The Role of Sustainable Cocoa in the Millennium Development Goals
Entry: Bill Guyton
In 2000, The United Nations set forth an ambitious plan, encouraging the international community to adopt “Millennium Development Goals” or MDGs over a 15 year period. These included:
Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health
Goal 6: HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
We are now at the mid-point to the 2015 target, and the UN has issued a report highlighting achievements and challenges to date.
The good news is that the rate of extreme poverty is declining, school enrollment has risen, child mortality is declining, and malaria control measures have expanded. Despite these achievements, key challenges remain. Over half a million women continue to die each year from preventable complications with pregnancy and child birth, the number of people dying from AIDS has increased to 2.9 million in 2005, income disparity has widened, employment opportunities for youth in developing countries is limited, and warming of the climate is now unequivocal. In order to tackle these challenges, coordinated efforts are needed among governments, the private sector, and civil society to provide financial and technical resources.
Cocoa is a smallholder crop, employing over five million farmers and their families in rural areas of the tropics. In many cases, cocoa is the only source of income for these families. They farm cocoa on fragile soils in remote areas, where access to schools and medical facilities may be distant. In collaboration with national governments, the World Cocoa Foundation strives to work through partnerships to address challenges in the cocoa supply chain, following some of the program areas outlined in the MDGs. These include efforts on poverty reduction, education, health care and environmental sustainability. We see the power of working together in partnership with others in the international development community, to provide better opportunities for those in the rural tropics.
Photo: Students from Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) participate in an AIDS awareness event. Their posters include information on HIV/AIDS prevention. The students, participants in the CLASSE program, organized the event for their community in recognition of World AIDS Day.