Fourth Meeting of the Working Group

 

 

    

 

 

REPORT OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE     

SECOND ROUNDTABLE FOR A SUSTAINABLE COCOA ECONOMY (RSCE2)

FOURTH MEETING

 

 

Monday 10 November 2009 from 1.00 pm

and Tuesday 11 November 2008 from 9.00 am

 

 

 

I.        Opening of the Meeting

1.      The fourth meeting of the RSCE Working Group was chaired by the Co-chair of the Working Group, Mme. Assouan Acquah, Côte d’Ivoire. Mme. Acquah opened the meeting and welcomed all participants and in particular the present representatives from the Local Organising Committee for the RSCE2 in Trinidad and Tobago. The list of participants is attached as an annex to this report.

II.       Adoption of Agenda

2.      The draft agenda was adopted, as detailed in RSCE2/WG/4/1. It was agreed that item 4 on the agenda (Revised Terms of Engagement for RSCE) would be split in two separate items in order to discuss the document on preparations for the second Roundtable meeting separate from the governance and future of RSCE. Therefore agenda item 4 should focus on document RSCE2/2a and item 5 on document RSCE2/2b.

III.      Agreement on a revised set of objectives for RSCE2, mission statement for RSCE2 and brochure promoting RSCE2

3.      The Co-chair presented the revised mission statement and set of objectives for RSCE2, referring to RSCE2/1/Rev.1. The mission statement was generally welcomed. In order to stress the fact that sustainability should apply to all stages of the production and consumption of cocoa, “sustainable” now precedes “production and use of cocoa”. The amended mission statement finally agreed was “Promoting sustainable production and use of cocoa through dialogue and cooperation with all stakeholders along the supply chain”.

4.      Recommendations made in the last meeting of the Working Group were incorporated in the revised set of objectives RSCE2/1/Rev1. Members broadly agreed on the wording, but considered that the order of objectives should be altered to reflect the importance of the Roundtable as a common platform for sustainable cocoa. Therefore “consultation and dialogue of” was included in objective 6 and it took the place of objective 2 in the newly agreed version. The objectives finally agreed were to:

1)      Identify principles, underlying the “Accra Agenda”, taking into account the three pillars of sustainable development - environmental, economic and social;

2)      Be a platform for consultation and dialogue of initiatives promoting sustainability in cocoa;

3)      Encourage (further) development of standards for sustainable cocoa and best supply chain practices and promote their implementation, taking into account the special needs of smallholders;

4)      Identify the ways and means of delivering traceability and monitoring in the cocoa supply chain, from production through trade/processing to consumption;

5)      Consider the role of certification for cocoa and the similarities/differences of existing and newly developed mechanisms of certification, again taking into account the responsibilities of different stakeholders and the special needs of smallholders;

6)      Exchange views on existing programmes towards the implementation of core labour standards.

 

5.      The Chair thanked the co-ordination office and Mr. Banbury of the ICCO secretariat for the efforts made to prepare the RSCE2 brochure. In the following discussion, members pointed out that the selection of pictures in the brochure should also reflect the number of women that work with cocoa along the cocoa value chain and include a symbolic image depicting the consumer end product. Members were aware that the brochure was printed in-house and pointed out that the quality of some of the images, namely the country logos and the map of Trinidad and Tobago, would need to be improved before final printing. Further comments highlighted the need to keep the text as short as possible, to have a second edit and to incorporate the agreed changes in the objectives and the mission statement. Several members affirmed they were satisfied with the brochure and the Chair concluded that final responsibility should be left with ICCO and the coordinating office to make the agreed amendments, add any finishing touches and arrange printing of the brochure.

IV.     Revised Terms of Engagement for RSCE – part one: The Process to effectively complete preparations for RSCE2 in Trinidad and Tobago

 6.      The Co-ordinator presented the structure of document RSCE2/2a and pointed out that its primary aim was to focus on the necessary preparations for a successful second Roundtable meeting RSCE2. The document opened with a summary of the origins of RSCE and the outcomes of the first Roundtable meeting, which would be used as guiding principles for conducting topics and making preparations. The rest of the document covered: the mandate of the working group and objectives for RSCE2; the composition, remit and meetings of the RSCE2 Working Group; procedures for the work programme and the development of the RSCE2 background documents; the remit and tasks of the co-ordination office; the funding of RSCE activities; and the Roundtable website www.roundtablecocoa.org as a platform for communication and dialogue. The document did not contain any deliberations for RSCE beyond the RSCE2, as these decisions would have to be taken at the Roundtable meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.

7.      In the context of the work programme and development of the RSCE2 background documents, details of the length, formatting, introductory notes and deadlines for final documents were clarified. It was agreed that all documents were to be submitted to the Co-ordinator before 5 January 2009. The documents would be endorsed by the working group in the Working Group meeting on 12 January 2009, translated into all official RSCE languages and posted on the Roundtable website for discussion. All documents would be limited to 10 pages, excluding references.

