ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity

ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity


In the lead-up to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Conference of the Parties in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010, ITTO and the CBD signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) designed to encourage joint activities promoting the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forest biodiversity. The governing bodies of the CBD and ITTO adopted decisions welcoming collaboration between the two institutions. Based on these decisions, ITTO and the CBD launched the ITTO–CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity in 2011.

Supported by donors and in close collaboration with partners in ITTO producer member countries, the Collaborative Initiative identifies, develops and implements projects to achieve its objectives. It has received a range of financial contributions, with Japan the primary donor. Other donors to projects under the Initiative are the governments of Belgium, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the USA, as well as the CBD Secretariat and the Japan Lumber Importers Association.

Achievements, and the future

Between its creation in 2011 and the latter part of 2020, the Collaborative Initiative encompassed 16 projects with a total budget of about USD 13 million. These were conducted in 23 tropical countries, all of which have experienced declines in forest area and losses of biodiversity and have large numbers of forest-dependent people. An independent technical review (summarized in this policy brief) found that these projects achieved “extraordinary success” in improving local livelihoods and forest management, restoring degraded forests and conserving biodiversity. The review considered that the projects contributed to the main global processes with forest implications—the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Global Forest Goals and the objectives of the International Tropical Timber Agreement.

In February 2021, ITTO and the CBD formally extended their joint work to 2025 in a new MOU. The overall goal, as stated in the new MOU, is to support CBD Parties and ITTO member countries to maintain, restore and enhance the biodiversity and ecosystem services of tropical forests and forest landscapes while maintaining the sustainable production of timber and other products and services.

There are also five main objectives:

  1. Assist countries to fully recognize and enhance the values of forest landscapes and in the collection and use of ecological and biological data that contribute to the sustainable management, use and restoration of tropical forests.
  2. Promote innovative approaches and practices and technologies and the strengthening of technical skills aimed at maintaining and enhancing tropical biodiversity and ecosystem services in forest landscapes.
  3. Assist in building countries’ capacity to implement the ITTO/IUCN Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Tropical Production Forests and other relevant guidelines and CBD decisions.
  4. Enhance further collaboration with international organizations and partners to strengthen capacity to implement global biodiversity goals, including the conservation and sustainable use of tropical tree species listed in the CITES Appendixes.
  5. Implement other activities, as agreed by both secretariats.

The following (non-exhaustive) areas of cooperation are listed in the new MOU:

  • Identify, develop and implement targeted joint activities on forests and biodiversity with the involvement of other relevant organizations and partners.
  • Carry out the targeted joint activities.
  • Facilitate access to bilateral and multilateral funding sources, including through the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund.
  • Assist countries to achieve sustainable forest management, reduce deforestation, rehabilitate degraded forest lands through ecosystem restoration, and enhance and expand forest protected areas.
  • Facilitate information exchange and other forms of cooperation between the secretariats.
The following projects are underway (as of February 2023) as part of the Collaborative Initiative:
  • PD 712/13 Rev.3 (F): “Enhancing the Implementation of Landscape Management of Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve (GSK-BR) in Riau Province of Sumatra Island, Sumatra - Phase I” (Indonesia)
  • PD 808/16 Rev.4 (F): “Conservation of African Barwood (Pterocarpus erinaceus Poir) in the Gazetted Forests of La Palee and Boundiali in Northern Cote d’Ivoire with the participation of Local Communities” (Cote d’Ivoire)
  • PD 905/19 Rev.2 (F): “Providing Support for the Sustainable Management of the Fosse-aux-Lions Gazetted Forest in the Savanna Region in Togo” (Togo)
  • PD 916/21 Rev.2 (F): “Pilot Sustainable Management Systems for Secondary Natural Forests in The Collective Afro-Descendant Community Territory Of The Bajo Calima Community Council, Municipality of Buenaventura, Colombia” (Colombia)
  • PP-A/56-341-A: “Support for Women’s Groups with the Restoration of Forest Landscapes in the Prefectures of Blitta and Lacs, Togo – Phase 2” (Togo)
  • PP-A/59-351: “Community-based Restoration of Cyclone-Affected Vulnerable Mangrove Forests through Empowerment of Coastal Communities and Women in the Rewa Delta, Fiji” (Fiji)
  • PP-A/59-352 [PD 902/19 Rev.3 (F)]: “Management of Upper Baram Forest Area for Conservation and Sustainable Development with Involvement of Local Communities, Upper Baram, Sarawak, Malaysia” (Malaysia)
  • PP-A/59-353 [CN-21004]: “Post-COVID Recovery in Costa Rica - Enhancing the Value of Secondary Natural Forests through Sustainable Use and its contribution to Climate Change Mitigation while Generating Rural Employment” (Costa Rica).