ITTO commits another US$10 million for tropical forests

20 December 2004, Yokohama, Japan

Pha Taem protected forest complex, the focus of an
ITTO project in the Emerald Triangle. Photo: E. Muller

Projects to develop national-level principles, criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in the Republic of Congo, undertake fire management and post-fire forest restoration in Ghana, and continue the development of a transboundary conservation area in the Emerald Triangle of Thailand, Cambodia and Laos were among those funded by the International Tropical Timber Council, which met here last week.

The Council is the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). It meets twice a year to discuss a wide-ranging agenda aimed at promoting the sustainable use of tropical forest resources and the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber.

The Council financed a total of 16 new projects at this session, including one that will help establish seed orchards for indigenous tree species in Sabah, Malaysia, another that will strengthen capacity in China to implement the National Code of Practice for Forest Harvesting, and another to assist in the establishment of collaborative forest management in Jambi, Indonesia.

Among the activities funded at this session was a review and revision of the ITTO 'Guidelines for the conservation of biodiversity in tropical timber producing forests'. Since the original guidelines were published in 1992, new approaches to biodiversity conservation have been designed and tested. The revision, which will be done in collaboration with IUCN, the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant organizations, will take these into account with the aim of producing state-of-the-art guidelines for use at the national and forest-management-unit levels.

The Council also made two substantive decisions. One of these is aimed at making improvements to the ITTO project cycle, while the other will continue to strengthen cooperation between ITTO and the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in the application of CITES rules to the trade of mahogany and ramin species.

The major donors at this session were the governments of Japan, Switzerland, the United States and the Netherlands, while the governments of Finland, Norway, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand also pledged funds. In addition, funds were mobilized from the Unearmarked Fund of the Organization's Special Account, its Bali Partnership Fund Sub-account B and the Working Capital Account.

Descriptions of the newly funded projects will be published in a later edition of the ITTO Tropical Forest Update. For more information contact the ITTO Secretariat at

See the Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the session at