V.      Revised Terms of Engagement for RSCE2, part two: Modus operandi of RSCE

8.      The Co-Chair, Mr. Lass, presented the procedure to be adopted in order to develop document RSCE2/2b, whose title, it was agreed, would become “Modus operandi of RSCE”.  The document’s earlier title included the wording “Terms of Engagement”, which repeatedly created translation problems and did not allow for a common understanding of the contents. The contents of this document would include: potential models of governance for RSCE; scenarios for how RSCE might exist in the future; possible models for the hosting of RSCE; the pros and cons of different models - independence vs. dependence; and the estimated cost and financing sources for the above-mentioned scenarios.

9.      There was broad agreement that, as a basis for making a decision on the right model of governance, there would need to be agreement on the objectives of RSCE. Several members of the Working Group stressed the advantages of ICCO as facilitator and host of RSCE and affirmed their strong preference for this model. While an independent legal status and organization might increase the credibility of RSCE, administration and logistical costs would rise and the manifold beneficial linkages with ICCO would be weakened. In the overview of possible models for RSCE it was noted that in order to find the best model for RSCE, no scenario should be excluded from discussion on the grounds of costliness. Members urged the leader of the Expert Group to make efforts to provide a first draft of the document for internal discussion prior to the deadline on 5 January 2009.

VI.     Update on other Background documents for RSCE2

10.  The chair asked leaders of the RSCE2 Expert Groups to present the current status of the work done so far, with reference to RSCE2/3/Rev.1 – RSCE2/7/Rev.1. The Chair strongly encouraged all members of the Working Group and Expert Groups to actively engage in the document development with contributions and comments of the draft documents. An up-to-date list of all RSCE2 Background Documents and Expert Groups would be kept on the Roundtable website in the “About us” section.

11.  Dr. Anga introduced the document “Best known practices in the cocoa supply chain”. The current revised document was based on the ICCO document CB/16/2/Rev.1. Members of the Expert Group had contributed to the revised and more comprehensive document. The final document for public discussion would be endorsed in the Working Group meeting on 12 January 2009.

12.  The Roundtable Co-ordinator presented a revised outline of the document on “Sustainability initiatives and the challenge of compliance” with reference to document RSCE2/4/Rev.1 and a questionnaire that would be sent to established sustainability and certification initiatives in cocoa and other commodities. Furthermore, Mr. Schnetzer gave a presentation on “Voluntary Standard Initiatives – impressions from two recent conferences”, concluding that the engagement and ownership of producing and consuming governments in sustainability initiatives was key in order to reach the mainstream of the market, especially in commodities like cocoa with a broad smallholder production base. A further important aspect was the cost and complexity of compliance with any sustainability scheme and the relationship between cost and perceived benefits for stakeholders. The final document for public discussion would be endorsed in the Working Group meeting on 12 January 2009.

13.  The “Study on traceability and tracking” was presented by Expert Group leader Mr. Lass with reference to document RSCE2/5/Rev.1. Mr. Lass pointed out the importance for RSCE to work in the mainstream of cocoa and some of the challenges this poses with regard to traceability and tracking. The final document for public discussion would be endorsed in the Working Group meeting on 12 January 2009.

14.  The Chair, Mme. Acquah, presented a progress report on the document on “Social issues” with reference to document RSCE2/6/Rev.1. The already very extensive document drew from the ample contributions of the members of the Expert Group. Further areas of work include completing certain regional aspects of the document, providing and referencing all sources of information and reducing the size of the document to 10 pages. The final document for public discussion would be endorsed in the Working Group meeting on 12 January 2009.

15.  The revised “Draft of principles for a sustainable cocoa economy” was presented by Mr. Vernooij. Comments from several members of the Working and Expert Group were reflected in the revised version. A broad discussion on several paragraphs and principles followed and it was agreed to extend the internal discussions by Working Group and Expert Group members and prepare another revision. The final draft for public discussion would be endorsed in the Working Group meeting on 12 January 2009.

16.  It was agreed that the comments by members of the Working Group on the individual documents would be summarized by the Expert Group leaders and used for the revision of the document. Some general comments that were made in the course of the discussions referred to the following: the importance of engaging with sustainability initiatives from trade and industry; the possibility of banning the trade of pesticides that were prohibited in agriculture for food safety reasons; sustainability in the mainstream of cocoa does not contradict initiatives working on, for example, organic or fairtrade cocoa;  the urgent need to act since the majority of cocoa farmers were old and there was a lack of a younger generation to take over the farms; the deteriorating quality of cocoa farmed soils due to unsustainable practices, reducing yields and longevity of cocoa trees; and the need to translate sustainability into agricultural policies and practical advice to farmers.

