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The Cocoa & Forests Initiative is an active commitment of top cocoa-producing countries with leading chocolate and cocoa companies to end deforestation and restore forest areas, through no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.

 

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The Initiative

The Cocoa & Forests Initiative is an active commitment of top cocoa-producing countries with leading chocolate and cocoa companies to end deforestation and restore forest areas, through no further conversion of any forest land for cocoa production.

In November 2017, the Government of Ghana and major cocoa and chocolate companies signed the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) Joint Framework for Action. The Framework defines core commitments, verifiable actions, and time bound targets. At the heart of the Framework is the commitment to no longer convert forest land for cocoa production.

CFI is convened as a public-private-civil society partnership of more than 55 organizations, which are involved in its governance and in the implementation of the CFI commitments and activities. It is chaired by the Ghana Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR), with support from IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). 

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About CFI in Ghana

Context: Deforestation in Ghana

Forest resources in Ghana have been over constant pressure, mainly due to agricultural expansion and wood harvesting, which represent respectively 50% and 35% of the drivers.  Historically, cocoa has been a driver of deforestation and contributes to further deforestation. In particular, the importance of cocoa in the national economy and the rapid expansion of the cultivated area, especially in the forested Western Region, has resulted in loss of forest cover (Source: REDD+). The Government of Ghana is taking this issue seriously and has developed an ambitious Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Programme (GCFRP), which seeks to significantly reduce carbon emissions resulting from cocoa expansion into forests. The Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) builds on this program, and many other that aim to enhance the sustainability of the Ghanaian cocoa sector.

Inception of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative

In March 2017, companies from the cocoa and chocolate sector signed a  Collective Statement of Intent, committing to “working together, pre-competitively, to end deforestation and forest degradation in the cocoa supply chain, with an initial focus on Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire”.

In November 2017, the Government of Ghana and major cocoa and chocolate companies signed the CFI Joint Framework for Action. At the heart of the Framework is the commitment to no longer convert forest land for cocoa production.

The Framework focuses on

Conservation of national parks and forested land, as well as restoration of forests that have been degraded by cocoa farm encroachment.

Sustainable intensification and  diversification of income in order to increase farmers’ yields and livelihood, to grow “more cocoa on less land” and thereby reduce pressure on forests.

Engagement and empowerment of cocoa-growing communities. In particular mitigation of the social impacts and risks of land-use changes on affected cocoa farmers and their communities.

The Framework for Action was translated into National Implementation plans, released in July 2018. The plan specifies timelines, roles and responsibilities, monitoring and evaluation, and governance. The implementation plan was shaped by public, private and civil society stakeholders, through a series of strategic and technical discussions.

On March 2019, thirty-four company signatories, accounting for about 85% of global cocoa usage, released detailed individual action plans. These plans spell out the specific actions each company will take in 2018-2022, to deliver on their commitments set out in the Frameworks for Action.

Overview of the CFI governance in Ghana

The CFI governance was set up early 2018 and includes a National Oversight Committee at the highest level, a Steering Committee, Technical Working Groups and Task Forces. The National Secretariat, headed up by the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (MLNR) is supported by a Coordinating Team.

Three Technical Working Groups have been established on Production, Protection and Social inclusion.  Six Task Forces established under the Technical Working Groups:
(i)     Climate-smart agroforestry;
(ii)    Fundraising;
(iii)   Mapping;
(iv)   Monitoring and evaluation;
(v)    Social Safeguard;
(vi)   Traceability

Implementing CFI

Through the CFI, 34 companies representing around 85% of total global usage, and 3 producing country governments have made a pledge to work together to put an end to deforestation related to cocoa production and prevent further land degradation.

Beyond the pledge, the CFI provides a platform to help companies and governments formulate and implement detailed action plans to reach these commitments. This includes piloting new approaches at landscape level, to support farmers in adopting sustainable cocoa farming practices, and help communities to protect the forests they depend on.

What are the 8 commitments CFI signatories signed up to?

  1. Prohibit and prevent activities that cause or contribute to any further deforestation or forest degradation in the cocoa sector;
  2. Respect the rights of cocoa farmers, including identifying and mitigating social risks, and sequencing the implementation of actions to minimize potential adverse social and economic impacts;
  3. Promote the effective restoration and long-term conservation of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Wildlife Resource Reserves, Forest Reserves, and unprotected off-reserve forest lands;
  4. Strengthen supply chain mapping, with the end goal of full traceability at the farm-level;
  5. Implement verifiable actions and time bound targets on the basis of sound data, robust and credible methodologies, stakeholder consultation, and realistic timeframes;
  6. Implement agreed actions in the context of a broader landscape-level approach, with strong links with similar initiatives in other commodities, and full alignment with the national REDD+ strategy, new Ghana Cocoa Sector Development Strategy II, and other relevant national strategies and plans;
  7. Embrace shared responsibility to implement the Framework actions, including continued engagement in a multi-stakeholder process for dialogue  on key issues, development of effective implementation plans, and joint learning and knowledge sharing; and
  8. Provide effective monitoring and reporting on progress on commitments and actions to ensure transparency and accountability.

How should these commitments be implemented?

As mentioned in commitment #6, the CFI actions are to be implemented in the context of a broader landscape-level approach. A multi-stakeholder landscape approach is forming the basis for the interventions, with an initial focus on the six Climate-Smart Cocoa Hotspot Intervention Areas (HIAs) as defined under the Ghana Cocoa Forest REDD+ Program (GCFRP). The process starts with establishment of consortiums of key stakeholders, followed by development and implementation of integrated landscape management plans with a strong focus on climate-smart cocoa initiatives.

The 6 targeted forest  are as follows:

  1. Ahafo Ano South | Atwima Mponua | Atwima Nwabiagya (Ashanti Region)
  2. Asunafo | Asutifi (Brong-Ahafo Region)
  3. Atiwa | Denkyembour | East Akim (Eastern Region)
  4. Bibiani | Anwiaso | Sefwi Wiawso (Western Region)
  5. Juabeso Bia (Western Region)
  6. Kakum (Central Region)

Contact Us

The National Secretariat
Cocoa & Forests Initiative
Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources
Accra
Kofi Afari (MLNR) – kofiafari32@gmail.com
Glowen Kyei-Mensah (IDH) – Kyei-Mensah@idhtrade.org
Vincent Awotwe-Pratt (WCF) – vincent.awotwe-pratt@worldcocoa.org