Thursday, 13 November 2020: The ITTO Fellowship Selection Panel, which met virtually this year, has recommended the awarding of 20 ITTO Fellowships at the 56th Session of International Tropical Timber Council. The newest group of Fellows is from 14 producer countries and one consumer country and includes nine women, or 45% of the awards. The total value of the Fellowships is about USD 150 000.
ITTO offers Fellowships through the Freezailah Fellowship Fund to promote human resource development and strengthen professional expertise in member countries in tropical forestry and related disciplines. The goal is to encourage the building of expertise in future generations in the sustainable management of tropical forests, the efficient use and processing of tropical timber, and better economic information on the international trade in tropical timber.
The Fellowships to be awarded will be used by 13 awardees to pursue postgraduate degrees in topics ranging from assessing the potential of REDD+ and the restoration of degraded natural tropical forests; by three awardees to prepare technical documents, including one on economic aspects of forest restoration using exotic species as pioneers; by three awardees to conduct study tours, such as a field trip to assess forest practices for promoting the sustainable management of natural forest ecosystems and ensuring community livelihoods; and by one awardee for a short course on project monitoring and evaluation.
The report of the ITTO Fellowship Selection Panel was presented to the Council by Ms Sheam Satkuru from the Secretariat on a packed day 4 of the 56th session, which is being held virtually this week. The Council will consider the recommendations of the panel and make a final decision on the awards before the close of the session.
Survey on furniture trade reported
The Committee on Economics, Statistics and Markets and the Committee on Forest Industry met again jointly on day 4, following its first sitting the previous day. Among other things, it received a report on the work of the Independent Market Monitor (IMM), a European Union (EU)-funded project hosted by ITTO.
Consultant Sarah Storck reported on a recent IMM study of the furniture sector, which drew on interviews with Asian furniture manufacturers and European furniture buyers as well as trade-data analysis and expert opinion. The study found that “assurance of legality” was the second-most important factor—after quality—in the purchasing decisions of European furniture companies. This was encouraging for the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade programme, said Ms Storck. The study also revealed that, among EU furniture companies, Indonesia had the lowest perception of difficulty in proving negligible risk of illegality and China the highest.
The joint session of the committees received a report on an IMM study on forest-sector investment and information from the Secretariat on the area of certified tropical forests in 2019.
Transboundary conservation project reviewed