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News release

ITTO pledges US$9 million for tropical forests

Yokohama, Japan, 3 November 2001

ITTO Member countries today pledged US$8.96 million to fund new work designed to promote tropical forest conservation and sustainable development.

Among the projects approved and financed during the 31st Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, which ended today, was one designed to support a national forest inventory and forest monitoring program in Bolivia. Another will establish a transboundary gorilla sanctuary on the border between Cameroon and Gabon. And another will continue a long-running project in Sarawak to improve timber harvesting practices and to test the feasibility of sustainable forest management.

The financial contributions made at this Session by the governments of Japan, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, the Republic of Korea and Sweden bring the total funding provided by the Organization for project and other work to about US$230 million. ITTO projects are mostly carried out in countries with significant areas of tropical forest with the aim of raising the capacity of such countries to manage their forests on a sustainable basis and to develop a sustainable forest industry and trade.

In other decisions made by the Council today, forest law enforcement will be strengthened in those member countries requesting assistance, a workshop to further develop the draft workplan for mangrove forest ecosystems will be convened, a database of statistics on the trade of bamboo and rattan will be established, and countries will be given assistance to develop credible systems for auditing the implementation of ITTO's criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.

For more information contact: Mr Collins Ahadome, ITTO Secretariat; itto@itto.or.jp