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News release

ITTO to send mission to Indonesia

Yokohama, Japan, 4 November 2000

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) will send a four-person team of experts to Indonesia to assist the government there in developing plans for sustainable forest management.

This is one outcome of the 29th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, which closed today after six days of intense discussion and negotiation.

The Council, which is ITTO's governing body, meets every six months to consider developments in international forest policy and its wide-ranging project program. Delegates from 44 member countries and 23 observers from United Nations organizations, environmental non-governmental organizations, and trade and industry representatives attended the session.

The decision to send an ITTO mission follows a request made by Indonesia's Minister of Agriculture and Forestry for assistance in reformulating the national forestry program. The Council decided to organize a technical mission "to assist the Government of Indonesia to identify ITTO support especially in formulating forestry action plans to achieve sustainable forest management".

Under the terms of reference, the mission will assist the formulation of pilot programs to restructure the forest industry, including downsizing the industry, improving industrial competitiveness, establishing forest plantations, recalculating timber values, and decentralizing forest management. It will also assist the country in formulating an action plan with strong measures to combat illegal logging.

Other decisions by Council
Objective 2000

At the Session, the Council reaffirmed its full commitment to moving as rapidly as possible towards achieving exports of tropical timber and timber products from sustainably managed sources.

In this respect the Council decided to:

• authorize the Executive Director to render assistance to producing member countries, on request, to identify, in each country, those factors which most severely limit progress towards sustainable forest management and to formulate an action plan to overcome these constraints;
• facilitate the implementation of these action plans through intensifying international collaboration and strengthening of national policies and programs by measures such as demonstration projects and reduced impact logging training facilities; and
• authorize the Executive Director to assist individual producer countries, on request, in setting up an ITTO Objective 2000 boards to build broad-based support and high level commitment to achieving Objective 2000.

Mangrove conservation highlighted

ITTO will develop a work plan to assist its members in the conservation, rehabilitation and use of mangroves, following another decision of the Council at the session.

The workplan will aim to increase awareness among members of the importance of mangrove conservation, encourage cooperation between members to intensify ITTO activities in this field, and promote the sustainable use of mangrove ecosystems. Members will be encouraged to prepare project and pre-project proposals in this area for consideration by the Council at future sessions.

Cooperation with ATO

In its deliberations, the Council emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation between ITTO and the African Timber Organization (ATO).

With this in mind, it requested the Executive Director to:

• assist ATO in the assessment and refinement of its principles, criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of African forests and to make them consistent with the ITTO guidelines and criteria and indicators;
• assist ATO in organizing a regional workshop to review and adapt the ITTO principles, criteria and indicators for sustainable management to African forests for use by the ATO; and
• formulate a project proposal for developing a framework of cooperation between the two organizations.

New action plan

Recognizing the continuing need for ITTO to maintain its relevance in the evolving international forests agenda, the Council has embarked on a process of developing a new action plan for the Organization.

The starting point for the new plan will be a working paper to be prepared by the Executive Director with the assistance of two consultants, which will then be considered by a 16-member expert panel, including representatives of non-governmental and industry organizations.

International forums

In another move to maintain the Organization's relevance in the international forests debate, the Council has requested the Executive Director to convene a second 16-member expert panel to consider and report to Council recommendations for ITTO's involvement in relevant international and regional organizations and forums.


In the interim, it has authorized the Executive Director to continue to participate in such forums, particularly the United Nations Forum on Forests, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests.

Contributions

Countries made voluntary contributions amounting to US$6.94 million to finance the suite of new projects and activities decided on at the Session. These included: the Government of Japan (US$4.81 million); the Government of Switzerland (US$890,000); the Government of the USA (US$104,000); the Government of Australia (US$50,000); the Government of the Republic of Korea (US$30,000); and the Government of Sweden (US$9,500). The Trade Advisory Group, which comprises tropical timber trade organizations, pledged US$6,500. In addition to these new contributions, up to US$2 million was made available from Sub-account B of the Bali Partnership Fund.

