Emmanuel ZeMeka, as ITTO Executive Director during one of the sessions of the International Tropical Timber Council. Photo: R. Carrillo, ITTO
After 24 years of dedicated service to ITTO in support of the promotion of sustainable management of the world’s tropical forests, ITTO Executive Director, Mr Emmanuel Ze Meka, retires today. During the period of his tenure as Executive Director of ITTO (2007–2015), the Organization’s membership
grew from 60 to 72 parties, its largest ever.
Mr Ze Meka spearheaded many notable achievements for ITTO during his term. Among these were:
- Establishment of the ITTO Thematic Programmes, thereby opening a new window for the Organization and its members in addressing emerging issues on tropical forests.
- Knowledge management strategy.
- Field training activities, such as the promotion of efficient wood-processing technologies in tropical timber producing countries.
- Updating of landmark policy documents and guidelines produced by the Organization, including:
- Technical studies such as:
- Ground-breaking international forums to promote:
- Payments for environmental services provided by tropical forests
- Further processing of timber in the Congo Basin
- Biodiversity conservation in transboundary tropical forests
- Forest tenure, governance and small forest enterprises
- Forest genetic resource conservation and use.
More than 200 field projects were financed in the three tropical timber producing regions during Mr Ze Meka’s tenure as Executive Director. Information on these projects can be obtained using the project search tool
on the ITTO website, which was also created during the period of his administration.
Mr Ze Meka maintained and strengthened ITTO’s collaboration with many international organizations and partners, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) through the ITTO-CITES Programme
; the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) through the Joint ITTO–CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity
; the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the United Nations Forum on Forests; the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet); the Collaborative Partnership on Forests; the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; ASEAN-Korea Forest Cooperation; the Congo Basin Forest Partnership; the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Birdlife International; and several private-sector organizations.
Mr Ze Meka joined ITTO in 1991 as Project Manager in the Division of Reforestation and Forest Management. He was appointed Assistant Director for the Division of Forest Industry in 2000 and later for the Division of Reforestation and Forest Management. The International Tropical Timber Council elected him Executive Director In May 2007, and he assumed office on 6 November 2007.
Mr Ze Meka’s career before ITTO included senior governmental positions in Cameroon, his home country, where he will now return. ITTO bids farewell to a good friend and leader.