other topics debated by over 90 speakers and panelists at the Conference were cocoa certification, developing a sustainable industry and consumption of cocoa, methods of increasing productivity and improving farmer incomes. The huge range of presentations also informed delegates about the latest developments in the sector, from producer representatives originating from all over West Africa, as well as from Latin America and Asia, and attendees considered the various initiatives under way to help the development of the sector and the millions that depend on it worldwide.
The Conference, which was organized by the ICCO and hosted by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, is to serve as the first stage in the development of the Global Cocoa Agenda, which recommends a series of actions for all stakeholders in order to develop the world’s cocoa sector. The next edition of the Conference, which will track the progress of the initiatives proposed this week, is due to take place in the Netherlands in 2014.