Central/West-Africa: UNFSS Briefing session at the International Cocoa Certification Workshop organized by the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) in conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce Cameroon and the United Nations Forum on Sustainability Standards (UNFSS).
From June 24th to 27th an International workshop on cocoa certification took place in Douala, Cameroon, and was attended by 150 participants from different stakeholder groups. The UNFSS was presented to participants directly after the opening ceremony and played an important role throughout the workshop.
On June 27th a briefing session was held to introduce the UNFSS to the international cocoa community, but as well, to other stakeholders interested in sustainability standards in Cameroon. Best practices were showed from Cameroon and Indonesia and the role of governments with regard to sustainability standards was discussed, furthermore a panel session with a representative from each of the stakeholder group sessions held during the week presented their sessions view on the focus and future work of the UNFSS.
In addition other stakeholders groups expressed their positions with regard to sustainable cocoa certification throughout the event. It was highlighted that voluntary standards and certification are not necessarily the same thing as sustainability, but if done well, voluntary standards can be an important means to achieve more sustainability. Although evidence is showing that the amounts of certified cocoa and connected earnings were rising, there was discussion about how to share the benefits from this development throughout the supply chain and in particular for smallholders. The conference received very positive feedback; especially the time for open exchange throughout the discussions was rated as very valuable.
In the final statement of the workshop, ICCO underlined to further cooperate with UNFSS with regard to the ongoing discussion on cocoa certification and sustainability.
A more detailed report will be published on the UNFSS website briefly.