ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity

ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity


In the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 and the International Year of Forests 2011, the Secretariat of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 2 March 2010 to strengthen collaboration in the pursuit of their common objectives of conserving and sustainably managing tropical forest resources. In October and December 2010, respectively, the governing bodies of CBD and ITTC adopted Decisions welcoming the ITTO/CBD collaboration (Decision X/36 and ITTC Decision 6 (XLVI). A key purpose of the MoU between the ITTO and CBD secretariats is to identify, develop and implement targeted joint activities on forests and biodiversity, with involvement of the other relevant organizations, including the development of an ITTO support programme for the implementation of the CBD programme of work on forest biodiversity in ITTO producer member countries (subsequently refered to as the Joint ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity). The programme document that is the basis for concrete project activities under the Joint ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity is available here in English, French and Spanish as well as on

Objectives and outputs

The overall objective of the Joint ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity is to enhance biodiversity conservation in tropical forests with the direct participation of local stakeholders, addressing the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical forests: deforestation and forest degradation. More specifically, the Initiative provides support to ITTO producer member countries to reduce losses of biodiversity through the implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Forest Biodiversity, focusing on the common objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the ITTO Action Plan.
This Initiative aims to achieve four key outputs, with the assistance of donors and with the close collaboration of partners in producer member countries:

  1. Enhanced local capacity for biodiversity conservation in production forests and for the rehabilitation of degraded and secondary forests;
  2. Improved conservation and management of protected areas, especially in association with buffering protected areas, and transboundary conservation;
  3. Safeguarding tropical forest biodiversity in forestry interventions, including in REDD+ related projects
  4. Improved welfare of local communities and indigenous groups through biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

These expected outputs of the Initiative are to be achieved through the promotion of sustainable forest management (SFM), with a particular emphasis on biodiversity protection; forest monitoring and adaptive management to generate multiple benefits on a sustainable basis; protection against invasive species; and enhancing the value of natural tropical forests to avoid land use change.

Focus on production and protection forests

The Initiative focuses both on production and protection forests. Scientists estimate that tropical forests host about two thirds of all terrestrial species. Promoting the establishment of protected areas, especially in forests of high conservation value including transboundary areas, is still required to meet the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 global target for 17% of terrestrial areas protected. Considering that only 13% of the world’s forests are currently located in protected areas, it is essential to also promote the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity outside of protected areas. The conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests in general, buffer zones of protected areas in particular, are necessary for improving livelihoods of local communities and avoiding encroachment of the core conservation areas. The consumption of main timber products (roundwood, sawnwood, pulp, paper) is expected to increase over the next 30 years. The use of solid biofuels for electricity production could be three times larger by 2030 than current levels. Globally, by 2050, the demand for industrial roundwood is expected to increase by 50 to 75%. The ITTO/IUCN Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Tropical Timber Production Forests (2009) reflect the clear importance in promoting biodiversity conservation outside protected areas, through the long-term sustainable use of forest resources for the sustainable livelihoods of local communities. Also, the ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests (2002) provides the elements to recover the biodiversity conservation capacity of degraded forests in the tropics. These ITTO guidelines are complementary to, and entirely support the CBD forest programme of work, providing guidance for the field implementation of the Initiative.

Operational procedures

ITTO leads the implementation of the Initiative in close consultation with the CBD Secretariat, donors, other partners and especially the beneficiary countries. Interested countries may submit a concept note to the ITTO Secretariat ( indicating their intention to develop a project or specific activity in the framework of this Initiative. The CBD Secretariat and ITTO Secretariat will assess the pertinence of the request together with the relevant stakeholders of the proposing country and will support the formulation of a full project proposal (if required) and fund raising. Donors may allocate funds to a specific project of the Initiative, or as an unearmarked contribution to the Initiative.


