ITTO and BirdLife International extend collaboration to 2020

7 March 2016

From right: Princess Takamado (Honorary President of Birdlife International), Dr Steven Johnson (ITTO Officer-in-Charge), and Ms Patricia Zurita (CEO of BirdLife International), at the MOU signing ceremony. Photo: R. Carrillo/ITTO

On Monday, the 7th of March 2016, in Tokyo, Japan, ITTO and BirdLife International renewed their commitment to work together towards biodiversity conservation and  forest restoration by signing a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the presence of Her Imperial Highness, Princess Takamado of Japan, who is also Honorary President of Birdlife International. The new MoU, which is valid for five years, was agreed after the successful implementation of a previous MoU spanning 2012–2015.
The work to be carried out under the new MoU includes:
  • The development and implementation of joint projects on forest restoration, the improvement of local livelihoods, socio-environmental safeguards for REDD+, and best practices for combating deforestation drivers.
  • The development and testing of indicators for monitoring deforestation, forest degradation and restoration.
  • Awareness raising through educational activities as a way of mobilizing public support for forest conservation, restoration and sustainable management.
The MoU also specifies joint participation in the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016 and the BirdLife International World Congress in 2017, with the aim of raising awareness about, and advocating for, tropical forest conservation.
At the signing ceremony, Princess Takamado expressed her satisfaction about the work being carried out by ITTO and BirdLife International, and spoke about the importance of birds as indicators of the ecological health of ecosystems. Ms Patricia Zurita, Chief Executive of BirdLife International, said that the renewal of the MoU is an indication of their willingness of both organizations to do much more and the need to build on the milestones already achieved. Dr Steven Johnson, ITTO’s Officer-in-Charge, referred to the strong correlation between birds and biodiversity conservation, and said that ITTO will be able to do much more work in this area in coming years thanks to the strong partnership with BirdLife International and its network of partners worldwide.
Major activities conducted under the previous MoU between ITTO and BirdLife International include advocacy for the conservation of tropical forests and biodiversity at:
  • The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Paris, France, in December 2015, at which both organizations highlighted the role of community forestry in governance in the context of REDD+.
  • The World Forestry Congress in Durban, South Africa, in September 2015, with a focus on locally tailored solutions for maximizing the benefits of forests for people and ecosystems.
  • COP 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in India in October 2012, where collaborative approaches to reach the forest-related Aichi targets were presented.
Also under the previous MoU, BirdLife International applied the ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Forests in the field in Mexico. It is expected that the new MoU will build on such activities with a view to furthering the mandates of both organizations.[1]
[1] ITTO’s mandate is to promote the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest
resources. BirdLife International’s madate is to promote the conservation of birds and their use as indicators of the wider biodiversity with the most updated and extensive information available globally.