ITTO and IGES strengthen cooperation on tropical forests


ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru, IGES President Takeuchi Kazuhiko (center), ITTO and IGES officers after the signing of the MoU between both organizations. Photo: IGES
ITTO and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) will work more closely together in assisting tropical countries and stakeholders to conserve and sustainably manage their forests under a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on 19 October 2022 by ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru and IGES President Takeuchi Kazuhiko.

Tropical forests are essential for planetary well-being and for solving global problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss. On the other hand, large areas of the world’s tropical forests are being degraded and lost, and action is needed to reverse this and to boost the livelihoods of forest-dependent people.

Under the MOU, the two Japan-based organizations will identify, develop and implement joint actions to support ITTO producer member countries in the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forest resources. They will also jointly promote capacity-building, information exchange and experience-sharing with developing countries to advance sustainable tropical forestry.

Ms Satkuru said the MOU is an opportunity to take advantage of complementarities between ITTO and IGES.

“Our two organizations are strong supporters of tropical countries and their efforts to use and conserve their forests as part of sustainable development,” she said. “It makes sense for us to combine forces in areas of mutual interest, thereby magnifying our impacts.”

ITTO was established in 1986 under the International Tropical Timber Agreement, and it is headquartered in Yokohama, Japan. The Organization has a mandate to promote the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests and to promote the sustainable management of tropical timber-producing forests. ITTO will explore opportunities through the MOU to implement elements of its Strategic Action Plan (2022–2026) and the piloting of its new programmatic approach.

IGES was created in 1998 as an initiative of the Government of Japan with the aim of achieving a new paradigm for civilization and to conduct innovative policy development and strategic research for environmental measures. It is based in Kanagawa, Japan.

“Forests are essential, not only for solving global problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss, but also for our wellbeing,” emphasised Prof Takeuchi. “However, the world's primary forests, especially tropical forests, continue to decline, and there is concern that global population growth and economic development would lead to increased demand for food and energy, and continued ecosystem loss. It is our great hope that this partnership would result in a comprehensive, synergistic and environmentally and socially sensitive approach that promotes the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forests.”

“This is an exciting moment for our two organizations because we bring complementary skills, experience and expertise,” said Ms Satkuru. “We also both benefit from the strong support of the Government of Japan, and the close proximity of our two headquarters is another strength that will enable us to work especially closely together.”

Potential areas of cooperation between the two organizations include:

  • joint contributions to achieving the Paris Agreement on climate change, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the Global Forest Goals, land degradation neutrality and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration;
  • enhancing policy recommendations to promote sustainable forestry, climate-change mitigation and adaptation and the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;
  • promoting REDD+ under Japan’s Joint Credit Mechanism and internationally transferred mitigation outcomes under the Paris Agreement;
  • restoring degraded tropical forest landscapes in support of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration;
  • promoting markets and market-based approaches to increase the value of tropical forests through payments for ecosystem services;
  • building capacity for legal and sustainable supply chains in ITTO producer member countries;
  • disseminating information and the sharing of experiences in sustainable tropical forestry; and
  • cooperating on knowledge management and sharing.

IGES and ITTO will creating a working group on forests to review and update the activities undertaken under the MOU and to propose new joint initiatives.


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