YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, 10 November 2007: The International Tropical Timber Council has committed US$10.1 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 funds pledged this week at its 43rd session are in addition to the US$5.6 million committed in May at the 42nd Council session in Port Moresby, Papau New Guinea, bringing the total pledged in 2007 to over US$15.7 million.
This Council session, the first under ITTO’s new Executive Director Mr. Emmanuel Ze Meka, financed 14 projects and 3 pre-projects for a total amount of US$5.6 million, including one promoting the adoption of sustainable forest management in the Brazilian Amazon, another aimed at sustainable development of the wood-based industries in South Kalimantan, Indonesia and another devoted to establishing a tree-cloning program in Côte d’Ivoire. Also financed was a project to use remote sensing for forest fire monitoring in tropical China and another to promote sustainable forest management in forest lands of indigenous communities in Darien, Panama. The Council, together with the Common Fund for Commodities, also financed a project to provide rural village communities in Congo with training for extracting valuable essential oils from eucalyptus plantations. The Freezailah Fellowship Fund was also topped up by Council, to allow this valuable program to continue offering awards to deserving candidates.
The Council also approved a biennial work program for ITTO for 2008-2009 with a total budget of US$9.2 million, of which immediate funding of US$4.5 million was pledged at this session (voluntary contributions of US$1.5 million and unearmarked funds - including from the Bali Partnership Fund - of US$3 million). The work program includes the policy activities that will guide the work of the Organization over the biennium, including one on formulating an ITTO response to recent developments in climate change negotiations and their implications for tropical forests.
The above funding announced for projects, pre-projects and the biennial work program at this session also included almost US$4 million towards a new program on Tropical Forest Law Enforcement and Trade (TFLET). The Netherlands was a major donor to this program, with additional donations from Japan, the USA, Australia, Norway and the Japan Lumber Importers’ Association. Over US$2 million was allocated to projects and activities under the TFLET program during the session, including funding for a joint African Timber Organization/ITTO project promoting sustainable forest management and forest certification in Africa and another to enhance forest law enforcement in Papua New Guinea. Japan, Switzerland and the USA were the major donors to activities outside the TFLET program at this session.
The Council also reviewed the status of ratification by members of the ITTA 2006. This successor agreement to the Organization’s current governing treaty (ITTA 1994) was scheduled to enter into force in early 2008 but this will likely be delayed due to the slow pace of ratification by members.
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.