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UNDP Green Commodities Programme (GCP)

  • Published on February 10, 2022

The UNDP Green Commodities Programme (GCP) exists to improve the national, economic, social, and environmental performance of agricultural commodity sectors. In 2010, UNDP launched the GCP in recognition of the importance of global agricultural commodities in achieving the SDGs, with a mission to improve the lives of farmers and their communities and protect high conservation value forest and important vulnerable ecosystems. 


The GCP helps to address the sustainability challenges of highly-traded commodities. It supports governments to take the lead in creating national environments where sustainable commodity sectors can grow. This means facilitating neutral spaces where stakeholders can collaborate on a shared vision and agenda for action. It means building public-private partnerships. And, it means sharing what we learn through a growing community of practitioners. 


During more than 10 years of engagement with agricultural commodity sectors (including palm oil, coffee, cocoa and beef among the others), the GCP has learned that the HOW is at least as important as the WHAT when dealing with transforming agricultural commodity sectors, and embraced Changing Systems through Collaborative Action (CSCA) as the DNA at the centre of the programme’s initiatives. 

There are several deficiencies in the overall enabling environment for sustainable commodity production that limit opportunities for sector-wide change, which can be grouped into the following six barriers:   

  1. Perverse policies and incentives constrain sustainable commodity production in developing countries
  2. Limited knowledge and capacity for sustainable production practices
  3. Lack of multistakeholder collaboration to address systemic change
  4. Inadequate financial services for green commodity producers
  5. Weak business case for green commodities
  6. Limited opportunities for learning and knowledge-sharing between changemakers 

The Green Commodities Programme is addressing the above barriers through an integrated approach aiming at delivering system-wide change in the way commodities are produced, traded, processed and marketed. A particular focus is dedicated to barriers number 2, 3, and 6, which were identified as the ones holding the highest potential to catalyse system-wide transformation towards more sustainable agricultural commodity systems, including through spill-overs which would affect the remaining barriers. 

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