Presentation of initial COSA generic results and SCAN work on technical assistance
The SCI’s Christopher Wunderlich attended the 7th East African Fine Coffees Association (EAFCA) conference on February 11-13, 2010 in Mombasa, Kenya. This important annual event on the coffee calendar brought together representatives from the 11 EAFCA member countries, along with numerous other African and international stakeholders. The conference focused on the impact of climate change and the financial crisis on coffee production in Africa, as well as gender and specific coffee production and trade related issues.
Mr. Wunderlich was invited to speak on ‘Non-tariff Trade Barriers and Sustainability’. He emphasized the positive growth in, and demand for, sustainability initiatives and sustainable products, but stated that significant concerns have been raised regarding sustainability initiatives, including in the context of the WTO’s on-going debate on Private and Voluntary Standards. The areas where particular attention is required, to ensure benefits for producers, include: transparent governance in standard setting and implementation, dissemination of reliable, comprehensive information for producers, credible impact assessment, mechanisms to internalize environmental and social costs into supply chains, results-based and locally applicable compliance criteria, and the need for coordinated technical assistance, in particular to support smallholders.
With regard to the SCI’s work on these issues, initial generic results from the Committee on Sustainable Assessment (COSA) were presented, focusing on the contrast between certified and non-certified coffee and cocoa farms, as well as the Sustainable Commodity Assistance Network’s (SCAN) efforts to bring coordinated, demand-driven and results-based technical assistance to small coffee producers.
Through COSA and SCAN the SCI is active in East Africa, with potential for significant growth in the future. EAFAC continues to be an important venue for like-minded stakeholders to come together and discuss the key sustainability issues facing coffee production in Africa and internationally.