The Ghana Civil Society Organisations Cocoa Platform (GCCP) has been launched in Accra, as part of efforts to boost sustainable production in Ghana’s cocoa sector.
The GCCP is to create an avenue for civil society actors to influence the Ghana cocoa sector policies and programmes within key areas of the sector, coordinate efforts for the implementation and monitoring of the Cocoa and Forests Initiative, and to also contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The event, which was organised by the Ghana Civil Society Actors, was on the theme: “Strengthening civil society actors in multi-actor-partnerships on sustainable cocoa production”.
Dr Isaac Manu, the Deputy Research Manager at the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Dr Emmanuel Ayifah, Deputy Country Director, SEND Ghana, jointly performed the launch of the GCCP.
Dr Manu in his remarks underscored the need for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) within the cocoa sector to have an umbrella body to influence sustainable policies.
He said the COCOBOD would validate its second proposed strategy document and that his Department was asked to nominate people from CSOs that worked on cocoa, however, because there was no collective body and they had to use their discretion to invite some of them.
He said majority of the CSOs were not well organised; stating that some of them had duplicated objectives and a joint CSOs platform, where all issues would come under a secretariat, to have a common goal of influencing sustainable policies would go a long way to benefit the nation.
Dr Manu said although there was a National Cocoa Platform, a platform for knowledge sharing to ensure a sustainable cocoa economy, the GCCP had a different objective, thus, building capacity and advocacy of CSOs.
He said the National Cocoa Platform was a convening platform to help in the development of the cocoa sector and the Platform meetings were supported by a combination of technical papers and technical committees.
“It is our view that subsequently, we can get members of the CSOs to serve as members of the various technical working groups,” he said.
Dr Ayifah in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said SEND Ghana had been implementing a project dubbed “Cocoa Advocacy Project’ (CAP)” since 2017.
He said the CAP, which was being implemented with Rainforest Alliance and INKOTA, seeks to look at policies in the cocoa sector and see to what extent they could influence for better living conditions for cocoa farmers and also to boost production of cocoa.
Dr Ayifah told GNA that having implemented the project for two years, they had realised based on research that they did not have a strong CSO voice to advocate better cocoa policies, therefore, as part of CAP they decided to begin the discussion about a CSO coalition.
“A platform that will solely advocate on issues about cocoa in Ghana, so initially it was not part of the project, we realised that it was expedient to do that. And so, we started the initial discussion with certain other non-governmental organisations we know already”, he added.
Dr Ayifah said SEND Ghana had already established and was co-hosting the civil society platform on the SDGs and based on that they decided to use members that were looking at issues of Forestry and others.
Madam Sandra Kwabea Sarkwah, GCCP Coordinator, also noted that with regard to their operations, the Platform would identify and link cocoa farmer organisations to CSOs, and the media especially those on cocoa related SDGs platforms.
She said it would also facilitate and consolidate follow up monitoring findings and commitments in the sector.
She said in the area of responsibilities, SEND Ghana together with other partners would co-host the platform.