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A new vision for the cocoa sector: Berlin Declaration of the 4th World Cocoa Conference


A new vision for the cocoa sector: Berlin Declaration of the 4th World Cocoa Conference

A new vision for the cocoa sector: Berlin Declaration of the 4th World Cocoa Conference
Photo credit: Irene Scott | AusAID

The 4th World Cocoa Conference was held on 22-25 April 2018 in Berlin, Germany. The four-day event saw intense but engaging and exciting conversation, dialogue, debate, bridge-building, networking and collective solution-finding discussions around the challenges that face the cocoa sector.

On the final day, the focus was on looking forward and taking necessary steps to finding those solutions. Panels and Plenary sessions were held for delegates, speakers and moderators to engage in dialogue to find common ground, unity and a plan forward for sustainable solutions.

Panel Topics covered were: progress toward a sustainable world cocoa economy, new products and new potentials in fine and flavour cocoa, the science in support of cocoa farming, gender equality and women empowerment and cocoa farmers working with consumer groups to change the perception of cocoa as an unhealthy/safe crop/food.

The day ended with the presentation of the Berlin Declaration and its adoption by the Conference, and the Official Closing Remarks and announcement of the host city for the Fifth World Cocoa Conference in 2020.

Berlin Declaration of the 4th World Cocoa Conference

“Business as usual in the cocoa sector is no longer an option. We have to break the mould.” Dr. Jean-Marc Anga, Executive Director of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), in the keynote speech opening the fourth World Cocoa Conference in Berlin, April 2018.

We, the delegates of the fourth World Cocoa Conference, held in Berlin in April of 2018, constituting almost 1,500 participants, from more than 65 countries, representing members of all relevant stakeholder groups, including producing governments, consuming governments, farmers, traders, grinders, processors, manufacturers, research institutions, civil society organisations, trade unions, consumer organisations, and many others.

  1. Since the first World Cocoa Conference and the drafting of the Global Cocoa Agenda in November 2012, sector-wide efforts have proliferated to improve the lives of farmers, communities and the environment. However, these have not been enough to achieve significant impact at scale.

  2. Too many cocoa farmers are still living in poverty. Deforestation, child labour, gender inequality, human rights violations and many other challenges are a daily reality in many cocoa regions.

  3. We affirm that the cocoa sector will not be sustainable if farmers are not able to earn a living income.

  4. A sustainable cocoa sector is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders, and we should work together to achieve this ambitious goal. Areas should be identified for increased non-competitive collaboration, at local, national and global level, avoiding a proliferation of efforts that lack coordination.

  5. We recognise the urgency and scale of the challenges facing all of us. Our solutions will need to be equal to the size of the problem.

  6. While acknowledging the commitments of the cocoa sector to achieve sustainability, it is time to review the means by which these have been measured and enforced, recognising that voluntary compliance has not led to sufficient impact.

  7. Many of our challenges are not specifically cocoa-based, but are part of broader issues affecting rural communities. As such, holistic approaches, including effective governance, must be envisaged and implemented, where cocoa can operate as a driver for rural development.

  8. Global price volatility and low farm gate prices have had a strong negative impact on the sector.

  9. Without farmers, there is no cocoa. All actors should work together to create an enabling environment to professionalise cocoa farming.

  10. Recognising cocoa farming as a business sector, farmer organization(s) should be stronger, and farmers should be encouraged to self-organise. This should include appropriate policies at national level.

  11. Acknowledging the role of agricultural commodity development, including the cocoa sector, logging and bush fires, as drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, and recognising the strong contribution the cocoa sector can make in the restoration of forests and resilient landscapes, we commit to work together as a whole cocoa supply chain – in collaboration with the international community – to end deforestation and promote forest protection and restoration. We should improve yields on less land.

  12. A new vision is needed in order to achieve true sector-wide sustainability.


Sustainable Production

  1. All stakeholders should develop and implement policies that enable cocoa farmers to make a living income.

  2. All stakeholders should foster policies and activities to strengthen the position and the rights of women.

  3. Relevant stakeholders should contribute to creating an enabling environment that improves access to savings, credit, finance, and insurance, also for small-scale farmers.

  4. Producing governments and sector-wide initiatives should implement and enforce policies and practices that ensure environmental protection, including anti-deforestation and reforestation measures, soil protection, and agroforestry systems.

  5. Governments should give due consideration to the needs of farmers in international trade, including options for robust international competition laws that promote fair trade for both farmers and consumers.

  6. Child labour does not have a place in a sustainable cocoa value chain. All sectors should increase efforts, efficiency and cooperation to eradicate child labour and its root causes.

Sustainable Industry

  1. Supply chain traceability should be recognised as a necessity for a sustainable value chain. A sector wide consensus on traceability should be developed. Efforts must be undertaken to ensure that this does not lead to additional costs and other burdens being transferred to the farmers without sufficient remuneration.

  2. Sector sustainability efforts should be transparent and publicly accountable in both efforts and impacts, including through appropriate monitoring and evaluation frameworks.

Sustainable Consumption

  1. Engage the sector in dynamic activities to stimulate processing in origin countries and healthy cocoa consumption in origin countries and emerging cocoa markets.

  2. Complying with SPS requirements is in the interest of consumers and producers alike. It is essential to ensure that the necessary assistance (technical, financial, or otherwise) is provided to enable producers to comply with these requirements.

Sustainable Management

  1. Producing country governments to coordinate national and regional cocoa policies, specifically being mindful of the impact this can have on cocoa prices.

  2. Producing country governments should strengthen National Cocoa Development Plans (NCDPs); including a strengthening of infrastructure, extension services, farm diversification, tenure security, etc, making efforts to ensure a transparent, inclusive and participatory approach in the development and implementation of the NCDPs.

  3. Producing country governments are called upon to carry out a reliable inventory of cocoa tree stocks.

  4. All stakeholders are called upon to strengthen human rights due diligence across the supply chain, including through potential regulatory measures by governments.

  5. Public and private sector are encouraged to stimulate scientific research & development into sustainable production, consumption and innovative processing.

  6. Governments of producing and consuming nations are called upon to re-evaluate the effectiveness and transparency of their investments in the cocoa sector.

  7. The entire cocoa sector, including industry, governments of consuming nations, producing nations, international donors, cocoa farmers, and other relevant institutions, are called upon urgently to increase their investments in the improvement of the cocoa sector.

  8. The time to act is now.


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