VII.    Programme for the second Roundtable for a Sustainable Cocoa Economy in Trinidad and Tobago, 24-26 March 2009

17.  The Chair presented the revised draft of the programme for RSCE2 with reference to document RSCE2/2/Rev.1 and urged that the meeting to proceed with discussions on the chairmanship of the meeting and details of sessions and speakers. Discussions on the programme were conducted on both days of the meeting and several changes were agreed upon. On the question of the chairing of the second Roundtable RSCE2, the Co-chairs were encouraged to take a leading role, combining familiarity with the process of the Roundtable, knowledge of all preparatory work for the meeting and experience in chairing such meetings. Mr. Lass, then Chairman of the ICCO Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy, had chaired the first Roundtable meeting. A repetition of linking the role of the presidency with a function on the ICCO committees was deliberately avoided. Mme. Acquah, Co-chair of the RSCE2 Working Group, was asked to chair the second Roundtable meeting RSCE2. Representatives from all stakeholders supported this suggestion and Mme. Amouan Acquah agreed to be Chair of the RSCE2, nominating as Vice-chairs Ms. Gine Zwart (Oxfam Novib – NGO) and Mr. Tony Lass (Co-chair RSCE2 Working Group). Reporting in the meeting and sessions would be under the responsibility of the Chair with support at every session from one rapporteur from the participants and one from the secretariat.

18.  The results from the discussions would be incorporated in the second revision of the programme, RSCE2/1/Rev.2. The task for the reconsideration of the programme was to align it with the revised objectives for RSCE2, to allow more time for discussion of the background documents and to strengthen the focus on the expected outcomes of the Roundtable meeting. The agreed changes were to extend discussions on background documents over more sessions, add the summary report from the RSCE2 Preparatory Meeting in Abidjan to the documents presented on day 1, make the theme of day 2 “implementation of best known practices towards more sustainability along the cocoa value chain and mechanisms for recognition” and to split group sessions on day 2 into three groups: a) public sector, b) private sector and c) farmers – and each group discussion introduced with around 5 brief presentations.

19.  General comments on the programme were: the objectives should be reflected in the sequence of the programme; the schedule for the days was too long, leaving little space for discussion; the importance of allowing for time to discuss the background documents in more than one session; advice on improving the clarity of the programme by listing the poster sessions with separate numbering; and the need to prepare a comprehensive report with the results of the meeting. It was agreed that the programme should remain a draft document, with the aforementioned changes having been adopted.

20.  The Executive Director of ICCO asked members of the Working Group to inform their cocoa stakeholders about the second Roundtable meeting, using the RSCE2 Announcement. Dr. Vingerhoets also reminded members to make bookings with the Hyatt Regency before 22 January 2009 in order to benefit from the very competitive negotiated rates.

VIII.    Update from the Organizing Committee in Trinidad and Tobago on the Preparations of RSCE2

21.  The representative from the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) for RSCE2 in Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Maharaj, gave an update on preparations for RSCE2 in the host country. She informed the meeting that the Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources (MALMR) were cooperating closely with ICCO and the coordination office of RSCE in the preparations of RSCE2. Ms. Maharaj informed members that the LOC was divided into three sub-committees: a) the Reception and Cocktail Party Sub-committee; b) a Field Trip Sub-committee and c) the Promotions Committee.

22.  Trinidad and Tobago has committed to make a financial contribution of € 29,747 to RSCE2. Further substantial contributions would be made to the RSCE2: a VAT-exemption of local expenditure from the organizers (RSCE/ICCO), several in-kind contributions (offices, local staff and equipment during the meetings), the organization of a field trip on 27 March 2009 and the hosting of a welcome cocktail reception with a cultural event and local cuisine on the first evening of the meeting. In addition to the public contributions, the Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board of Trinidad and Tobago would provide audio-visual equipment for the meetings and host a dinner reception on the last day of the meeting.

23.  The LOC reported that they were making good progress with regard to the provision of interpretation services, technicians and A-V Equipment. Additional local staff to service the meetings would be provided and good press coverage would be secured. Information on RSCE2 would also be provided on the website of the MALMR. A brochure for the field trip, which was being prepared, would outline and illustrate the cornerstones, a visit to the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad and to a cocoa farm during harvest season, culminating in a grand outdoor luncheon on the scenic grounds of the Central Experimental Station, Centeno. The great efforts and the financial and in-kind contributions from Trinidad and Tobago were highly appreciated and thanked by the Chair and the RSCE2 Working Group.

24.  Ms. Roanna Gopaul from the High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago confirmed that the High Commission was prepared to facilitate visa requests for participants at the RSCE2 during the next Council Meetings of ICCO in the week from 12 – 16 January 2009.

