London, 30 September 2014 — Graced by the presence of the Ivorian Minister of Trade, the Ecuadorian Vice Minister of Agriculture and Ambassadors from Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, the 90thmeetings of the World Cocoa Council and its subsidiary bodies addressed a number of issues of relevance to the future of the cocoa sector and of the ICCO itself, at the Holiday Inn, Wembley, London, 15-18 September 2014.
A meeting of the recently expanded Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy initiated proceedings, with private sector and civil society representatives tackling subjects as varied as the recent World Cocoa Conference in Amsterdam, the need for a global cocoa resource base and the necessity for openness and transparency in addressing the issues of the Global Cocoa Agenda.
The Board meeting also included a live presentation relayed from Agrocalidad in Ecuador by Mr. Rommel Betancourt, updating members on continuing talks aimed at setting safe and practical limits for cadmium content in cocoa and chocolate. Another report, from Dr. Philippe Bastide of French research agency CIRAD, looked at cocoa-based farm models.
The main Council’s work began with the election of spokespersons for both the exporting and importing countries. As a result, Mr. Aly Toure of Côte d’Ivoire now represents the producing countries, while Mr. Conradin Rasi of Switzerland speaks for the consuming nations.
The Council was shown a film of the facilities of the venue in Bávaro, Dominican Republic, which is to be put at the disposal of the ICCO for the third edition of the World Cocoa Conference, and the representative of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Jose Antonio Martinez, explained that, among other highlights, the President of his country, H.E. Mr. Danilo Medina, would give the inaugural address. The Council agreed with the proposal that the Conference would be held alongside the March 2016 meetings of the Council, its subsidiary bodies and of the Consultative Board, and the dates have now been set at 14 – 19 March 2016. Speaking on behalf of the government of the host country, H.E. Dr. Federico Cuello, Ambassador to the UK of the Dominican Republic, said that the third edition of the Conference would be a positive and memorable event for the whole sector.
The Council also reminded its members of the existing ICCO initiative promoting of 1 October as World Cocoa and Chocolate Day, when the sector is celebrated worldwide. Indeed, a number of ICCO members, including Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria announced their own celebrations due, or already taking place on or around that day, to complement the events already scheduled in consuming country nations including France and the UK.
A number of internal and housekeeping matters occupied the Council during the meetings, but the week also saw meetings of the Organization’s Economic and Administration and Finance Committees and a number of new officers were elected.
The International Cocoa Council itself named Mr. Enselme Gouthon of Togo as its Chairman, with H.E. Mr. Luis Valverde of Ecuador as Vice Chairman, both for the cocoa year 2014/2015 beginning on 1 October.
Mrs. Miriam Okwabi of Ghana is to take over as Chairman of the Administration and Finance Committee, with Mr. Odon Pallaof Spain as Vice Chairman, both to serve for the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 cocoa years.
On the Economics Committee, Mr. Henk de Jong of the Netherlands is the new Chairman, while Mr. Corneille Tabalo of the Democratic Republic of Congo is Vice Chairman, also both to serve for the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 cocoa years.
The expanded Consultative Board of the World Cocoa Economy also released a list of its members for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 cocoa years (available to download here), and a Chairman and Vice Chairman of that body will be elected in due course.
The next ICCO Council and subsidiary meetings, including that of the Consultative Board, are to take place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 23 – 27 March 2015. The Ivorian Minister of Trade, H.E. Mr. Jean-Luc Billon (right), told the Council that his government attached great importance to the international cocoa economy, and that his country would be pleased to welcome the Council members to Abidjan next March 2015, and to ensure that the meetings would be a great success.
A cocktail reception was kindly offered by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for the Council members, while the Ambassador of Sweden, H.E. Ms. Nicola Clase, kindly welcomed the Council members to her Residence for a reception in honour of outgoing Council Chairman Ms. Anna Tofftén (left). At the reception, ICCO Executive Director Dr. Jean-Marc Anga thanked Ms. Tofftén and presented her with the ICCO’s traditional commemorative golden cocoa pod to mark her year of service to the Organization.
Presentations made at the Meetings (click to download):
Consultative Board on the World Cocoa Economy: