ICCO response to the EU initiative on stepping up action against deforestation and forest degradation

The International Cocoa Council, meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 12 April 2019 released the following communiqué:

1. Acknowledging the contribution of the cocoa sector towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and taking into account the need to equally balance the economic, environmental and social pillars of the SDGs;

2. Considering that forests are indispensable for addressing the issue of climate change;

3. Considering that many ICCO exporting Members have in place national programs and policies aiming at fighting deforestation and favouring reforestation;

4. Noting that the agricultural sector is a major driver of deforestation and that the impact of cocoa is significant in certain deforestation hotspots;

5. Acknowledging that deforestation is a global issue that needs a global solution;

6. Taking note of the EU initiative on stepping up action against deforestation and forest degradation;

7. Considering that improvement in the revenues and the living conditions of cocoa farmers must be integrated in the policies aiming at fighting deforestation;

8. Recognising the importance of maintaining market access for cocoa exports to the European Union and sustainable consumption, and such initiatives shall not constitute a disguised restriction to international trade;

9. Considering that cocoa can actually play a key role in the process of forest restoration, given that cocoa’s growth environment favours agroforestry systems and the presence of shade trees;

10. Recalling that one recommendation of the Berlin Declaration is to end deforestation and promote forest protection and restoration;

11. Considering that one of the objectives of the International Cocoa Agreement (ICA), 2010 is to provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments, and with the private sector as well as the civil society;

12. Further noting as per the terms of Article 43 of the International Cocoa Agreement (ICA), 2010, that Members shall make all necessary efforts to accomplish a sustainable cocoa economy;

13. After due consideration of the opinion of the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy.

14. To task the ICCO Secretariat with taking all appropriate measures to establish a dialogue with the European Union and other ICCO importing Member countries, with the aim of setting up a platform enabling all relevant stakeholders within the world cocoa economy to join forces and scale up their common actions on the issue of deforestation;

15. To encourage ICCO Member countries to implement and contribute to enforce policies and practices that ensure environmental protection, including anti- deforestation and reforestation measures, soil protection, and agroforestry systems;

16. To encourage the European Union to strengthen its policy dialogue and cooperation with commodity-exporting countries by developing tailored approaches taking into consideration country-specific rural development challenges, such as forestry and rural land tenure legislations;

17. To remind the European Union that the cocoa ecosystem plays an important role in the reforestation of affected areas and to improve the natural equilibrium of its social and economic surroundings;

18. To strengthen the partnership with producing countries in order to support financially and technically the national policies and programs aiming at fighting deforestation;

 19. To work towards the improvement of farmers’ living conditions and productivity, as an avenue to reducing poverty in rural communities in the medium term, which will contribute to the efforts to tackle deforestation;

20. To encourage payments to producers for environmental services provided, within the framework of the fight against deforestation and actions towards reforestation;

21. To work with bilateral and multilateral partners as well as with its Members in order to mobilise financing for the implementation of policies and actions to protect forests and their rehabilitation.