More than 70 professionals from 11 countries working across 7 commodities met in Indonesia last month as part of the Green Commodities Community. Set-up by GCP in 2014, this Community - including representatives from government, the private sector and civil society - comes together face-to-face annually to share their growing knowledge and experience on addressing the sustainability challenges of palm oil, cocoa, coffee, pineapple, fisheries, soy and beef.
“In key producer countries, we know that most agricultural commodity sectors face similar problems,” says Lise Melvin, the Community’s key architect and GCP Senior Advisor. “Giving the people at the coalface of these vexed issues a space where they can learn and collaborate is essential if we are going to enable countries to tackle poverty, deforestation and other impacts of unsustainable commodity production,” she said.
Over four days, through interactive sessions, case studies, presentations and panel discussions, the Community explored issues ranging from how to empower smallholders to engaging the private sector and rolling out collective national action plans for sustainable production.
Mildred Buazon from the Department of Agriculture in the Philippines said: “The organizers are very considerate and provide excellent opportunity for learning and development and all the topics given proved to be relevant in our work.”
Meanwhile, Caroline Peters from GCP said: “I met many amazing, inspiring people and had some fascinating debates.” And, Rini Indrayanti the Manager of FOXSBI, Indonesia’s palm oil platform commented: “[It makes you feel] that you are not alone in this process and that a lot of other people are doing this with you.”
The Green Commodities Community is aimed at increasing knowledge to enable governments to lead multi-stakeholder dialogues in their countries for the sake of collective action on sustianable commodity production. These dialogues are now bringing diverse stakeholders together, often for the first time, to collectively address the systemic barriers to sustainability across seven highly-traded commodities in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
“As a group we have gathered a lot of collective knowledge, expertise and experience, which is now an incredibly valuable asset for any government or sector stakeholders that are seeking to shift towards sustainability,” Ms. Melvin said. “As so many countries are facing seemingly overwhelming sustainability challenges, it is important to gather, share and provide space for people to collaborate. This is key for scale.”
And, the Community is now set to grow. With the September 2017 launch of a major new Global Environment Facility supported initiative, the Good Growth Partnership, more professionals will be invited to join the Community, with a major conference planned for 2018 in the Amazon.