The Collaborative Initiative has an estimated budget of $US15 million for the initial period of 4 years, covering the three tropical regions of ITTO. The implementation of the Initiative benefits from the experience ITTO has gained in implementing projects and programmes in the tropics (over 1,000 projects, pre-projects and activities in the last 30 years, amounting to ca. US$400,000,000). Also, the ITTO/CBD Initiative benefits from the experience gained in ITTO programme development, including the ITTO-CITES Programme since 2007; and the ITTO Thematic Programmes. The Initiative also builds on the experiences implementing CBD's Programme of Work on Protected Areas.

Funded projects

To date, sixteen projects have been funded under the Initiative, with donors of the total budget of US$14 million mainly comprising the governments of Belgium, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the USA. The funded projects are:

  • Capacity building for the sustainable management of tropical rainforests and biodiversity conservation in the ITTO Congo Basin countries [PD 456/07 Rev.4 (F)]
  • Management of the Emerald Triangle Protected Forests Complex to promote cooperation on transboundary biodiversity conservation among Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR, Phase III [PD 577/10 Rev.1 (F)]
  • Building the capacity of Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization member countries in ecologically responsible forest management and biodiversity conservation in managed forests of the Amazon [PP-A/47-266]
  • Study on the rehabilitation and sustainable management of sacred forests at Ramsar sites 1017 and 1018 in Benin [PPD 165/12 Rev.1 (F)]
  • Promoting biodiversity conservation in the Betung Kerihun National Park as the transboundary ecosystem between Indonesia and Sarawak, Malaysia, Phase III [PD 617/11 Rev.4 (F)]
  • Buffer zone management for the Pulong Tau National Park, with the involvement of local communities in management, Sarawak, Malaysia [PD 635/12 Rev.2 (F)]
  • Integrated management of natural resources and biodiversity in the Tacaná Volcano and its range of influence in Mexico and Guatemala [PD 668/12 Rev.1 (F)]
  • Strengthening mangrove ecosystem conservation in the biosphere reserve of northwestern Peru [PD 601/11 Rev.3 (F)]
  • Community-based restoration and sustainable management of vulnerable forests of the Rewa Delta, Viti Levu, Fiji [PD 696/13 Rev.2 (F)]
  • Promoting the conservation of selected high-value indigenous species in Sumatra, Indonesia [PD 710/13 Rev.1 (F)]
  • Building capacity for biodiversity conservation in transboundary conservation areas in the Congo Basin countries through SFM practices and the use of satellite and radar imagery [PP-A/50-296 Rev.1]
  • Building capacity for the sustainable management of tropical dry forests on the north coast of Peru [PD 741/14 Rev.3 (F)]
  • Restoration and sustainable management of sacred forests on Ramsar sites 1017 and 1018 in Benin [PD 754/14 Rev.3 (F)]
  • Accelerating the restoration of Cibodas Biosphere Reserve functions through proper management of landscapes involving local stakeholders [PD 777/15 Rev.3 (F)]
  • Development of a forest landscape restoration programme for Guatemala based on ITTO guidelines [PD 765/14 Rev.3 (F)]
  • Capacity building for strengthening transboundary biodiversity conservation of the Taninthayi Range in Myanmar [PD 723/13 Rev.2 (F) Phase I, Stage 1]

These projects are working in areas of high biodiversity in 26 countries and are directly contributing to the achievement of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and, in particular, the forestry-related Aichi Biodiversity Targets 5, 7, 11, 14 and 15.

Progress to date

Overall, the significant progress made in the collaboration between the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) through the implementation of eleven projects covering 26 countries in the three tropical regions of the world, within the framework of the  ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity, is already visibly contributing towards the  achievement of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and in particular, the following  Forestry-related Aichi Biodiversity Targets:

  • Target 5: By 2020, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced;
  • Target 7: By 2020 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity;
  • Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapeand;
  • Target 14: By 2020, ecosystems that provide essential services, including services related to water, and contribute to health, livelihoods and well-being, are restored and safeguarded, taking into account the needs of women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable;
  • Target 15: By 2020, ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced, through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15 per cent of degraded ecosystems, thereby contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation and to combating desertification.