EU and US deliver cocoa sustainability funding for Ghana and Ivory Coast

Key multi-million funding towards delivering sustainable cocoa production in core markets of Ivory Coast and Ghana has been put forward by the EU and US-based Department of Labour, reports Neill Barston.

The American grant comes in the wake of NORC at the University of Chicago report that highlighted there are still 1.56 million children experiencing child labour within the two pivotal West African nations.

Consequently, the US Department of Labour has responded with two $4 million grants for cooperative agreements to Save the Children and Winrock International to implement technical assistance projects in Ghana and Ivory Coast.

As the government body noted, the two organisations are set to focus on reducing child labour in these countries’ cocoa supply chains by enhancing cocoa cooperatives’ capacity to monitor child labour, as well as providing greater support to households with children at risk of child labour.

The funding is being made available through the department’s Bureau of International Labour Affairs, whose mission is to promote a fair global playing field for workers in the U.S. and around the world by enforcing trade commitments, strengthening labour standards and combating international child labour, forced labour and human trafficking.

It comes amid the UN’s declaration that 2021 is the year of eradication of child labour, with the scale of the issue remaining considerable despite the collective efforts of industry, governments and civil organisations.

Major support is also anticipated to be forthcoming from Europe, with a recent report from Reuters stating that the EU ambassador to Ivory Coast Jobst von Kirchmann, stating in an interview that up to one billion Euros could be potentially delivered to the West African nation in its bid to transition towards full sustainability within the sector. It was reported that this would be delivered through a proposed ‘Team Europe’ initiative.

Confectionery Production approached the EU on this venture, and the EU Commission confirmed that a funding programme had yet to be fully agreed by the region’s 27 member countries this year.

An initial €25 million packaging of support has recently been confirmed for West African cocoa sustainability. This has two components and will be used to support reforms and technical assistance.

A total of €8 million will be allocated to support substantial legislative reforms in Ivory Coast and the remaining €17 million will cover technical assistance in areas such as monitoring deforestation, providing analytical and advisory services, policy facilitation, specific interventions along the value chain and support for investments, and will help national governments in cocoa-producing countries to create a new legal framework for cocoa production and trade.

Speaking to Confectionery Production, An EU Commission Spokesperson said: “With regards to the EU’s development cooperation allocation, what we can say at this moment is that the 2021-2027 programming exercise for Côte d’Ivoire is still ongoing and will be concluded this year. No decision has yet been taken.

“In this framework, the EU is considering a “Team Europe initiative” to accompany Côte d’Ivoire on the road to sustainable cocoa production by tackling the problems of farmer poverty, child labour and deforestation.

“A “Team Europe” initiative brings together the financial but also political initiatives of EU institutions and bodies, including the European Investment Bank, and EU Member States with their respective agencies. If selected, a significant amount of money would be allocated to this important priority, but no figures can be provided at this stage.



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