US$16.8 million in new funds for tropical forests

18 December 2010

The incoming 2011 ITTC Chair Joachim Bile Allogho (Gabon) congratulates the outgoing Chair Daniel Birchmeier (Switzerland) on the successful closing of the 2010 ITTC Council Session. Photo: K. Sato/ITTO

Thematic programmes attract additional funding; 11 new projects launched; funding of external meetings agreed

The International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) announced at the closing of its Forty-sixth Session additional funding of US$16.8 million towards the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources, including $4.5 million for the implementation of its pilot thematic programme on Reducing Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services in Tropical Forests (REDDES) and US$12.3 million for other thematic programmes, new projects and activities.
The Council is the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). It meets at least once a year to discuss wide-ranging issues aimed at promoting sustainable tropical forest management and the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber.
The funding pledged at the Session will support the implementation of 13 projects and 1 pre-project (including additional funding for two on-going projects).The new projects funded include one to promote integrated forest fire management in Guatemala and another to further develop a trans-boundary conservation corridor between Cameroon, Congo and Gabon. The Emerald Triangle area between Thailand and Cambodia also received significant funding for its conservation and management. Funds were also provided for projects to promote the sustainable use of non-timber forest products in Indonesia and to support community forest management in Amazonas State, Brazil. Project funding also included support to China to sustainably manage its mangrove forests, and additional funding to allow publication of the World Atlas of Mangroves (published in English in 2010) in French and Spanish. The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC) continued its support to ITTO’s work by funding projects on wood fuel in Cameroon and on further processing of timber in the Congo Basin.
Total pledges announced at the Session for the implementation of four pilot thematic programmes amounted to US$5.5 million, out which almost US$ 1 million is for ITTO’s thematic programmes on tropical forest law enforcement; community forest management and enterprises; and trade and market transparency. Calls for proposals planned for early 2011 will result in additional project work under some of these thematic programmes.
Funding totaling almost US$ 3 million was also pledged to several activities under ITTO’s 2010-2011 Biennial Work Programme. ITTO’s work related to climate change and reporting on tropical forest management received support. Funding was provided through the Organization’s Bali Partnership Fund (BPF) to allow continued publication of the quarterly Tropical Forest Update and bi-weekly Market Information Service. Additional funding was pledged for ITTO’s on-going program to enhance members’ ability to implement CITES listings of tropical timber species and also for ITTO’s communications and outreach activities. The Freezailah Fellowship Fund was also topped up by Council, to allow this valuable programme to continue offering awards to deserving candidates.
Donors at this session were the governments of Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the USA, Germany, China, Finland and Korea. Funds were also provided by ITTO’s BPF, the CFC, member government agencies, and private sector donors. Descriptions of all newly funded projects and activities will be published in the next edition of ITTO’s Tropical Forest Update.
The ITTC adopted several important decisions during its Forty-sixth Session. One of these provides for a long-term solution to funding its sessions held away from ITTO’s Yokohama headquarters. The ITTC announced, consistent with this decision, that its Forty-seventh Session in 2011 would be held in Guatemala City, Guatemala; its Forty-eighth Session in 2012 would be held in Yokohama; and its Forty-ninth Session in 2013 would be held in Libreville, Gabon. Other decisions adopted at this session include formalizing ITTO’s relationships with CBD and CITES and establishing more flexible mechanisms for ITTO fundraising. Council also adopted a decision providing funding for ITTO’s activities during the International Year of Forests in 2011, which coincides with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of ITTO. The Executive Director of ITTO, Emmanuel Ze Meka, was appointed to a second term of office (2011-2015) by the Council during the session.
The Council also reviewed the status of ratification by members of the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006 during its session. The entry into force of this successor agreement to the Organization’s current governing treaty (ITTA, 1994) has been delayed due to the slow pace of ratification by members. The Council noted that several members were in the final phases of ratifying the new agreement which may lead to its entry into force in 2011.