The representative of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union coordinated the EU Member States at the 124th session of the International Coffee Council as Chairperson of the Council of the European Union’s Working Party on Commodities. The meeting took place between March 25-29, 2019, in Kenya, Nairobi. Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, addressed the participants at the opening ceremony, which took place on March 26, 2019.
Romania, as the Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union, coordinates the Member States’ position within the international commodity bodies. European Union’s common position is discussed and endorsed by the Council of the European Union’s Working Party on Commodities, and the European Commission represents the Member States within such international fora.
The International Coffee Council meeting, held for the first time in Kenya, was focused on Profitability: Consumption and Productivity. At the same time, other related events unfolded, such as the Conference on Coffee Industry Sustainability: Coffee: How sustainable is our future? Thus, the talks in Nairobi focused on the sustainable development of the coffee industry and, implicitly, on the functioning of the International Coffee Organization (ICO).
The meeting agenda included topics such as the assessment of the organization membership, the arrangement for members in persistent arrears, the 2018/2019 action program, the coffee market status report with an emphasis on coffee prices – which are falling – organization’s surveys and reports, assessment of domestic coffee policies, report on the implementation of Memoranda of Understanding with various partners, ICO subsidiary bodies’ reports, the current status of the Special Fund for the promotion of coffee consumption in the exporting countries, as well as ICO’s future events.
The seminar on Coffee Industry’s sustainability, which preceded the meeting of the International Coffee Council, consisted of 3 panels on: sustainable coffee production; consumption and added value in Africa; public-private collaboration to ensure the economic viability of the coffee industry; the future of the coffee industry.
The most important issues discussed on this occasion concerned the implementation of Resolution 466 on members of the organization in persistent arrears, and the implementation of Resolution 465 on coffee price levels and the exporting members’ difficulties under these conditions. Both topics directly address the sustainability of the organization and the coffee industry, the active involvement of the EU as the biggest member of the organization within the group of importing countries, once more proving the commitment to promoting multilateralism and the role of the EU as a global actor.
The International Coffee Organization (ICO) is an international intergovernmental organization, based in London, established in 1963 under the auspices of the United Nations. It is responsible for the implementation of the International Coffee Agreement, whose latest version was adopted in 2007 and entered into force on February 2, 2011. The ICO consists of 50 Member States (44 exporting and 6 importing countries), accounting for 98% of the global coffee production and 67% of global consumption.
The International Coffee Council is the organization’s highest decision-making body and meets biannually in March and September. The next International Coffee Council meeting will be held from 23-27 September 2019 in London, UK.