G7 ministers pledge to work with ITTO on sustainable supply chains

27 July 2021

ITTO works to bring artisanal enterprises into the formal timber sector, thus benefiting countries, workers and forests, such as this small enterprise in Côte d’Ivoire, which received training from ITTO. Photo: T. Yanuariadi/ITTO

Yokohama, 27 July 2021: In a joint communiqué issued in May 2021, the G7 Ministers responsible for Climate and Environment committed to working with ITTO to increase support for sustainable supply chains that decouple agriculture from deforestation and forest degradation.

The G7, or Group of Seven, is a high-level intergovernmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America. The Climate and Environment ministers of these countries, and the Climate and Environment commissioners of the European Union, issued the communiqué after meeting virtually on 20–21 May.

In the communiqué, the ministers recognized that deforestation, forest degradation and ecosystem conversion pose global threats to climate, biodiversity, food security and livelihoods, driven by the expansion of agriculture, mining, logging and infrastructure.

In a section of the communiqué addressing the “transition to sustainable and legal use of natural resources”, ministers pledged to increase support for sustainable supply chains that decouple agricultural production from deforestation and forest degradation and to conserve, sustainably manage, restore and protect forests and other ecosystems.

According to the communiqué, they will do this “while promoting development and trade, including through participating in the dialogue between consumer and producer countries ... and through work by the International Tropical Timber Organisation”.

The ministers said they will also work with other partners in the private sector and producer countries, non-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities to incentivize the consumption of commodities not associated with deforestation and forest degradation.

The G7 communique addressed a wide range of other interrelated issues aimed at tackling the “twin crises” of climate change and biodiversity loss.

ITTO is working on diverse initiatives that contribute to sustainable supply chains and incentives for sustainable forest management. For example, it recently published a report analyzing incentives and disincentives for sustainable forest management in the tropics with a view to assisting ITTO producer member countries to put effective incentives in place. The Organization also released an online course on legal and sustainable supply chains for tropical timber and tropical timber products.

ITTO has a longstanding collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) through the ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity. The initiative encompasses 16 projects (to date) in 23 tropical countries, all of which have experienced biodiversity losses and declines in forest area and have large numbers of forest-dependent people. A recent technical review of the initiative’s projects found that, despite their modest budgets, they have achieved extraordinary success in improving local livelihoods and forest management, restoring degraded forest landscapes and conserving biodiversity.

ITTO Officer-in-charge Steve Johnson noted that ITTO’s mission to promote the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests and the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests can greatly contribute to materializing the goals and aspirations stated in the G7 communiqué.

“ITTO stands ready to collaborate with the G7 to realize the full potential of tropical forests and the increased use of sustainably harvested tropical timber in transitioning to an efficient and legal use of natural resources,” he said.

Read the G7 Climate and Environment: Ministers’ Communiqué