IX.   Draft Programme for the “Preparatory Meeting for RSCE2” in Abidjan, 10-12 February 2009

25.  The Co-ordinator introduced the draft programme for the Preparatory Meeting for RSCE2 in Abidjan, noting that it should be very clear that the RSCE2 Preparatory Meeting should not undermine the importance of the RSCE2 in Trinidad and Tobago. The result from the Preparatory Meeting would be a summary report that would become a background document at the RSCE2. In particular, the meeting would allow African stakeholders who would not be able to participate at the RSCE2 in Trinidad and Tobago to contribute their opinion to the discussions at the RSCE2 on the background documents and the future of RSCE.

26.  Members of the Working Group suggested starting discussions in the plenary on the first day of the meeting. On the second day, more space should be made available for experiences from cocoa projects and their impact. Another change to the programme as result of the discussions was that discussions on day two should focus on “possible ways and constraints for more sustainable cocoa farming”.

27.  Mme. Acquah assured the members of the Working Group that all necessary preparations were underway, very good conference facilities for the meeting would be arranged (most likely in the building of the former Caisse de Stabilization) and that Mme. Lenoir had been appointed as local focal point for the organization of the meeting.

28.  Mr. Djikalou confirmed that the Embassy of Côte d’Ivoire in London would facilitate all visa requests for participants at the RSCE2 Preparatory Meeting in Abidjan during the next Council Meetings of ICCO in the week from 12 – 16 January 2009.

 

X.      Date and Place of Next Meeting

 

29.  The next meeting would be held at the headquarters of ICCO in London (UK) in the afternoon of 12 January 2009. As 6th meeting of the RSCE2 Working Group it was agreed to meet in London (UK) at the offices of ICCO on 20 April 2009.

 

30.  The Chair concluded the meeting thanking Trinidad and Tobago again for all their efforts and contributions to make the RSCE2 a resounding success.

 

 

  

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

 

Members and nominated alternates

Mme. Acquah Assouan Amouan (Co-Chair – Leader of an Expert Group)

Mr. Tony Lass MBE (Co-Chair – Leader of an Expert Group)

 

Ms. Isabelle Adam (ECA)

Mr. Edem Amegashie-Duvon (Ghana)

Ms. Flavia Bernardini (CAOBISCO / alternate)

Mr. St.-Cyr Djikalou (Côte d’Ivoire – Spokesman for Producers)

Ms. Roanna Gopaul (Trinidad and Tobago – sponsor RSCE2 / alternate)

Ms. Patricia Maharaj (Trinidad and Tobago – sponsor RSCE2)

Mr. Gerard Manley (World Cocoa Foundation / alternate)

Mr. Carsten Schmitz-Hoffmann (Germany / alternate)

Mr. Max Schnellmann (Switzerland / alternate)

Mr. Simon Schnetzer (Roundtable Co-ordinator – Leader of an Expert Group)

Mr. Juan-Diego Stacey (Ecuador)

Mr. Hagen Streichert (Germany – Spokesman for Consumers / sponsor RSCE2)

Mr. Aly Touré (Côte d’Ivoire)

Mr. Marcel Vernooij (Netherlands – sponsor RSCE2 – Leader of an Expert Group)

Mr. Fitz-Clarence Waldropt (Trinidad and Tobago – sponsor RSCE2)

Mr. Ewald Wermuth (Netherlands – sponsor RSCE2 / alternate)

Ms. Gine Zwart (Oxfam International – NGO representative)

 

Regrets from members and observers:

Mr. Enzo Barattini (European Commission)

Mr. Aknan Ehtook (Malaysia)

Dr. Martin Gilmour (CAOBISCO)

Mr. Bill Guyton (World Cocoa Foundation)

Mr. Richard Holland (WWF – NGO representative)

Dr. Victor Iyama (Nigeria / alternate)

Dr. José Antonio Martínez (Dominican Republic – Chairman of the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy)

Dr. Akinwale Ojo (Cocoa Association of Nigeria)

Ms. Chantal Oltramare (Switzerland – sponsor)

Ms. Marieke Poissonnier (Oxfam International – NGO representative / alternate)

Mr. Jack Steijn (EWF)

Mr. Pierre Tsimi Enouga (Cameroon)

 

Observers

Dr. Jan Vingerhoets (Executive Director, ICCO)

 

ICCO Secretariat

Dr. Jean-Marc Anga (Leader of an Expert Group)

Mr. Han Loke Fong

 

In attendance

Ms. Nathalie Asse (Côte d’Ivoire)

Ms. Lisa Melvin (Assistant to Roundtable Co-ordinator)

Ms. Lorraine Waldtropt-Ferguson (Trinidad and Tobago)