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Symposium on sustainability in the coffee sector held today in Brussels

BRUSSELS, Belgium – An interactive symposium ‘Meeting the SDGs: Challenges for the Coffee Value Chain. Shared Solutions to coffee price levels, volatility and long-term sustainability’ takes place today at the Albert Borschette Congress Center in Brussels, Belgium.

Initiated by the ICO, in partnership with the European Coffee Federation and hosted by the European Commission, this symposium is the fifth event held as part of the ICO’s ‘Structured Sector-Wide Dialogue’ to implement Resolution 465 on Coffee Price Levels.

This symposium brings together coffee sector stakeholders, policy-makers, academia, civil society and development partners to identify solutions for a sustainable and inclusive development of the coffee sector in a spirit of shared values and responsibility.

Background

To address the impact of low prices on the livelihoods of coffee farmers as well as the long- term sustainability of the coffee sector, the International Coffee Organization (ICO) is leading a sector-wide consultation process. This Sector Dialogue is an integral part of the implementation of Resolution 465 on “coffee price levels” adopted by the International Coffee Council – the highest authority of the ICO – at its 122nd Session in London, in September 2018.

The main objectives of the Sector Dialogue are to:

  • Identify long-term and transformational solutions that can be implemented jointly by coffee growers and other sector stakeholders together with development partners and the civil society to address price levels and volatility;
  • Build consensus and fostering commitments by ICO Member governments and downstream coffee value chain actors (traders, roasters, retailers) to endorse recommended solutions and support their funding and implementation in partnership with development partners and the civil society.

The Sector Dialogue comprises a series of five consultative events and will culminate in the ‘CEO and Global Leaders Forum’ involving coffee industry decision-makers and high-level representatives of governments and development institutions to be held during the 125th Session of the International Coffee Council in September 2019.

It is envisaged that a joint declaration will result from the Coffee and Global Leaders Forum including a roadmap with concrete actions to address the coffee price crisis and volatility, drive transformational change in the sector and work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The findings of this extensive sector dialogue will also be set out in the ICO’s first economic Flagship Report, which will be launched in September 2019 and will include rigorous empirical analysis on the impact of price levels and recommendations for actionable solutions.

Meeting the SDGs: Challenges for the Coffee Value Chain

Initiated by the ICO, in partnership with the European Coffee Federation (ECF) and hosted by the European Commission (EC)2, the symposium on 6 June brings together coffee sector stakeholders, policy-makers, academia, civil society and development partners to identify solutions for a sustainable and inclusive development of the coffee sector in a spirit of shared values and responsibility.

This initiative represents the commitment by the ICO, ECF and EC to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda and its Goal 17 to: ‘strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development’.

This event, building on the previous consultative events, provides a unique forum for debating how to reflect on the effectiveness of existing sustainability initiatives of the public and private sectors including industry programmes and European and international development policy frameworks.

In keeping with the key principles of shared values and responsibilities between farmers, all value chain actors, consumers and policy makers, the symposium will foster innovative thinking and the development of new ideas in the areas of:

  • Improving productivity and quality to increase the profitability of coffee production;
  • Income diversification for rural livelihoods that are more resilient to agricultural commodity cycles, price and climate shocks;
  • Price-risk management and alternative coffee pricing mechanisms to stabilise and increase rural incomes;
  • Innovative approaches and digital tools to foster value chain transparency and market access as well as increase domestic consumption in coffee-producing countries;
  • Building public-private initiatives with clear commitments to address sustainability challenges in the sector including living income, labour and gender issues, deforestation and biodiversity.

A Background Paper has been prepared by the ICO to provide an in-depth analysis of the impact of the current price level and present both the outcomes from the consultative events held to date and the expected results of the whole Sector Dialogue.