Sierra Leone, through the Produce Monitoring Board was represented by the Head of Operations of PMB, Mr. Didan Sankoh at the meeting of the Working Group on the Review of the International Cocoa Agreement, 2010. This meeting was held at the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) headquarters in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 13th to 14th June 2019. Members of the Working Group that participated in this review are: Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Peru, Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, the European Union and the Russian Federation
The ICCO Secretariat presented an update on the progress made by the Working Group on the online review of the International Cocoa Agreement, 2010. At this meeting, the Working Group reviewed the entire text of the Agreement. Out of the 65 articles and the preamble in the Agreement, there were proposals to amend 41 articles and insert 3 new additional articles that have to do with encouraging and supporting increase in sustainable cocoa production, cocoa bean quality enhancement and local processing and consumption. The delegate from Sierra Leone, Didan Sankoh indicated how important this review is and how Sierra Leone will benefit from the three new articles. The Secretariat has been requested by the Working Group to make proposals for some articles, including those related to the Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy. New annexes will also be included, specifically on the statistical information requested from ICCO countries. The following work programme was proposed:
- The ICCO Secretariat will make proposals for the articles assigned to it by the Working Group;
- A comprehensive draft report of all amended and new articles will be sent to the Working Group;
- The last meeting of the Working Group will be held in September 2019, on the margins of the statutory meetings of the International Cocoa Council and subsidiary bodies;
- The final report of the Working Group will be subsequently submitted to the Administration and Finance Committee during the September 2019 session;
The Administration and Finance Committee will submit its final recommendations on the revision of the ICA, 2010 to the International Cocoa Council in March 2020. The Administration and Finance Committee took note of the report and requested that the relevant documents be sent well in advance of the September meetings to enable Working Group members to fully review them.
Small, but important cocoa exporting countries like Sierra Leone stand to benefit a lot from the new Agreement, especially on issues around increasing sustainable cocoa production, quality enhancement and local processing and consumption.
In a side meeting on the last day of the meeting, the delegate from Sierra Leone, Didan Sankoh met with the Executive Director of ICCO, Michel Arrion and the Senior Project Officer, Charlotte Martin, and the meeting ended with Didan Sankoh extending an invitation to the Executive Director to visit Sierra Leone. The Executive Director agreed to visit Sierra Leone before the end of 2019 – actual dates to be confirmed. His visit will help raise the profile of the cocoa sector in Sierra Leone as he will meet with cocoa farmers, the private sector, development organisations and government stakeholders.