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The World Cocoa Conference (WCC) will take place from April 21 to 24, 2024 in Brussels, at The Square conference center. The WCC program has recently been made available online. It is the flagship event of the cocoa sector and will attract between 1,000 and 1,200 participants from around the world, as the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO), which organizes the WCC, has 52 member states: 29 cocoa-importing countries and 23 cocoa-exporting countries. Participants will also come from various backgrounds: governments, the private sector, cocoa grower representatives, NGOs, as well as specialized journalists and researchers.
The WCC will be opened by Her Majesty the Queen in her capacity as an advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals. Belgium is the host country for the WCC 2024 and will be represented by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Development Cooperation and Major Cities, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The WCC 2024 is co-organized by the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the ICCO. Our FPS relies on various partners to carry out this project: at the Belgian level, these are the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD), the Belgian development agency Enabel, the City of Brussels, the Brussels-Capital Region, and the sustainable cocoa initiative "Beyond Chocolate". The event also benefits from the support of two external partners: the European Commission and Germany.
The WCC 2024 comes at a critical time, as it is not only the first edition in six years of a typically biennial conference, but it also coincides with significant opportunities and challenges for the cocoa sector. These challenges are related to the need to align the value chain with requirements for due diligence and sustainability legislation. Cocoa is mainly produced by poor small-scale farmers in West Africa. Therefore, discussions at WCC 2024 will focus on the price of cocoa and the income of cocoa farmers under the theme: "Paying more for a sustainable cocoa". Improving cocoa farmer income is the best way to fight child labor and deforestation. The program will also address critical issues such as sustainable cocoa traceability; environmental concerns; supply management and demand stimulation; new cocoa-derived products or even the role of women in the cocoa economy.
As the host country, Belgium is committed to making WCC 2024 a milestone in the ongoing efforts undertaken by the international community to achieve sustainable cocoa, with fair prices throughout its value chain.
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