EU Says Ivory Coast Has to Step Up Efforts to Enforce Laws Against Deforestation

The EU’s ambassador to Ivory Coast stated on Thursday that Ivory Coast needs to step up efforts to ensure that cocoa stocks going to the European market comply with the EU’s deforestation law, which will go into full force in January 2025.

According to Francesca Di Mauro of Reuters, the EU is concerned about child labor, farming on protected forests, and the declassification of existing protected forests. The world’s largest cocoa producer ships about 70% of its annual output to the EU.

“Ivory Coast should not be tempted to declassify current protected forests where cocoa is produced to make them legal and compliant with the new European regulation,” she stated.

She said that in order to meet its target of doubling the amount of forest cover from the current 10% to 20%, Ivory Coast is thinking of converting severely degraded forests into agro-forest areas and accelerating reforestation.

According to EU law, importers of goods like coffee, cocoa, beef, soy, rubber, and palm oil must provide a due diligence statement attesting to the fact that their products do not contribute to the deforestation of the environment, or face severe fines.

Di Mauro stated that upon the regulation’s implementation, all cocoa suppliers must abide by it.

She clarified, “So, for those that are currently being purchased, the aim is to make sure they are ready to enter the European territory from January 2025.” She also mentioned that talks in Brussels were still ongoing and that no decisions had been made regarding how to handle earlier stocks.

According to Di Mauro, the EU and the West African country needed to move more quickly even though they were engaged in intense and close negotiations on their standard on traceability and certification.

“We have a little over a year to ensure that this system is fully in place because at the moment, there are pilots being implemented, but the system needs to be fully deployed to ensure traceability, certification, and everything works well,” she stated.

Reference : 

Aboa, A. (2023, October 26). Ivory Coast must speed up efforts on deforestation rules, EU says. Reuters.