The International Coffee Organization hopes a new task force it is putting together with the private sector can help bring about change and address the longstanding price crisis.
The Coffee Public-Private Task Force plan follows International Coffee Council (ICC) Decision 125-10 of 27 September 2019 requesting that the ICO “set up a task force with ICO members and representatives of the private sector and supporting organizations to draw up a roadmap and recommend further actions on price levels and volatility as well as long-term sustainability.”
The objectives of the task force are to build consensus among public and private sector coffee stakeholders on a roadmap for the implementation of the commitments and concrete actions contained in the London Declaration of September 2019. The declaration addressed a number of issues, including price levels, price volatility and the long-term sustainability of the coffee sector. Other objectives include defining new actions and resource allocation; monitoring progress and measuring impact; and driving the discussion on a joint long-term vision for the sector in order to achieve what the ICO described as “transformational solutions.”
To address price levels and volatility and to achieve an economically viable and sustainable coffee sector, the work of the task force will focus on six thematic areas for action identified in ICO Resolution 465 and in the London Declaration. These include:
- Market transparency, with a distinct focus on market information systems on production cost and living Income benchmarks, responsible sourcing, environmental sustainability and price
- Strengthening the policy and institutional environment, including efficient functioning of coffee futures markets, effective policies in exporting/importing countries
- Global and regional funding mechanisms
- Sector coordination, including individual and shared commitments, theory of change and measurement of impact/progress
- Promoting competitive and sustainable production and expanding sustainable sourcing
- Promoting a responsible consumption.
A model that was discussed informally at the 125th Session of the ICC foresees regional groupings of exporting members (Africa, Asia, Central America and Mexico, South America) with importing member represented by three or four countries.
Responding to the September 2019 decision, the Secretariat has been reviewing best practice for public-private collaboration in use by other commodity bodies and international organizations, and conducting a series of informal consultations, to develop a roadmap to put into practice the commitments made by the signatories of the London Declaration.
The ICO has secured a commitment by some countries to provide financial and technical resources for the plan and has defined a scheme for consideration by members. It is based on the international negotiating and consensus-building processes followed by the G20 and G7 countries.
“The application of such a scheme to address issues within a commodity sector in a multilateral context is unprecedented,” said the ICO, “as is the establishment of a Public-Private Task Force.
“In order to be successful and efficiently implemented, strong and continuous engagement by all public and private sector members of the task force is crucial.”
Three task force meetings are due to take place per annum. The next such meeting is due to be held in April or May 2020, during the 126th Session of the ICC which will take place in London 27 April-1 May 2020. Another meeting is expected in June/July 2020.