Conserving and sustainably managing Peru’s vast forest resources is fundamentally important for ensuring the country’s future, according to the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Godard.
Mr Kuczynski was speaking on Monday 27 November 2017 at the opening of the 53rd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council in Lima, Peru.
“The position of Peru is clear,” said Mr Kuczynski. “It is to promote, along with other countries, the conservation of tropical forests, because they provide oxygen and freshwater supply and mitigate climate change. … If we don’t protect our tropical forests, it will have a huge impact on future generations.”
Mr Kuczynski also spoke about a new Peruvian initiative, Sierra Azul, one of the aims of which is to restore degraded lands in the Peruvian Andes by establishing tree plantations to protect water catchments and generate green jobs in rural communities.
The International Tropical Timber Council, the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), meets once a year to discuss issues related to the legal trade of tropical timber and the sustainable management of tropical forests. About 200 delegates and observers attending the 53rd Session of the Council will this week discuss a range of measures aimed at making progress on both these fronts.
In his speech to the Council today, ITTO’s Executive Director, Dr Gerhard Dieterle, supported Peru’s emphasis on forest restoration, calling for a dramatic global increase in the supply of sustainably produced wood products. He pointed out that, without such an increase, the deficit in the supply of timber and other harvested forest products worldwide could be as high as 6 billion cubic metres per year by 2050.
Scaling up landscape restoration, sustainable forest management and legal and sustainable supply chains was essential to meet this demand, said Dr Dieterle. Moreover, it “could make an enormous contribution to green and inclusive growth, jobs and income”.
Other speakers today addressed similar themes. Dr Pablo Benjamín Quijandría Salmón, Peru’s Vice-Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation, noted that, despite his country’s rich forest resources, the forest sector contributes only 0.9% of gross domestic product. A multisectoral strategic approach was needed, he said, to sustainably develop the country’s forests.
Tabi Agyarko, Chair of the International Tropical Timber Council, spoke about the common purpose among ITTO members in promoting the sustainable management of tropical-timber-producing forests. He noted a widening gap between the number of approved project proposals in the Organization and the funds available to finance them, and he called for a focused effort to address this.
Benito Owusu-Bio, Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, spoke about recent changes in laws on forests and wildlife in Ghana aimed, among other things, at addressing threats to forests, promoting payments for environmental services, and developing forest plantations.
John Leigh, Executive Director of Servicio Nacional Forestal y Fauna Silvestre (SERFOR), Peru’s national forest agency, noted his country’s trade deficit in forest products. He described some of the issues facing Peru’s forest resources and the government’s recent policy responses.
Eva Muller, Director of the Division of Forest Policy and Resources at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, spoke about global developments in forest policy, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN Strategic Plan on Forests.
“Scaling up sustainable forest management and restoration is crucial” for meeting the targets set in these globally agreed documents, said Dr Muller.
One of the targets of the UN Strategic Plan on Forests, said the Director of the United Nations Forum on Forests, Dr Manoel Sobral Filho, was to increase global forest area by 3% by 2030.
“Today, we are at an inflection point, poised to move [from net forest loss] towards the positive trend,” he said. “So, when some ask if a 3% global increase in forests is a realistic target, my reply is a resounding yes.”
The Council viewed a video message from John Scanlon, Executive Secretary of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, who spoke about the strong ongoing partnership between CITES and ITTO.
Among the highlights at the 53rd Session of the Council will be the Annual Market Discussion, featuring experts in the tropical timber trade from both producer and consumer countries. The theme of this year’s Discussion, which will take place on Wednesday 29 November, will be “sharing experiences on promoting investment in tropical timber industries and tropical forestry”.
The International Tropical Timber Council meets at least once a year to discuss a wide-ranging agenda aimed at promoting sustainable tropical forest management and the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber.
Daily coverage of the session by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is available at http://enb.iisd.org/forestry/itto/ittc53/