GISCO supports initiatives for forest protection in the cocoa sector

The UN Climate Change Conference COP23, scheduled for November 2017 in Bonn, will continue the debate about climate protection and adequate solutions for forest preservation. The latter has gained significance due to long-time deforestation in cocoa producing countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO), the German government and international alliances are addressing the issue.

The UN Climate Change Conference COP23, taking place from November 6 to 17 in Bonn, will continue the debate about climate protection and solutions for forest preservation. In Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, major forest areas have been destroyed over the last decades. Parts of these areas are now used, sometimes illegally, for cocoa farming. However, the preservation of forests and trees is also of essential importance for cocoa. The two West African countries are the main producers of the cocoa processed in Germany, with a total share of around two thirds.

As a multi-stakeholder initiative, GISCO unites the most relevant actors of the cocoa supply chain: the German cocoa, chocolate and confectionery industry, the German grocery retail, civil society and the German government, represented by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). One of GISCO’s main objectives is the preservation of resources and biodiversity in the producing countries.

In January 2017, GISCO launched a debate about “Cocoa production and forest protection“. The Internationale Süßwarenmesse (ISM) in Cologne provided a platform for agronomists and environment experts to discuss potential solutions and to illustrate their experiences in West Africa. Among the examples were forest preservation projects in and around the Tai national park in Côte d’Ivoire as well as the Juabeso Bia initiative in Ghana.

GISCO maintains an ongoing exchange of experiences with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) about forest protection and agriculture in the context of sensitive ecosystems. Through to the project PRO-PLANTEURS in the Southeast of Côte d’Ivoire, it also closely cooperates with the project “Promotion des Filières Agricoles et de la Biodiversité“ (PROFIAB) for the development of the natural and economic spaces Tai and Comoé in Côte d’Ivoire.

Furthermore, GISCO maintains close collaboration with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). In March 2017, the WCF launched the Cocoa & Forests initiative. More than 35 companies from the cocoa sector have joined so far, among them several GISCO members. The initiative is supported by the Ivorian and Ghanaian governments, the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), and the International Sustainability Unit by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At the COP23 in Bonn, the initiative will present its action plan.

Forest preservation and sustainable, deforestation-free supply chains constitute important topics of the German G20 presidency and are supported by specific initiatives. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) promotes a general reform of the legal, organizational and social conditions for the use of forest resources in partner countries, e.g. through the above-mentioned project PROFIAB.

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