Ten African countries commit to sustainable commodities

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt – Ministers from ten African countries will sign the Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative Declaration, a single set of principles for the responsible production of agricultural commodities in Africa.

The Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative (ASCI) puts producer countries in Africa at the forefront of defining the principles for the sustainable development of cocoa, rubber, palm oil, coffee, and other commodities, in a way that protects livelihoods and protects natural resources, including forests.

ASCI build and expand upon principles agreed upon at COP22 in 2016 for the palm oil sector. The Marrakesh Declaration for Sustainable Development of the Palm Oil Sector acknowledged the role of agricultural commodity development as a driver of deforestation while emphasising the critical role of forests and forest conservation in addressing climate change.

“From CoP22 in 2016, when the Marrakesh Declaration was signed, we saw huge progress at COP26 in 2021 where every country demonstrated crucial milestones to achieve the sustainable development of palm oil,” said Abraham Baffoe, global and Africa director of Proforest.

“Many countries have recognized the need to work across multiple commodities, so the launch of ASCI is an important progression, as a truly multi-stakeholder initiative, with every country engaging at the regional, national and local level throughout the process,” Baffoe said.

The Marrakesh Declaration has been implemented through the African Palm Oil Initiative (APOI), comprised of ten countries in West and Central Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Edo State (Nigeria), Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

These countries account for 25 percent of the world’s tropical forests and 75 percent of Africa’s forests. An initiative of the Tropical Forest Alliance, the APOI is facilitated by Proforest, who will be supporting the Africa-led Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative.

Governments have recognized the potential for growth in the production of palm oil, cocoa and other agricultural commodities to meet increasing global demand and to contribute to food security and better livelihoods for millions of Africans while protecting the region’s remaining rainforests.

Diversification of food production also provides resilience and improves each country’s food security as well as helping to offset the impact of climate change. The Congo Basin alone can hold 30 billion tons of carbon, equivalent to three years of global fuel emissions; and its forests are essential for regional climate stability.

The signing in Sharm El-Sheik will take place at the Ghana Pavilion, attended by Ministers from the signatory countries.