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News release

US$5.3 million in new funds for tropical forests

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 12 May 2007

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Emmanuel Ze Meka, ITTO's next Executive Director.
Photo: P. Wood/ENB

The International Tropical Timber Council has committed US$5.3 million for new projects and activities for the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources.

The Council is the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). It meets twice a year to discuss a wide-ranging agenda aimed at promoting sustainable tropical forest management and the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber.

The Council financed nine projects and two pre-projects at this session, including one to promote reduced impact logging in the Congo Basin and another to improve the detection and prevention of illegal logging and illegal timber trade through timber tracking and satellite monitoring in Guyana. Also financed were two projects to support rehabilitation of degraded forests in Indonesia and China. The Council also financed a project to strengthen a forest statistics and information center in Honduras.

The Council allocated additional funds to a project working to expand the Pulong Tau National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia through establishment of a transboundary conservation reserve with neighboring Indonesia. Additional funds were also allocated to a large project to help African member countries of ITTO to improve sustainable management of their forests through the adoption and implementation of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, and for ITTO fellowships (a popular program offering small grants to mid-career level tropical foresters).

The Council received reports on proposed listings of tropical timber species on the CITES Appendices, and on the relationship between climate change and tropical forests. Reports on forest management and the forest industry in Papua New Guinea also featured prominently in Council (where a diagnostic mission reported on progress towards sustainable forest management) and in events organized by the Council's trade and civil society advisory groups. A decision was taken by Council to fund the design of a multipurpose forest inventory for Papua New Guinea based on a recommendation in the report of the diagnostic mission.

The Council also elected its third Executive Director, Mr. Emmanuel Ze Meka, during the session. Mr. Ze Meka follows Dr. Manoel Sobral Filho, who will complete his second four year term in November 2007.

The major donors at this session were the governments of Japan and Switzerland, while the governments of France, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Finland and Australia also pledged funds. In addition, funds were mobilized from the Organization's unearmarked resources, including the Bali Partnership Sub-account B.

Descriptions of all newly funded projects will be published in the next edition of the ITTO Tropical Forest Update. For more information on the Council session go to www.itto.or.jp or read daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage on www.iisd.ca/forestry/itto/ittc42/.