UNDP and the Government of Switzerland mark the initiation of their third phase aiming to drive sustainable agricultural production in 5 countries

Commencing in 2010, the Green Commodities Programme (GCP) has been pivotal in instigating transformative changes in the sustainability of agricultural production, with a focus on societal, economic, and environmental impact. Building upon the success of the two precedent phases, the renewed partnership between UNDP and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) aims to further enhance sustainable agricultural commodity production in five countries: Peru, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ghana, and Brazil.

July 8, 2024

As global demand for sustainable food rises, producer countries encounter significant challenges in transforming their sectors. Issues such as environmental degradation, rural poverty, climate change, and new trade barriers aimed at sustainability pose obstacles to current production models and export setups. The consequences include the departure of new generations from farming communities seeking better opportunities. The complexity of agricultural sector transformation necessitates collaboration between various stakeholders: public, private, civil society, academia, finance, development partners, etc.

Yet, stakeholders often operate in isolation, and many countries lack the mechanisms to create a widely shared vision for their sectors. The Green Commodities Programme (GCP) aims to address these challenges by fostering effective collaborative action among stakeholders in five prominent commodity-producing countries, providing them with the opportunity to construct resilient commodity sectors capable of meeting future challenges.

Phase III focuses on Indonesia, Peru, Brazil, Ghana, and Malaysia, addressing complex issues in their agricultural commodity systems. The project in Indonesia centers on mainstreaming the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil (NAP SPO) across key ministries, institutionalizing NAP functions, and engaging the private sector and civil society. It aligns with the trade deal between the European Free Trade Association and Indonesia, linking market access concessions to sustainable production. In Peru, efforts extend to implementing the Coffee National Action Plan and the National Development Plan for Cocoa and Chocolate, tackling challenges like low productivity, deforestation, and inadequate governance. Phase III will also support strengthening of governance structures at regional level in Cajamarca, Cusco and Piura.

The specific challenges in each country underscore the need for a comprehensive approach. Indonesia faces the dual challenge of being a major palm oil producer while combating deforestation. Peru grapples with low yields, inferior production practices, and deforestation in its coffee and cocoa sectors. Brazil deals with agricultural deforestation, particularly related to beef and soy, impacting the Cerrado region. Ghana, a major cocoa producer, struggles with low farmer incomes and seeks value-added opportunities. Malaysia, a significant palm oil producer, faces threats to its biodiversity from logging and oil palm expansion.

The project's emphasis on multi-stakeholder collaboration seeks to overcome these challenges, engaging national and local governments, private sectors, and global stakeholders. By adopting a systems approach, the project aims to create lasting change, addressing not only environmental concerns but also poverty, income stabilization, and gender equality within the agricultural commodity systems.

The launch of the new GCP phase reaffirms the commitment of UNDP and SECO to fostering positive change in the food and agricultural sector, promoting sustainable agricultural practices through a systems approach.

"It is important to recognize Switzerland's special interest in sustainable Commodities," said Monica Rubiolo, Head of Commercial Promotion of the Secretariat of State for Economic Affairs of Switzerland, SECO. "We are pleased to continue our partnership with UNDP in this field. The idea is also to increase collaboration with Swiss counterparts, such as the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa, and to facilitate greater participation of the private sector. This collaboration with UNDP will be essential to build alliances with Swiss associations and companies."

"We have learned a lot in phases I and II," said Andrew Bovarnick, UNDP Global Head of FACS. "We are delighted to continue our achievements with SECO in Indonesia and Peru, and we hope to bring our Effective Collaborative Action techniques to Malaysia, Ghana and Brazil. Involving all levels of government and actors in the supply chain will be essential to implement the drastic change we need for sustainable food production in the coming years."