Report of main proceedings for 8 November 2002
33rd Session of the ITTC
On Friday, delegates met in Committee and drafting group sessions. The Committees on Reforestation and Management (CRF), Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), Forest Industry (CFI) and Finance and Administration (CFA) met in the morning to consider outstanding matters and adopt their reports. The drafting group met in morning and afternoon sessions to consider draft decisions on partnerships for sustainable forest management (SFM) and certification, and preparations for renegotiating the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994).
COMMITTEE ON REFORESTATION AND FOREST MANAGEMENT: Draft report: CRF Chair Pérez introduced the draft report of the Committee on its thirty-first session (CRF(XXXI)/7). On policy work, Chair Pérez highlighted a decision to accept a proposed study on assessing the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of forest plantation development, and said that the Secretariat will prepare a detailed proposal for the thirty-second session of the Committee. On recommendations to the Council, PERU informed delegates of budget changes regarding a project on promotion and transfer of knowledge on SFM models. Noting that the proposed ITTO's contribution to the project was reduced by $78,000, he requested that this be reflected in the relevant annex. CÔTE D'IVOIRE inquired about budget decisions for a project, put forward during ITTC-31, on a permanent network of stands dynamics monitoring in plantations. The Secretariat clarified that funding would be considered before the end of the session. Responding to a request for clarification from PAPUA NEW GUINEA, the Secretariat said that the report includes only projects and pre-projects that were discussed by the CRF during this session. The Committee elected Henri-Félix Maître, France, as CRF Chairperson and A.S.K. Boachie-Dapaah, Ghana, as CRF Vice-Chairperson for 2003, and adopted the report.
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC INFORMATION AND MARKET INTELLIGENCE: Draft report: CEM Chair Bergquist introduced the draft report of the Committee (CEM(XXXI)/7). The Trade and Advisory Group's (TAG) spokesperson said that Guatemala's proposals to CITES to list two tropical tree species came as a surprise. He said TAG's topic for ITTC-34 market discussion will be world trade and business developments and will include WTO participation. He welcomed the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG), noting that a more balanced discussion on certification was warranted. The Secretariat noted a decision by the drafting group to combine CEM and CFI work in joint sessions at ITTC-34. Delegates elected Gilbert Kaya, the Republic of Congo, as CEM Chair, and Yeo-Chang Youn, the Republic of Korea, as CEM Vice-Chair for 2003, and adopted the report.
COMMITTEE ON FOREST INDUSTRY: Election of the Chair and Vice-Chair for 2003: The Committee elected Fidel Reyes Lee, Guatemala, and Astrid Bergquist, Sweden, as CFI Chair and Vice-Chair for 2003, respectively.
Dates and venues of future sessions: The Committee agreed that the dates and venues of the thirty-second, thirty-third and thirty-fourth Sessions of the Committee will depend on the dates and venues set by the Council for its thirty-fourth, thirty-fifth and thirty-sixth Sessions.
Other business: The US proposed that the Secretariat prepare a document on the common elements of projects and pre-projects and proposals evaluations, to be discussed at the next Joint Committee Session. Delegates agreed to include the proposal in the agenda of the next session.
Draft report: CFI Chair Reyes Lee introduced the draft report to the Committee (CFI(XXXI)/7). On consideration of project and pre-project proposals, the US requested that his concern regarding consistency of project ideas with ITTO mandate be reflected in the report. On the Secretariat's proposal for a general study on the utilization of logging residues and wood waste, the Secretariat explained that the proposal had been revised according to the Committee's recommendations to address waste minimization, reconsider the list of countries that would be consulted, and reduce the budget. With these and other minor amendments, delegates adopted the report.
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION: Draft report: CFA Chair Chittachumnonk invited comments on the draft report of the Committee (CFA(XII)/7), including an annex on the CFA 2003 work programme. Delegates elected Christopher Ellis, the US, as CFA Vice-Chairperson for 2003, and adopted the report, with minor corrections.
OPEN-ENDED DRAFTING GROUP
DRAFT DECISION ON PREPARATIONS FOR RENEGOTIATING ITTA, 1994: On a draft decision on preparations for the renegotiating process, delegates added language on requesting: members' comments on the draft report on new and emerging issues; and the ITTO Executive Director to authorize consultants to revise the report according to Council discussions and comments, and consult with UNCTAD. One member said the decision should encourage members to consult domestically with interested NGOs. Delegates agreed, instead, to encourage stakeholder consultations.
Delegates also discussed the content and format of a proposed survey for the renegotiations of the ITTA, 1994. They agreed that the survey should contain questions on: the general overview of the ITTA, 1994; new and emerging issues and implications for a Successor Agreement; institutional and organizational issues; funding mechanisms; and other issues. Delegates added a chapeau clarifying that responses to the Survey should aim at identifying problems and challenges and ways to address them in a new Agreement.
On the proposed working group on renegotiation issues, delegates addressed a proposed budget for the Working Group and the renegotiation process, and how to present relevant financial figures in an annex to the decision. Delegates added language authorizing the ITTO Executive Director to seek voluntary contributions from countries to fund the cost of convening the meeting of the Working Group on Organization of Work under the ITTA, 1994, and the First Preparatory Committee for negotiating a Successor Agreement and other renegotiation expenses, including financial assistance to producing members for attendance, as needed. They also agreed that, if sufficient funds are not received by 15 January 2003, the Executive Director would be requested to use funds from the Working Capital Account.
Regarding Chairmanship of the renegotiation process, delegates debated two options. Consumer countries favored producer and consumer members co-chairing, stressing that continued leadership, shared responsibilities and equal rights of both caucuses are key to successful renegotiations. Producers favored alternating chairs from producer and consumer countries at each session, with a producer member chairing the final renegotiations. A compromise option to alternate Chairs and Vice-Chairs from producer and consumer countries every two sessions was agreed upon, with the understanding that the continuity of leadership, effective participation of the Vice-Chair, and coordination and collaboration between the Vice-Chair and the Chair will be ensured.
DRAFT DECISION ON PARTNERSHIPS FOR SFM: On the draft decision on partnerships for SFM, delegates agreed to balance the urgent need for action with concerns that ITTO guidelines governing partnerships were undecided. The drafting group agreed to language that: establishes pilot partnerships and a working group to provide guidance to ITTO on partnerships; and ensures CSAG and TAG input on partnerships.
IN THE CORRIDORS
With the final session of the Council looming on the horizon, many delegates expressed overall satisfaction with the thirty-third session of the Council. However, some delegates questioned the transparency of the decision-making process, complaining that draft decisions materialize "out of the blue" and often too late for proper consideration. Meanwhile, some delegates noted that with the renegotiation of the ITTA nearing, the Council Chairmanship for 2003 is assuming increasing significance, leaving some to speculate as to how this might affect the future of the agreement.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COUNCIL SESSION: The final session of the Council will be held from 10:00-12:30 in the Plenary Hall to, inter alia, consider CITES listing proposals, hear the Committees' reports, and adopt decisions and the meeting's report.
PRODUCER AND CONSUMER GROUP MEETINGS: The Producer Group will meet in the Plenary Hall, and the Consumer Group in the Committee Room, both from 9:00-10:00.