Transboundary reserves receive US$2 million boost

30 May 2000, Lima, Peru

A conservation reserve straddling the border of Peru and Ecuador in the Condor Mountain Range will receive US$1.4 million towards the establishment of a participatory environmental management model.

This was one outcome of the 28th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council, which met in Lima, Peru from 24 to 30 May 2000. Another transboundary reserve, between Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, will receive US$630,000.

The Council, which is the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization, meets every six months to consider developments in international forest policy and its wide-ranging project programme. This session was attended by delegates from 40 Member countries and the European Community as well as by 44 observers. The observer group included representatives of about 40 environmental and trade non-governmental organizations.

The Peru/Ecuador transboundary conservation work will be implemented jointly by the Peruvian and Ecuadorian governments and a number of non-governmental organizations, including Conservation International. It is part of ITTO efforts to improve conservation, reduce the illegal trade of forest products and foster cooperation in border regions throughout the tropics.

This was the first Session to be held in the new millennium. It coincided with the time-frame for the review of the ITTO Year 2000 Objective, by which Members, through international collaboration and national policies and programmes, will progress towards achieving sustainable management of tropical forests and trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed resources.

The Council recognized that ITTO has made significant progress in the 15 years of its existence to advance the idea of sustainable management in tropical forests. It also noted that such progress is taking place at an accelerating pace, despite the constraints in some Producing Member Countries and a lack of adequate financial resources. Nevertheless, the objective has not yet been fully achieved, and much more work needs to be done.

The Council affirmed its full commitment to moving as rapidly as possible towards achieving exports of tropical timber and timber products from sustainably managed sources. It also strongly encouraged Members to apply the ITTO criteria and indicators for the management of tropical forests and to strengthen international collaboration and assistance in their efforts to achieve the Year 2000 Objective. The Council will consider a request by the Executive Director for Council to assist producing countries in setting up ITTO Objective 2000 boards to provide a focus for efforts in achieving sustainable management and to marshall internal resources.

Also at this session, the Council decided to extend the International Tropical Timber Agreement for a period of three years, with effect from 1 January 2001. And it decided that all projects with a budget above US$400,000 should be subject to ex-post evaluation.
The Council will develop guidelines for a framework of auditing systems for sustainable forest management. This will be done in consultation and collaboration with conservation non-governmental and timber trade and industry organizations.

Another important issue was the role of ITTO in the forest and forest products-related international agenda. This issue is directly related to the proposal by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development for the establishment of the United Nations Forum on Forests. The Council noted that ITTO played an important role as a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Forests, which coordinated the efforts of relevant international agencies in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and its successor, the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests. The Council also noted on-going developments within the Global Environment Fund, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which have implications for the work of ITTO. It decided to revisit this issue at its next session.

The Council took steps to further encourage the active participation of civil society, including environmental NGOs, industry, indigenous groups and academia, in ITTO’s work. It recognized the valuable role that civil society plays and decided to allocate time during regular Sessions for open dialogue with its representatives. The Council also invited trade and industry representatives and environmental organizations to establish open-ended advisory groups to contribute to its work.

Projects, pre-projects and activities financed at the Session amounted to US$7,873,904. Voluntary contributions were made by: Government of Japan (US$5,386,302); Government of Switzerland (US$1,247,323); Government of the United States of America (US$420,695); Government of Finland (US$222,261); Government of France (US$167,648); Government of Republic of Korea (US$20,000); Government of Australia (US$20,000).

The Council’s 29th Session will be held in Yokohama, Japan, 30 October-4 November 2000.

For further information, contact Mr. E. Collins Ahadome, Information Officer,