Submitted by Oxfam America
The stated goal of the 4Cs is to establish a global code for the sustainable growing, processing and trading of mainstream coffee and to do so through a consensual process between stakeholders. Other groups who have been part of the debate around development of the 4Cs initiative include a range of coffee companies, national and international civil society groups, and coffee producer organizations. The 4Cs initiative also receives significant support from GTZ, a German government development agency.
As part of Oxfam International's ongoing work to help alleviate the poverty, hunger and social injustice facing small coffee farmers and farm workers worldwide, Oxfam chose to begin participating in the development of the 4Cs over two years ago. Since then, the system for implementing the code has yet to be established. The process put in place to solicit farmer and farm worker feedback has not given those groups a true voice in the process. Meanwhile small scale family farmers and farm workers continue to suffer as a result of the coffee crisis.
"We feel our expectations for this process can be accomplished reasonably within the next several months," said Petchers. "Oxfam needs to have a substantive commitment from the 4Cs so we can move forward confidently with the knowledge that small scale family farmers and farm workers will truly benefit from the initiative - these people are the ones bearing the burden of the coffee crisis."
A copy of the Oxfam letter delivered to the 4Cs secretariat follows. For more information or to set up an interview please contact Helen DaSilva at email@example.com, +55 71 9606 3489 (Brazil, through September 28) or (617) 331-2984 (Boston, after September 30).
September 22, 2005
This week, the Rules of Participation document (RoP) was accepted by the 4Cs Steering Committee in Salvador, Brazil. The RoP lays out the spirit of the 4Cs and identifies the components of the program that participants agree will be put into place. However, the RoP leaves pending the development of specific guidelines that will define the way that the system operates. As the 4Cs enters into its next stage Oxfam wants to make its expectations of the development process clear.
Establishment of the systems outlined above is a necessary next step in the development of the 4Cs without which implementation cannot move forward. Given the importance of this next phase, the urgency of the situation facing small-scale family farmers and farm workers, and the length of time it has taken to get to this stage, Oxfam expects that establishment of these systems will be complete and ready for stakeholder review no later than the next Steering Committee meeting (i.e., approximately six months). Further, Oxfam expects that the 4Cs will not go into the implementation phase until these criteria are met, nor will the project secretariat issue any public statements suggesting the implementation of the 4Cs.
As Oxfam has stated previously, our continued participation in the 4Cs process is dependant on the course of development of the Code and does not guarantee our endorsement of the final product. Our continued participation in the process will be based on our evaluation of whether and how the expectations outlined above are met.
Coffee Campaign Lead, Oxfam International
Oxfam is a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty. We help people build better futures for themselves, hold the powerful accountable, and save lives in disasters. Our mission is to tackle the root causes of poverty and create lasting solutions. Join us: oxfamamerica.org.
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