Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The BNA WTO Reporter tells us that officials from Ghana and Ivory Coast have just signed an agreement with the U.S. Labor Department and some Congressional Officials to reduce the worst forms of child labor on cocoa farms in Ghana and Ivory Coast by 70 percent by 2020. In return, the Labor Department reportedly pledged to contribute $10 million to help children involved in child labor, including those missing school or working with dangerous equipment. BNA tells us that the international chocolate and cocoa industry also committed $7 million and may commit an additional $3 million.
The name of the agreement is the “Declaration of Joint Action to Support Implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol.” The Harkin-Engel Protocol was brokered almost 10 years ago by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.). It was signed by representatives of the global chocolate industry and a coalition of industry, government, and rights groups. By signing the protocol, they agreed to eliminate child labor and establish a process to certify cocoa products made without child labor.
Someday chocolate bar wrappers may carry a stamp to certify that they were produced without child labor.