The fourth day of the virtual Fifty-sixth Session of International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-56) and the Associated Sessions of its four Committees focused heavily on the project and policy work of the Committees. At the end of the session, Member States met in a closed session to debate whether to extend the term of the current International Tropical Timber Organization’s (ITTO) Executive Director or launch the process to select a new one.
The day started with presentations during the joint meeting of the Committee on Economics, Statistics and Markets and the Committee on Forest Industry (CEM-CFI) segment of ongoing policy work on access to markets and forest and timber certification in ITTO Producing Members.
The Committee on Reforestation and Forest Management recommended five projects and pre-projects for Council approval for funding and considered updates on ongoing policy work on smallholders’ forest land restoration (FLR) in West Africa, training modules on legal and sustainable supply chains, dissemination of the ITTO Guidelines for FLR in the Tropics, and collaboration with the Convention on Biological Diversity on tropical forest biodiversity.
Other topics discussed on Thursday included the proposed ITTO Biennial Work Programme (BWP) for 2021-2022, the winding down of ITTO’s Thematic Programmes to be replaced by the new programmatic approach to funding, and ITTO fellowships. The proposed new BWP would organize 24 activities requiring financing into five groups covering field-oriented activities, normative work, collaboration, communications and outreach, and analytical, statistical and other recurring work. These would require USD 1,860,000 in core operational costs and USD 4,346,760 in voluntary contributions. Council members asked for clarifications about the proposal in the BWP for ITTO to take over management of the Global Timber Tracking Network, and how the BWP might be fine-tuned to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on tropical forest management and the tropical timber trade.
The Secretariat reported awarding 20 fellowships in 2020 that promote human resource development and strengthen professional expertise in tropical forestry and related disciplines, 45% of them to women. Sweden announced a USD 20,000 pledge to the fellowship programme, while Japan and the US indicated they would announce pledges later.