Most commodity sectors in developing countries are afflicted by poor production practices that lead to increasing pressure on ecosystems and fail to improve the livelihoods of rural communities. Poor production practices lead to negative environmental impacts such as biodiversity loss, deforestation, carbon emissions, soil erosion, depletion of water resources and contamination from chemicals. In fact, the largest driver of deforestation is the production of agricultural commodities. On the social side, working conditions in commodity production are often not in line with basic labor rights. Despite recent commodity booms, small producers are held in poverty, mostly due to low productivity and product quality.
Despite the progress made through standards and supply-chain initiative, weaknesses in the underlying enabling environment limit change at a larger scale. An effective enabling environment consists of elements such as clear public policies, a well-functioning legal framework, clarity regarding land-use planning, effective enforcement mechanisms, accessible credit structures, and effective farmer extension services. As a result of the absence of these elements, work on commodity sustainability remains less effective than it could be, and costlier and more time-consuming than it should be. Improving enabling environments will increase the chances of sector-wide change to sustainable production practices.
UNDP established the Green Commodities Programme (GCP) in 2009 in recognition of the importance of global agricultural commodities and how they contribute to economic, social and environmental sustainability and the need to strengthen UNDP’s support and leadership in the field. GCP was initiated with seed funding from the UNDP and was tasked to evolve into a global programme supporting UNDP’s Strategic Plan, building on almost a decade of GEF supported projects mainstreaming ecosystem services into productive landscapes. GCP’s global targets, objectives and delivery strategies are based on inclusive and sustainable growth and development – combining governments and markets in agriculture through public private partnerships and democratic dialogue processes. GCP’s focus on strengthening the livelihoods of smallholder producers within commodity supply chains and reducing environmental footprints, particularly deforestation, through public private partnerships can be key for UNDP’s ambitions to reduce poverty, reduce deforestation and engage the private sector in SDGs.
The Green Commodities Programme (GCP) exists to improve the national economic, social and environmental performance of agricultural commodity sectors. GCP works within agricultural commodity production in countries of UNDP operation where the programme can have significant impact on rural livelihoods, mitigate climate change, and maintain the ecosystem services and resilience of landscapes and seascapes.
The GCP has pioneered the concept of National Commodity Platforms to help governments facilitate shared visions and actions for sustainable commodity production among key stakeholders. GCP operates in over 10 countries globally