London, 7 October 2016 – The ICCO is well on track to move to its new headquarters in the Ivorian commercial capital of Abidjan by January 2017, Executive Director Dr. Jean-Marc Anga reported to the 94th regular session of the International Cocoa Council, held in London 26 – 30 September.
Logistics related to the relocation, agreed at last year’s 92nd session, have been progressing well, Dr. Anga said, and the new building being provided by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire was almost ready for occupation by over 20 ICCO staff.
The Council meeting — graced with the presence of the Cameroon Ministers of Commerce H.E. Mr. Luc Magloire Mbaraga Atangana, and of External Relations, Minister Delegate H.E. Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute, the High Commissioner of Cameroon H.E. Mr. Nkwele Ekaney, the Ecuadorian Vice Minister of Agriculture H.E. Mr Luis Valverde and Ambassadors H.E. Mr. Hermano Telles Ribeiro of Brazil, H.E. Dr. Federico Alberto Cuello Camilo of the Dominican Republic, H.E. Mr. Carlos Abad of Ecuador, H.E. Mrs. Guisell Morales Echaverry of Nicaragua, H.E. Mr. Claudio de la Puente of Peru and H.E. Ms. Rocio Manero of Venezuela — also involved discussion of a broad range of other issues related to the Organization’s international work.
At an initial meeting of the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy, members praised the ICCO’s third edition of the World Cocoa Conference (WCC3), held in Bávaro, Dominican Republic, in May, thanks to the generous hosting of the Government of the Dominican Republic. Board members began making plans for a working group to direct the content of the fourth edition, once again to combine with a Council meeting. WCC4 (including the accompanying Council session) is now scheduled to take place 22 – 28 April 2018 at the Maritim Hotel Berlin in the heart of the German capital, by the kind invitation of hosts the Government of the German Federal Republic.
Board members also recommended that the ICCO organize an International Conference on Cocoa Research, and heard a report by the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) on key performance indicators and how they could be used to monitor the success of the ongoing work towards the goals of the Global Cocoa Agenda, the ICCO’s roadmap to a sustainable cocoa sector. The Board also expressed its full support to the Government of Ecuador in its efforts to rehabilitate its cocoa sector following the devastating earthquake that struck the country in April.
After last year’s success, the September session of the Council once again incorporated the Cocoa Market Outlook Conference, a day-long meeting of sector experts whose forecasts and analysis of the cocoa and chocolate business in the current and upcoming cocoa years attracted an appreciative international audience of over 200 participants.
In reporting to the Economics Committee about the outcome of the Asian CocoaSafe project, the Secretariat was able to show that the capacity-building work, conducted in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, had achieved more than originally expected in improving stakeholder knowledge on areas such as Good Agricultural Practices and in creating a platform for exchange of information among stakeholder groups.
The Secretariat also reported on nine ICCO projects and studies under implementation and making good progress. The Committee was also updated on the current functioning and efficiency of the cocoa futures markets, following changes in the futures contracts and increased presence of speculators in commodity markets.
On the issue of selecting a new Executive Director, the Council took note of the withdrawal of two applicants out of three vying for the position, leaving only one. Giving due consideration to the possible challenges facing the Organization in its new host country and the need to provide critical continuity in the new environment, the Council decided to extend the appointment of the incumbent Executive Director, for two years, ending in September 2018.
Finally, the International Cocoa Council unanimously elected H.E. Mr. Luis Valverde (Ecuador) as its Chairman for the 2016/17 cocoa year, while Mr. Tri Purnajaya (Indonesia) was unanimously elected to serve as Vice Chairman for the year in question, beginning 1 October.
Mr. Conradin Rasi (Switzerland) was unanimously elected to serve as Chairman of the Administration and Finance Committee for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 cocoa years. H.E. Mrs. Guisell Morales-Echaverry (Nicaragua) was unanimously elected to serve as Vice-Chairman for the two years in question.
On the Economics Committee, Mr. Corneille Tabalo (Democratic Republic of Congo) was unanimously elected to serve as Chairman for 2016/17 and 2017/18. The Vice Chairman for the two years will be nominated by France.
Finally, the Board elected Ms. Cathy Pieters, Director of the Cocoa Life programme at Mondelēz International as Chairman for the 2016/17 and 2017/18 cocoa years. Dr. Victor Iyama of Nigeria was nominated as Vice Chairman.
At a special last-ever London reception held in Wembley Stadium, near the venue of the Council meetings, dignitaries, delegates and Secretariat members from the Organization’s 43-year history gathered to celebrate both the ICCO’s time in the UK and its move to Côte d’Ivoire. Executive Director Dr. Jean-Marc Anga reviewed some of the past achievements and outstanding personnel involved with the Organization and looked forward to the ambitious plans that the ICCO has for its tenure in Abidjan beginning next year.
The 95th regular session of the International Cocoa Council and subsidiary bodies is set for 24 – 28 April 2017 in Abidjan at a venue to be confirmed.
Below: Past and present members of the ICCO Secretariat at the final London reception for the Organization held at Wembley Stadium, 28 September 2016