The cocoa supply-chain reaffirms its commitment to improve farmers’ livelihoods and reinforce measures to combat the worst forms of child labour
Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from 20 to 23 November, stakeholders from the cocoa supply chain reaffirmed their commitment to work towards greater sustainability in cocoa growing.
The first World Cocoa Conference, held under the auspices of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) gathered over 1200 participants representing cocoa-producing and consuming governments, civil society and industry actors.
The conference was officially opened by H. E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, who reminded participants of the importance of the cocoa sector for his country.
Speakers representing all Interested parties discussed the wide range of programmes, tools and means developed and refined over the years to work towards the sustainable development of the cocoa sector. These covered critical points to be improved such as farmer livelihoods, farmer training, methods to increase productivity, pest and disease management, cocoa certification to name but a few.
On Tuesday 20 November a keynote speech was delivered by the First Lady of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Mme Dominique Ouattara on the efforts underway to scale-up programmes that address farmers’ livelihoods and importantly the well-being of children in cocoa growing communities. Mme Ouattara highlighted the vulnerability of children, notably in cocoa-growing, where children are still all too often undertaking difficult tasks on family farms, sometimes to the detriment of their well-being and development.
Mme Ouattara stated that while not all child work should be condemned, the elimination of the worst forms of child labour (WFCL), as defined under the country’s plan of action (and aligned with ILO Conventions 182 on WFCL and 138 on minimum age to work) was a key priority for Côte d’Ivoire. Mme Ouattara reaffirmed that the best way to address children’s needs was to reinforce their access to quality education.
A number of measures have been taken by Côte d’Ivoire over the past year to reinforce in-country capacity to tackle the issue, notably through:
- The creation of a ‘Comité National de Surveillance’ (National Monitoring Committee), headed by the First Lady;
- Training of local officials (prefects);
- A scaling-up of efforts to rehabilitate/build schools and ensure teachers are trained and available to teach in rural areas;
- The opening of a child protection centre in Abidjan to cater to the needs of children found in extreme situations of vulnerability;
- A dialogue between the First Ladies of Côte d’Ivoire, Mali and Burkina-Faso to look at measures to combat trafficking of children in the region.