A forest landscape in Togo. Photo:"IMGP0035" by j_bg is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
The International Tropical Timber Council has welcomed new guidelines aimed at assisting the restoration of degraded tropical forests and forest lands and thereby enabling the sustainable management of landscapes over time. This was one of the outcomes of day 5 of the Council’s 55th Session.
Also on day 5, the Council adopted guidelines on environmental and social management with the aim of providing a user-friendly, implementable system for integrating safeguards and risk management into the ITTO project cycle.
Developed using the global principles agreed by the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, ITTO’s new guidelines on forest landscape restoration provide direction at the policy and operational levels for restoring degraded forests and formerly forested landscapes in tropical forest biomes. The Secretariat will revise the draft, taking into account comments received from ITTO members, for formal adoption intersessionally.
The Council decided to pilot a new programmatic approach to its work in the period 2020–2022, with four programme lines as follows: Legal and Sustainable Supply Chains; Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; Forest Landscape Restoration and Resilient Livelihoods; and Emerging Issues and Innovation. During the piloting phase, the Council will seek to further develop the programmatic approach with clear objectives and a streamlined project-cycle process. It has established an advisory board to receive updates on the pilot phase and provide advice to the Executive Director.
The Council made five other decisions related to the administration of the Organization.
Several donors pledged new funds at the session: the Government of Japan, the Government of the USA, the Government of the Republic of Korea, and the Government of China. Among the work funded with this money is a project to improve traceability in the forest production chain in Guatemala and a pre-project to build stakeholder capacity in the private and community forest sector in Togo. Partial funding was provided for a project to improve landscape management in the Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu Biosphere Reserve in Riau Province, Indonesia, and a project to increase the capacity of local communities and the Forest Administration to implement a community forestry programme in Kratie and Mondulkiri provinces in Cambodia. Several existing programmes, such as the Legal and Sustainable Forest Product Supply Chains initiative, cooperation between ITTO and CITES, and statistical capacity-building workshops, received additional funding, and 14 candidates were awarded ITTO Fellowships. Overall, about USD 5.1 million of voluntary contributions have been pledged for the Organization’s work in 2019, including intersessionally. Other donors include the European Union and the Government of Germany.
Speaking at the close of the session, Professor David Wonou Oladokoun, Togo’s Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and Nature Protection paid tribute to the efforts made and the energy deployed to ensure that the session was inclusive and resilient.
ITTO Council Chairperson John Leigh thanked Prime Minister Klassou and, through him, the Government of Togo, especially the Ministry of Environment, Sustainable Development and Nature Protection and the Office de Développement et d’Exploitation des Forêts, and the people of Togo, for the excellent arrangements for the session and their superb hospitality. Mr Leigh reminded delegates of the need for a strong ITTO, “because no other organization has the capacity to both develop universally agreed policies and help countries implement these on the ground”. He urged all delegates to do their best to “make the Organization function as we know it can”.
In his closing speech, ITTO Executive Director Dr Gerhard Dieterle told the Council that the Secretariat would invest all its efforts to bring new and additional financial resources to the Organization for the benefit of people and forests in ITTO member countries.
“This is our key priority and commitment to all of you,” he said.
Video highlights of the 55th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council