ITTO strengthens cooperation with China on sustainable tropical timber

26 September 2017

Gerhard Dieterle, ITTO Executive Director (left), and Jianlong Zhang, Minister of State Forest Administration. Photo: State Forestry Administration

ITTO and the Government of China will strengthen their cooperation on the sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources and enabling South–South cooperation. The commitment was made at a meeting between ITTO’s Executive Director, Dr Gerhard Dieterle, and the Minister for the State Forestry Administration, Mr Zhang Jianlong, during a recent visit to China by Dr Dieterle.
At this meeting Dr Dieterle emphasized the close collaboration that already existed between ITTO and the State Forestry Administration. China was playing an increasingly important role in the international forest regime, he said, and strengthening the partnership with China would ultimately help all ITTO member countries.
Mr Zhang acknowledged the unique role of ITTO in promoting the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources, and he said he appreciated the technical support that ITTO provides China through projects. Both parties committed to further collaboration in the fields of forest management, forest industry and timber trade.
While in China, Dr Dieterle also visited the Ministry of Commerce (China’s ITTO focal point), where he met Mr Wang Shouwen, the Vice Minister of Commerce. Mr Wang expressed satisfaction with the sound cooperation between China and ITTO over the previous 30 years and said he hoped such cooperation would expand in the future. Dr Dieterle noted the increasingly important leadership role of China as the world’s largest consumer of tropical timber and exporter of tropical timber products and suggested that this role could be strengthened by bolstering support for ITTO’s objectives. The two parties agreed to increase cooperation on the sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources, and enabling South–South cooperation.
Dr Dieterle took the opportunity afforded by his visit to China to sign memoranda of understanding with the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the Asia-Pacific Network for Sustainable Forest Management and Rehabilitation (APFNet). He also discussed collaboration with the heads of the International Center for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR), the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), and 15 of the largest timber companies in Shanghai.
In Dr Dieterle’s meeting with the President of the Chinese Academy of Forestry, Dr Zhang Shougong, the two signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of their two organizations to promote international capacity building and training on sustainable forest management, timber processing for value-added products, and sustainable timber trade.
Dr Dieterle and Mr Qu Guilin, APFNet Executive Director, signed a memorandum of understanding with the aim of identifying, developing and implementing joint activities on strategic policies, projects and capacity building in areas relevant to the mandates of the two organizations.
Dr Dieterle met Madam Jiang Zehui, Director General of ICBR, and Dr Hans Friederich, Director General of INBAR, to discuss future collaboration on bamboo and rattan. ICBR and INBAR invited ITTO to participate in the first world conference on bamboo and rattan, which will be held in China in June 2018.
In Shanghai, Dr Dieterle attended a roundtable meeting with the heads of Shanghai’s 15 largest timber companies. Dr Dieterle outlined the global situation for tropical timber and emerging trends in legal and sustainable forest product supply chains. He pointed out that ITTO promotes linkages and collaboration between producers and consumers of tropical timber and supports initiatives to achieve “green” supply chains. The industry leaders participated actively in the dialogue and expressed a vital interest in developing a mechanism for achieving green supply chains, with assistance from ITTO.