ICO members draft new International Coffee Agreement

The 132nd Session of the International Coffee Council, held virtually, concluded after a two-day meeting (31 March – 1 April) following a week of associated meetings of the Committees of the International Coffee Organization (ICO) – Finance and Administration Committee; the Working Group on the Future of the Agreement; Projects Committee, Statistics Committee, Promotion & Market Development Committee; and the Private Sector Consultative Board. The Session was chaired by HE Ambassador Iván Romero-Martínez of Honduras and brought together 34 Members from both exporting and importing countries.

The most important item on the agenda was the draft text of the new International Coffee Agreement 2022, the result of decisions made in twenty-eight meetings of the Working Group on the Future of the Agreement. The new agreement has been reviewed to improve international cooperation among all coffee stakeholders both at the public and private levels, so as to achieve a sustainable and resilient coffee sector with a specific focus on the livelihoods of coffee farmers and other producers. The revised structure of the agreement – which foresees the transformation of the Coffee Public-Private Task Force into a permanent Working Party – bears witness to the recognised need to enhance dialogue and build new partnerships with the private sector and civil society to jointly address common challenges such as climate change and the negative repercussion of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new system for the calculation of votes and contributions that better reflects the reality of the coffee global value chain is also expected to be introduced to promote a fairer distribution of financial commitments among Members and enhance the financial sustainability of the ICO. The Council decided to hold a Special Session on 8 and 9 June 2022 to consider the adoption of the new Agreement.

The Council expressed its appreciation and praise for the advances the Coffee Public-Private Task Force has made in the mobilization of a substantial amount of resources to carry out the transformation of the coffee sector thanks to the high-impact engagement with all actors of the global coffee value chain in a variety of areas, including living and prosperous income for coffee growers, market transparency, building resilient coffee landscapes addressing also gender transformation and deforestation. In the spirit of ensuring continuity to the activities of the Task Force, ICO Members approved the concept note for an overall funding proposal for the period 2022-2026, as well as the proposal from Technical Workstream 3 ‘Sector Transformation – Exporting Members’ containing specific actions for the benefit of coffee producers and stakeholders facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and by the Global Coffee Platform (GCP).

In view of the discussions in the Private Sector Consultative Board following a presentation by the European Coffee Federation (ECF) on the new draft Directive on Deforestation, the Council requested the Secretariat to continue monitoring and establish appropriate mechanisms, possibly within the CPPTF so that the ICO could voice the interest as well as the concerns of all coffee stakeholders before the European Union.

Members also appointed Massimiliano Fabian of EU-Italy as the new vice chair of the International Coffee Council, as well as Zoltan Agai of the European Commission as chair of the Finance and Administration Committee (FAC) for coffee year 2021-22. ICO Members and the Secretariat expressed their gratitude to José Sette for his five years of service (2017-2022) as the executive director of the ICO and for the achievements obtained for the benefit of the global coffee sector under his leadership. On 1 May, Sette will be succeeded by Vanúsia Maria Carneiro Nogueira, the first woman to lead the ICO since its creation.

The Council will resume in-person meetings starting with the last session of coffee year 2021-22, which will be held in Bogotá from 3-7 October 2022 following the generous offer made by the Government of Colombia to host the 134th Session of the Council.

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