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News release

ITTO to meet on forest restoration, mangroves, Congo Basin

Denpasar, Indonesia, 9 May 2002

Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri will open the 32nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council when it gets under way here on Monday.

The session will attract up to 400 people from more than 40 countries, including representatives of governments, environmental non-government organizations, the timber trade and intergovernmental agencies. It will debate and take action on a range of issues affecting the status of these forests and their management for timber and other products and services.

President Megawati will speak at the opening ceremony after hearing from ITTO's Executive Director, Dr. Manoel Sobral, the Governor of Bali, Mr Dewa Made Beratha, and Council Chairman Dr Juergen Blaser.

During the session, new guidelines for the sustainable management of tropical secondary forests, the restoration of degraded forests and the rehabilitation of degraded tropical lands are likely to be approved by members. An estimated 500 million hectares of forests are degraded in the tropics; these guidelines provide a global blueprint for their restoration and the Council will consider ways of assisting members to implement them in the field.

Also under discussion will be forest certification, a proposed new mangrove conservation program, and ITTO's wide-ranging program of field projects. The results of an ITTO mission to assist the Congo Basin countries in implementing relevant aspects of the Yaoundé Declaration will also be discussed.

Background documents for the session can be obtained from www.itto.or.jp

Daily reports and audio of President Megawati's speech (along with those of Dr Blaser, H.E. Dewa Made Beratha and Dr Sobral) will be downloadable from the website of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (www.iisd.ca) from Monday 13 May 2002.