YOKOHAMA – The future role and financial sustainability of the Common Fund for Commodities took center stage at the 17th annual meeting between the Fund and its main partners, the International Commodity Bodies (ICBs), held August 31 in Yokohama, Japan.
Managing Director Amb. Ali Mchumo, in his statement said that the partnership between the Fund and the ICBs reflected the common agenda and close collaboration needed to advance commodity development, especially in least developed countries.
“As stakeholders, the ICBs form the cornerstone of the Fund’s project activities. More importantly, because you also have the authoritative commodity expertise, information and knowledge, an important pre-condition for successful commodity development interventions,” he said.
This year’s meeting was hosted and chaired by Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO).
Amb. Mchumo briefed representatives on the 20th anniversary seminar held in December 2009 in The Hague and reported on the successful cooperation modalities between CFC and EU’s All ACP Agricultural Commodities Programme. In this regard, he said, project activities have benefited from EU financial contributions of 9,044,000 Euros and approximately USD 12,700,000 from the Fund.
On other core agenda discussions, Amb. Mchumo outlined the key milestones in the current year, including the consultation process on the Fund’s future and the Mid-Term Review of the Secretariat’s 3rd five-year Action Plan (2008-2012).
Amb. Mchumo said the final reports from these activities have been completed and will be presented to the upcoming Executive Board meeting in October.
Amb. Mchumo also announced that the Common Fund will participate in the 4th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), which will take place in June 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.
CFC has been invited by the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, which has the overall responsibility for the organization of the LDC-IV Conference to participate in the preparation of this event along with other international organizations.
“In the course of the consultations among the international organizations preparing for the conference, a proposal has been made to examine policy measures to reduce the vulnerability of commodity dependent LDCs in the face of global economic crisis,” said Amb. Mchumo.
He added, “UNCTAD and CFC have been asked to identify possible measures and in doing so we would also like to receive the inputs from the ICBs. The end result will be a suitable set of instruments to be considered by the LDC-IV Conference in Istanbul.”
In Yokohama, the ICB representatives also considered a proposal for a joint CFC-ICB communications strategy. The proposal will move forward to explore possible avenues of co-operation and synergies, once a consultancy has been identified and engaged to conduct a full-scale commodities sector issues analysis and report, outlining a communications plan.
The plan should identify target audiences, develop key messages and suitable media outreach platforms to enhance commodity development policy advocacy, as well as increased public awareness about the crucial role of commodities in the development process and the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Commodity bodies represented at the meeting included the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan; International Coffee Organization; International Copper, Nickel and Lead and Zinc Study Groups; International Jute Study Group; International Olive Council; International Rubber Study Group; International Cotton Advisory Council; International Sugar Organization; and ITTO. Other participants were from CFC, FAO, UNCTAD and the European Union.