The final day of the virtual Fifty-sixth Session of International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-56) and the Associated Sessions of its four Committees discussed elements of the Biennial Review and Assessment of the World Timber Situation due to be published by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in 2021, decided on the dates and venue for ITTC-57, and adopted five decisions.
The sobering Biennial Review presentation by the Secretariat outlined recent trends in timber production, consumption, and trade flows and provided an initial assessment of the impacts of COVID-19.
After Viet Nam could not confirm its tentative offer to host ITTC-57, the Council decided to convene its next session from 2-7 November 2021 in the ITTO’s host city, Yokohama, Japan. The Council also selected Kheiruddin Rani (Malaysia) and Jesse Mahoney (Australia) as ITTC-57 Chair and Vice Chair, respectively.
Among its decisions, the ITTC adopted the Biennial Work Programme (BWP) for 2021-2022, approved Phase II of the New Financing Architecture (NFA), and addressed the end of the term for ITTO Executive Director Gerhardt Dieterle. The approved BWP features 24 activities organized into five groups: field-oriented activities; normative work; collaborative work; communications/outreach; and analytical, statistical, and other recurring work.
The NFA decision adopts objectives for the NFA’s four programmatic lines and provides a template for project concept notes. It also requests the Secretariat to issue a call for new project concept notes as soon as possible and to propose an approach for review of the NFA pilot phase for consideration by ITTC57.
The decision on the Executive Director did not extend Dieterle’s term and chose instead to initiate the process to select a new Executive Director at ITTO-57.
In this closing remarks, Dieterle expressed satisfaction with the milestones achieved during the NFA pilot phase, saying it should provide an excellent foundation to meet the ITTO’s current and future challenges. He expressed disappointment that he would not continue to lead the reform process but wished ITTO a successful transition.
In closing, many delegates praised the level of goodwill and cooperation during ITTC-56, suggesting it bodes well for the future of ITTO.