Trade/environment alliances forged at ITTO mahogany workshop

31 May 2004, Yokohama, Japan

Traders and environmental non-governmental organizations will work more closely together to ensure the supply of legal mahogany following an ITTO workshop held recently in Peru.

The workshop on capacity building for implementation of the CITES Appendix II listing of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) was convened on 17–21 May 2004 in Pucallpa, Peru (a key mahogany processing and transit point) with the assistance of the Peruvian National Institute for Renewable Resources (INRENA).

Mahogany was included in Appendix II by decision of the 12th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), with the implementation becoming effective on 15 November 2003 (see ITTO Tropical Forest Update 13/4). The workshop was designed to address concerns by both exporting and importing countries surrounding the Appendix-II requirement for ‘non-detriment findings’ (stating that export of a specimen is not detrimental to the sustainability of the species) to accompany all shipments of mahogany.

Over 80 participants attended the workshop, including representatives of CITES’ scientific and management authorities from the three main range states (Bolivia, Brazil and Peru), management authorities and other government representatives from four major importing countries (Canada, Spain, UK and USA), representatives of four international organizations (ITTO, CITES, FAO and CIFOR), and representatives of six trade and six NGO groups from around the world. Several local processors and loggers also participated in the workshop, contributing a unique perspective on the problems that Peru, now the largest mahogany exporter, is facing as it tries to comply with the Appendix-II listing and ensure that mahogany exports are legal and sustainable.

The workshop endorsed the finding of the CITES Mahogany Working Group that non-detriment findings should only be made for mahogany arising from areas with an approved management plan. It made several more specific recommendations for countries to consider when implementing monitoring and control systems for mahogany production and trade, for technical assistance, and regarding the role of the private sector and regional/inter-agency cooperation. Two resolutions were tabled and endorsed at the conclusion of the workshop: one from the three main range countries pledging to implement the workshop recommendations and proposing establishment of a three-country working group to address issues of common concern in implementing the Appendix II listing; and a second from the trade, recognizing the commitment of the three main range countries to sustainably manage their mahogany resources.

A significant outcome of the workshop was the close relationships forged between some of the participating NGOs and trade representatives, with several individual traders in discussions to join buyers’ groups that would help to ensure supplies of sustainable and legal mahogany. Some members of the trade also offered to provide financial assistance to undertake inventories of mahogany resources and to offset other management costs.

The report of the workshop is currently being finalized and will be available in Spanish and English. It will contain all papers and presentations made at the workshop, the conclusions and recommendations agreed to, and the two resolutions referred to above. The report will be available on the ITTO website and in hard copy. For further information or to request a copy of the report, contact the ITTO Secretariat (