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News release

Chairman calls for partnerships between civil society and concessionaires

Yokohama, Japan, 4 November 2002

ITTO should facilitate and promote partnerships on the ground between forest concessionaires and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work towards sustainable forest management, according to Dr Jürgen Blaser, the chairman of the International Tropical Timber Council.

Dr Blaser made the call at the Council's 33rd Session, which started today in Yokohama. He said that ITTO is well placed to support such partnerships because it brings together representatives of producers and consumers with interests encompassing the forest resource, processing industries, marketing and trade, all of who have an interest in and differing perspectives on sustainable forest management and its certification. Support for such partnerships would "send a very clear message to the international marketplace that tropical timber producers and civil society organizations can cooperate to bring forests under sustainable forest management," he said.

Certification features prominently on the agenda of the Council session. A report will be presented on the potential role of phased approaches to certification in tropical timber producer countries, and the Organization's Civil Society Advisory Group will convene a panel to discuss "succeeding in the certified forest products' market place".

Other speakers at the opening session of the Council included H.E. Eisuke Hinode, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Honorable Mr. Hiroshi Nakada, Mayor of the City of Yokohama, Mr. Tetsuo Kato, Director-General of the Japan Forestry Agency, H.E. Mr. Oben Tanyi Mbianyor, Minister for the Environment and Forests of Cameroon, H.E. Mr. Jos Carlos Carvalho, Minister for the Environment of Brazil, and the Organization's Executive Director, Manoel Sobral Filho.

Several speakers supported ITTO's work on forest law enforcement in the context of sustainable timber production and trade, a subject on the Council's agenda at this session. In this context the Council will hear reports on the implementation of a study to assess export and import data on tropical timber and tropical timber products, the compilation and analysis of information on relevant issues affecting market access for tropical timber, and progress in the implementation of case studies to assist producer countries in devising ways to enhance forest law enforcement.

The Council will also discuss matters related to the duration and extension of the International Tropical Timber Agreement (under which the Organization operates), as well as the promotion of sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin, the annual review and assessment of the international timber situation, and other issues.

For more information contact: Mr Alastair Sarre, Editor & Communications Manager, Yokohama, editor@itto.or.jp.
Visit: www.iisd.ca/linkages/forestry/itto/ittc33 for reports on the session by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.