ITTC-52

USA pledges new funds
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Delegate of the United States of America, Luke Thompson, speaks during plenary at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
 

In what was called “a show of confidence for the technical and administrative abilities of ITTO, the importance of its Biennial Work Programme, and global priorities such as agroforestry, gender capacity, and forest landscape restoration,” the USA has announced a new financial contribution to ITTO of US$864 000 for various projects and activities. The pledge was made at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, which is taking place in Yokohama from 7 to 12 November 2016.

 “We view these priorities as a way to advance our organization, its meaningful interaction with other global forest bodies and stakeholders, as well as on-the-ground testing of guidelines,” said the delegate of the USA, in describing the projects and activities pledged to.
 
Also today, the Republic of Korea informed the Council that ITTO and the Korea Forest Service (KFS) had signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year to increase cooperation on the restoration and sustainable management of tropical forests. The agreement spans 10 years and, to facilitate its implementation, the KFS will second a professional officer to ITTO from early 2017.
 
Japan and the European Union both announced that they will consider pledging further funds to ITTO pending the implementation of improvements in the Organization’s financial management expected to be adopted at this session.
 
Project on wood DNA fingerprinting achieves win against illegal trade
An ITTO project discussed at the session has built capacity in seven ITTO member countries in Africa to identify the wood of species at high risk of illegal logging. This project was one of 17 projects recommended by technical committees to be declared as successfully completed at the session.
 
ITTO project PD 620/11 Rev.1 (M) developed DNA fingerprinting and other tools for verifying claims about timber species and geographic origin in tropical Africa for three important timber tree species—iroko, sapelli and ayous—in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Congo, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya. This project is just one element of ITTO’s wide-ranging work on timber tracking and oversight of timber supply chains in tropical producer countries. An article on the DNA fingerprinting project is available in this edition of the Tropical Forest Update.
 
Other projects recommended for completion at the session include a project that has made a significant contribution to community-based forest fire prevention and control activities in Panama; a project (part of the ITTO–CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity) that has increased information, knowledge and partnerships on transboundary biodiversity conservation in the Emerald Triangle landscape between Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Thailand; and a project that has helped increase the sustainability of the woodflooring production chain in Brazil.
 
ITTO Fellowships
Also today, the Fellowship Selection Panel convened to recommend to Council the awarding of 11 fellowships to nationals of nine ITTO producer member countries. These awards were made possible by the USA’s pledge of US$60 000 to the Freezailah Fellowship Fund to assist in funding the continuation of the Fellowship Programme. The USA noted that this Programme is a top priority for them because it provides training in tropical forestry for future generations.
 
Other matters addressed today
The Council discussed a range of agenda items. A special vote was held for the position of Executive Director, but no result was obtained. The Committee on Reforestation and Forest Management, the joint Committee on Economics, Statistics and Markets, and the Committee on Forest Industry convened and completed their reports, while the Committee on Finance and Administration continued its work. The Chairperson’s Open-ended Drafting Group met in an evening session.
 
The International Tropical Timber Council meets at least once a year to discuss a wide-ranging agenda aimed at promoting sustainable tropical forest management and the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber.
 
Daily coverage of the session by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is available 
here.

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Delegates of Japan at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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ITTO Officer-in-Charge, Steve Johnson, at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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Council Chair Jennifer Conje consults with the UNCTAD legal advisor at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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The Representative of Cameroon at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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The Representative of Togo, Richard Gbadoe Edjidomele, speaks during plenary at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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Delegates at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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ITTO staff at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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ITTO staff at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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A delegate of the European Union, Emmanuelle Maire, speaks during plenary at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO
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A delegate of New Zealand, Carolyn Guy, speaks during plenary at the 52nd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, Yokohama, 11 November 2016. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO