SECO and UNDP launch Green Commodities Programme new phase to drive sustainable agricultural production in 5 countries

January 18, 2024


UNDP and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) have launched the third phase of the Green Commodities Programme (GCP), building on the efforts started in 2010 to catalyse changes in the sustainability of agricultural production for society, the economy, and the environment. 

Leveraging Swiss citizens’ interest in sustainable food, UNDP and SECO renewed their working partnership – first formed in 2015 – to further strengthen their joint engagement in sustainable agricultural commodities productions, which started with palm oil in Indonesia, as well as coffee and cocoa in Peru. Already in 2021 Swiss voters approved in a referendum a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the European Free Trade Association and Indonesia, which among other things provides for preferential market access for sustainably produced palm oil.

The continuation GCP project will extend the expertise gained in the previous two phases to three additional countries: Malaysia (palm oil), Ghana (cocoa), and Brazil (beef and soy).

Phase III builds on successes achieved since 2015, notably the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil Platform and the National Action Plan on Sustainable Palm Oil. In Peru SECO funded UNDP’s support for the Coffee National Action Plan, guided by the multi-stakeholder Peruvian National Coffee Platform. The success of this Platform lead to an official request to also work with the multi-stakeholder group developing Peru’s National Development Plan for Cocoa and Chocolate, which was signed by the president in November 2022. 

“The key is to strengthen country commodity transformation processes through capacity building in systems leadership and use of multi-stakeholder Effective Collaborative Action methodologies and tools,” said UNDP Food and Agricultural Commodity Systems Senior Advisor Leif Pedersen. “We also use our expertise in public-private partnership building, learning and exchange between country teams through our FACS Community, and collaboration and advocacy with companies in global supply-chains.”

The new project will support mainstreaming the implementation of the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil across key line ministries in Indonesia, while further increasing involvement of the private sector and civil society. UNDP will also support implementation at the subnational level through the SECO-supported Sustainable Landscapes Program Indonesia (SLPI). 

In Peru, activities under the Coffee National Action Plan will address important issues such as improving coffee productivity and quality, reducing deforestation from agricultural expansion, facilitating access to financial services and bolstering sector governance. Phase III will support expanded implementation of the National Action Plan, as well as the newly adopted National Development Plan for Cocoa and Chocolate, including further strengthening of local capacities for implementation and increased stakeholder collaboration.

“It’s important to recognize the special Swiss interest on sustainable commodities” said Monica Rubiolo, Head of Trade Promotion at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, SECO. ‘’The public vote on the CEPA Agreement with Indonesia in 2021 clearly confirmed Swiss citizens’ concern regarding sustainable commodity production. We are therefore happy to continue our partnership with UNDP in this field. The idea is to also increase collaboration with interested Swiss stakeholders, such as the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa, or the Swiss Networks for Palm Oil and Soy and facilitate more private sector engagement. This collaboration will be instrumental to build partnerships with Swiss associations and companies.”

“We’ve learned a lot in Phase I and II” said Andrew Bovarnick, Global Head of UNDP’s Food and Agricultural Commodity Systems Practice. “We’re delighted to be continuing our success with SECO in Indonesia and Peru, and look forward to bringing our Effective Collaborative Action techniques to Malaysia, Ghana and Brazil. Involving all levels of government and players in the supply chain will be instrumental to enact the dramatic change we need for sustainable food production in the years to come”.

More information on the approach and results of the Green Commodities Programme is available in its dedicated initiative page and in the project's snapshot summary.