Projects financed

A total of 24 projects, pre-projects and activities in the field of Reforestation and Forest Management, Forest Industries, and Economic Information and Market Intelligence were approved and funded at the session. These were:

• Market Information Service for Tropical Timber and Timber Products (PD 16/93 Rev. 4 (M) Phase IV Year 2001);
• Operational Strategy for Sustainable Forestry Development with Community Participation in India (PD 37/00 Rev.1 (F))
• Training of Trainers for the Application of the ITTO and the National Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable Forest Management at Forest Management Unit Level in Indonesia (PD 42/00 Rev.1 (F));
• Promotion of Sustainable Utilization of Rattan from Plantation in Thailand (PD 24/00 Rev.1 (I));
• Development of a Project Proposal for the Economic Valuation of Production Forests and the Aroforestry Systems in the Peruvian Amazon (PPD 13/00 Rev.1(M));
• Strengthening the Market Discussion (PPD 14/00 (M));
• Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals, Twenty-first Meeting (PP-A/29-88);
• Management and Conservation of Mangroves in the Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras (PD 44/95 Rev.3 (F) Phase II);
• ITTO Information Network - Phase II (PD 13/99 Rev.1 (M,F,I) Phase II);
• Model Communication & Public Awareness Program for Sustainable Forest Development in Ecuador (PPD 13/99 Rev.1 (M,F,I));
• Improved Living Standard of the People through Community Participation in Sustainable Forest Management in Cambodia (PPD 22/99 Rev.1 (F));
• Reforestation Pilot Project for the Recovery of Degraded Areas in the Medium Doce River Region, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil (PD 62/99 Rev.3 (F));
• Developing and Extending of Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Management of Natural Tropical Forests in China (PD 12/00 Rev.3 (F));
• Conservation and Development in the Natural Protected Areas System of Tambopata (Peru) - Madidi (Bolivia) (PD 17/00 Rev.2 (F));
• Strengthening Sustainable Forest Management in Indonesia (PP-A/29-89)
• Development of a Stragegy for the Improvement of the National System for the Processing of Forestry Statistics and Information on the Timber Market in Togo (PPD 21/99 Rev.1 (M));
• Productive Forest Management for the Rural Reserve Area of Guaviare, Colombia (PD 32/99 Rev.2 (F));
• Evaluation of Mangrove Forests in the North-East of the Orinoco Delta Region in Venezuela with a View to Sustainable Forest Utilization (PD 55/98 Rev.3 (F));
• Management of Kayan Mentarang National Park (KMNP) to Promote Transboundary Conservation along the Border between Indonesia and Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak - Phase I (PD 38/00 Rev.1 (F));
• Forest, Science and Sustainability: The Bulungan Model Forest in Indonesia (PD 12/97 Rev.1 (F));
• Global Mangrove Database and Information System (GLOMIS) - Phase I (PD 14/97 Rev.1 (F));
• Activity to Facilitate Development of a Joint ITTO/ECE-FAO/EUROSTAT Forest Statistics Questionnaire (ITTO) Phase II (PP-A/23-63));
• Freezailah Fellowship Fund
• Assistance for Project Identification and Formulation (PD 73/89 (M,F,I))

Other decisions

The Council moved to strengthen ITTO's communication and outreach activities, authorizing the Executive Director to develop communication outputs to promulgate the messages on progress made to date towards sustainable forest management in member countries and to strengthen linkages with relevant organizations. And it reached decisions on a number of matters related to the administration of the Organization.

For further information, please contact: Mr. E. Collins Ahadome, Information Officer, ITTO, Pacifico Yokohama, 1-1-1 Minato -mirai, Nishi -ku, Yokohama 220-0012, Japan; Fax: +81 45 223 1111; Email itto@itto.or.jp; web www.itto.or.jp