ITTO Secretariat receives officials from DRC Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development

23 May 2024, Yokohama, Japan

Members of the delegation of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, along with representatives of JICA and ITTO staff. Photo: M. Tsukui/ITTO

23 May 2024: The International Tropical Timber Organization hosted ten senior officials from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development today, briefing them on the Organization’s functions and its role in promoting sustainable forest management (SFM) and sustainable timber trade in DRC, Africa and globally.

The officials are in Japan attending a ten-day training programme on measures related to forests and climate change organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).  They met ITTO Executive Director Sheam Satkuru, who will soon be visiting DRC to participate in the 20th Meeting of the Parties of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP). They received lectures from ITTO staff on ITTO’s priority issues and global policy trends in tropical forests and tropical timber production and trade, and they exchanged technical information.

The guests were reminded of ITTO’s missionmembership, structure, history, policy guidelines and briefs and the International Tropical Timber Agreement 2006. They also received briefings on the Organization’s four pilot programme lines (Legal and Sustainable Supply Chains, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Forest Landscape Restoration and Resilient Livelihoods, and Emerging Issues and Innovation), Biennial Review of the World Timber Situation and Market Information Service, as well as on ITTO’s involvement in international processes such as the United Nations Forum on Forests, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biodiversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

The presentation on global policy trends covered SFM, the ITTO Criteria and Indicators for the Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests, the importance of SFM for mitigating and adapting to climate change, the promotion of sustainable wood use in tropical timber-producing countries, legal and sustainable tropical timber supply chains, deforestation-free market regulations, capacity building, ITTO’s work on the Global Timber Index, the upcoming 2024 Global Legal and Sustainable Timber Forum, and transboundary conservation initiatives.

Mr Benjamin Bamoninga Toriambe, Secretary General of the DRC Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, thanked the Secretariat for hosting the group and for their excellent presentations.

“Before coming to Japan, we were looking forward to paying a visit to ITTO because its work is a guiding model for the sustainable management of our tropical forests,” he said. “Reflections for developing a strategy to positively re-engage in good standing with the Organization have already started. We very much look forward to welcoming the ITTO Executive Director during her upcoming visit to Kinshasa for further deliberations.”

“We value visits to headquarters by officials from our member countries and indeed from any stakeholders with genuine interest in the Organization,” said Ms Satkuru. “This is especially so now that a decision to extend the current International Tropical Timber Agreement, which governs ITTO to 2029, is approaching and in view of the forthcoming 20th Meeting of the Parties of the CBPF in Kinshasa, which I will attend.”

Ms Satkuru said the ongoing exchange of information, views and perspectives is crucial and can only strengthen ITTO’s work to serve the interests of its members and increase understanding of ITTO’s roles and functions.

“We urge the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to further engage with ITTO and to work together on national and regional priorities in favour of tropical forest management and the tropical timber and wood products sector,” she said.

Ms Satkuru thanked JICA and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the opportunity to host the officials for this fruitful and productive session.