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News release

ITTO finances further forest action

Denpasar, Indonesia, 18 May 2002

The International Tropical Timber Council has pledged more than US$8.1 million for initiatives promoting sustainable forest management, greater transparency in the tropical timber trade and the development of sustainable tropical forest-based industries.

The pledges were made at the Council's 32nd session, which ended here today. It included commitments to finance 15 projects, six pre-projects (feasibility studies) and a range of other activities.

Several activities and projects were financed to improve sustainable forest management in West Africa (see press release 'ITTO takes action in Africa'). Among other projects financed were three in Indonesia worth a total of US$1.6 million to promote collaborative forest management in East Kalimantan and Bali and the development of a sustainable rattan industry. Another project in Brazil will harmonize ITTO's criteria and indicators with those of the region's Tarapoto Process.

Civil society advisory group

Also during the session, the Council made what some delegates referred to as a landmark decision on a civil society advisory group (CSAG), which was formed during the session by representatives of environmental non-governmental organizations and other representatives of civil society.

The Council welcomed the group's formation and encouraged both the CSAG and the Trade Advisory Group, which had been formed at an earlier session, to work together to showcase examples of collaboration between civil society organizations and forest concessionaires and industry and to consider how ITTO could facilitate such cooperation in the field. The Council provided finance so that the CSAG could organize a panel discussion relevant to ITTO's Yokohama Action Plan.

Among other decisions, the Council adopted a Mangrove Workplan, which will guide the Organization's work on the conservation and sustainable management of mangrove forests. It adopted guidelines on the restoration of degraded forest lands, the management of secondary forests and the rehabilitation of degraded forest lands and took steps to support their implementation in tropical forests. It also requested the Organization's Executive Director to send a message highlighting ITTO's contribution to sustainable development to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August. And it reached a decision to investigate the potential role of phased approaches to certification as a tool for promoting sustainable forest management.

For more information contact: Mr Collins Ahadome, ITTO Secretariat; itto@itto.or.jp; Tel 81-45-223 1110; Fax 81-45-223 1111.