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News release

New ITTO program to benefit from multi-million dollar contribution from the Netherlands

Yokohama, Japan, 17 October 2007

The Netherlands has become a major donor to an ITTO program on tropical forest law enforcement and trade (TFLET) following the recent signing of a $3 million contribution agreement with the Organization. The program, which will also be supported by other donors to make up its total budget of $4.3 million, seeks to: enhance civil society’s capacity to contribute to forest law enforcement; enhance the capacity of small- and medium-sized enterprises to produce and trade timber from legal and sustainable sources; support and increase international trade in legally/sustainably produced tropical timber; and to enable local forest-dependent communities to sustainably manage their forests in order to alleviate poverty.

Several TFLET activities have been included in ITTO’s 2008-2009 Work Program proposal. These include: promoting civil society-private sector partnerships working towards SFM, verification of legality, certification and community empowerment; supporting relevant NGOs to establish a web-based information system to assist consumers to identify/purchase legally produced tropical timber; supporting the private sector in tropical countries to implement timber tracking technologies and release information on timber produced using such technologies; and providing technical assistance to selected poverty-stricken local and/or indigenous communities to formulate projects to implement SFM and sustainable timber production.

Other activities under the program include: supporting civil society collaboration with national forest law enforcement agencies to establish remote sensing systems and use these to detect illegal logging; supporting expansion of reduced impact logging (RIL) training programs and implementation of RIL; developing capacity for certification (including providing additional funds to an existing ITTO project with the African Timber Organization); following up recommendations from the recent ITTO International Conference on Forests and Forest Industries Managed by Indigenous and Other Local Communities; and contributing to on-going collaborative activities between ITTO and CITES. These and other relevant activities will be implemented in 2008-2009 as additional donor funds become available and as detailed proposals for related work are received from ITTO member countries and other stakeholders.

Members interested in presenting proposals for work under the TFLET program or who want more information should contact the Executive Director (itto@itto.or.jp).