A new partnership between the global chocolate and cocoa industry, the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin and U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel and the governments of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire show continued focus on promoting responsible cocoa farming in Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana.

A new framework of action supporting the Harkin-Engel Protocol, launched recently in a press conference at the U.S. Department of Labor, underlines the shared responsibility in achieving a significant reduction of the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa growing areas.

“Improving the lives of children and adults in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana is a matter of shared responsibility for all those involved, and our industry is fully committed to helping even more cocoa farming families through this innovative partnership,” says Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association, on behalf of the global chocolate and cocoa industry.

As part of the new partnership, the global chocolate and cocoa industry pledged to commit $7 million to further the goals of the Harkin-Engel Protocol and the Framework of Action, of which $2 million will support a new public private partnership led by the International Labor Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor, and $5 million includes the expansion of significant current industry work on cocoa that has demonstrated the value of partnerships. The industry also is making an additional pledge to explore the possibility of committing an extra $3 million for remediation activities that further these goals.

The new, expanded initiatives will build on experiences gained through the multi-million dollar investments made by the industry since 2001. Innovative programs and projects, such as those implemented by the International Cocoa Initiative and the World Cocoa Foundation, have already positively touched the lives of adults and children in cocoa communities across West Africa.