Partnership to sustain tropical forests launched

6 September 2010

JICA's Senior Vice-President Kenzo Oshima and ITTO's Executive Director Emmanuel Ze Meka (L-R) sign the agreement.
Photo: K. Sato/ITTO

ITTO, JICA to work together towards common goals

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed an agreement on Friday, 3 September 2010 to closely collaborate over the coming four years.

Mr. Emmanuel Ze Meka, ITTO Executive Director, stated at the signing ceremony: “We all recognize the importance of conserving and sustainably using tropical forest resources, and their important role in the overall sustainable development of the countries in the tropics. Tropical forests host a large majority of biodiversity on earth; representing an invaluable asset for the people and especially for the local communities that depend on them for their livelihoods. Based on this Agreement, we expect to increase our cooperation with JICA to further promote the sustainable use and conservation of tropical forest resources.” Mr. Kenzo Oshima, JICA Senior Vice-president, concurred, noting that “ITTO and JICA share common goals and it makes sense that we build on our many collaborative activities to date to ensure the most effective delivery of our programs in the tropics.”

The key purposes of the agreement are to:
  1. Identify, develop and implement targeted joint activities on the sustainable use and conservation of tropical forests in support of the overall sustainable development of ITTO developing member countries which are assisted by JICA and in accordance with their national development policies; and
  2. Promote capacity building in ITTO developing member countries and facilitate information exchange between the Parties and interested countries, to advance the implementation of sustainable forest management in the tropics.

Several areas for cooperation are identified in the agreement, including:
  • Joint project development and financing at sub-national, national and regional levels;
  • Provision of services by ITTO for JICA project implementation in countries where ITTO has comparative advantage due to extended field experience;
  • Joint activities in dissemination of information and sharing of experiences in the field of sustainable forest management in the tropics;
  • Opportunities for the dissemination of Japanese technology and know how for the sustainable use and conservation of forest resources, the sustainable development of forest industry; and the promotion of trade and marketing of sustainably produced and legally harvested forest products;
  • Promotion of markets and market-based approaches to increase the value of tropical forests through the payment of environmental services, including carbon sequestration and carbon stocking;
  • Forest fire prevention and management, and development of regional early warning and detection systems; and
  • Forest management for mitigation and adaptation to climate change including REDD+ .

The two organizations will liaise closely to raise funds for joint activities. Subject to the availability of financial resources, joint activities to be undertaken during the first year of the agreement (2010-2011) may include:
  1. Development and implementation of joint activities in tropical countries of common interest including PNG, Gabon and Brazil, in the context of the ITTO Thematic Programme on Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services in Tropical Forests (REDDES) and JICA’s programme for natural resources and forests;
  2. Organization of joint capacity building and information events for knowledge management and sharing at relevant international meetings and in the framework of the International Year on Biodiversity 2010 and the International Year on Forests 2011, including side events at the 10th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10) to be held in Nagoya, Japan (October 2010); the 16th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 16) to be held in Cancun, Mexico (December 2010); and the 9th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF9) to be held in New York, USA (January 2011); and
  3. Promoting the development, and dissemination of publications of common interest, including the ITTO/IUCN Guidelines for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in tropical timber production forests, and a REDD+ booklet to foster understanding amongst the general public on the importance of REDD+ as well as ITTO and JICA’s initiatives addressing related issues.

The agreement will be in force until December 31 2014, and can be extended if mutually agreed.