ITTO’s governing body, the International Tropical Timber Council, elected Gerhard Dieterle as ITTO’s new Executive Director by consensus at its 52nd session in Yokohama on 12 November 2016. Dr Dieterle won the position from a strong field of six candidates and after deliberations on the matter at two previous Council sessions.
Dr Dieterle, a citizen of Germany, has a strong background for the post. He has 35 years of experience in national and international forest policies, environmental and development policies, sustainable forest management, landscape management and conservation. Currently at the World Bank and based in the USA, Dr Dieterle has also worked in Indonesia and Togo.
In accepting the appointment, Dr Dieterle thanked his competitors for their fairness and positive attitudes, as well as the Council members for their willingness to come together at this session to solve the challenges of ITTO’s future.
“I will invest every effort to nurture this partnership between producers and consumers,” said Dr Dieterle. “With this, ITTO can grow and regain financial health.”
In his presentation to the Council before his appointment, Dr Dieterle said he was committed to act in the best interests of all producer and consumer countries and to promote an atmosphere of trust, collaboration and partnership.
Many Council members took the floor during the plenary session to congratulate Dr Dieterle on his appointment, including Brazil, Cameroon, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Ghana, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the United States of America, and they also thanked the Officer-in-Charge, Dr Steven Johnson, and the Secretariat, for their able management and hard work during a very difficult period. Representatives of the Civil Society Advisory Group, the CITES Secretariat (also speaking on behalf of the Convention on Biological Diversity) and the Secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests congratulated Dr Dieterle on his appointment.
Dr Dieterle will take up the position in the first half of 2017.
Other matters addressed today
The Council concluded a range of agenda items today, including the report of the ITTO Fellowship Programme and the 2015 annual report. It also approved the reports of the committees on Reforestation and Forest Management, Economics Statistics and Markets, Forest Industry, and Finance and Administration.
The Council adopted several decisions, many of which are aimed at improving the transparency, governance and administration of the Organization. They include amendments to the staff regulations and rules, revision of the ITTO financial rules and procedures, further measures regarding the financial impairment, guidelines for addressing ITTO’s financial shortfall, and standards of conduct for the Executive Director. The Council also decided to establish an ad hoc working group to examine options for rotation in the appointment of the Organization’s Executive Director.
Projects, activities and events
Thanks to intersessional funding and funding provided at this Council session by Japan and the USA, respectively, a number of new projects, activities and events were announced at the session. Indonesia will host the International Conference on Mangrove Ecosystems in Bali, Indonesia, in April 2017, and Benin offered to host a training workshop on the ITTO voluntary guidelines for the sustainable management of tropical forests in June 2017.
Nearly US$5 million was announced at the session for the financing of ten activities under the biennial work programme and eleven projects.
Next Council session
The 53rd Session of the International Tropical Timber Council and Sessions of the Associated Committees will take place from 27 November to 2 December 2017 in Lima, Peru.
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.