See more coverage of this event on the main IISD ENB website

We have launched a new website to better share our reports of global environmental negotiations.

As well as current coverage of new negotiations, you can find our original reports from this event by clicking here.

Daily Web Coverage (click a day below)

Visit the International Tropical Timber Organization

*To view PDF files,
you will need the free
Adobe Reader


International Tropical Timber Council: Thirty-Fifth Session

Yokohama, Japan | 3 - 8 November 2003

                                                                                                       Version Française

                                                                                                       Versión en español

Highlights from Thursday, 6 November

On Thursday morning, delegates to ITTC-35 convened in the Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), Forest Industry (CFI) and Finance and Administration (CFA). In the afternoon, delegates met in a council session to consider: the annual review and assessment of the international timber situation: listing proposals to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); negotiating a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994; sustainable forest management (SFM) in the Congo Basin; and ITTO Objective 2000.

Photo: Side event on Communities, Forests and Trade: (left to right): Hildebrando Ruffier, COICAP, Peru, Yati Bun, Foundation for People and Community Development, Inc, Papua New Guinea, Alberto Chinchilla, ACICAFOC, Costa Rica, and  Arvind Khare, Independent Consultant/

Council Session

David Cassells, World Bank, presented findings of a diagnostic mission to the Philippines, and recommended that the government, inter alia: develop a comprehensive legislative framework for SFM; examine trade policy impacts; refine environmental impact assessments; create regional SFM committees; and provide improved market information. (Listen to his presentation).

Romeo T. Acosta, Forest Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (right)

Indonesia (left)

Stephen Johnson, Secretariat, presented a report on elements for the annual review and assessment of the world timber situation (ITTC (XXXV/4), noting that international timber trade data is increasingly important since it informs policy discussions. He noted that since it received a very low amount of country responses on timber data, it may consider paying countries for such information in the future.He also said they are also working with an Inter-Secretariat working group to improve responses from developed countries. (Listen to his presentation).

Regarding CITES proposals, he also reported that it had not received any proposals to list new species in CITES appendices since ITTC-34. It noted that as of 15 November 2003, mahogany will be listed under CITES appendix II, implying that each mahogany import will need a CITES permit. The Secretariat also noted that CITES and ITTO convened a second meeting of the Mahogany Working Group, and said ther . (Listen to his presentation).

Vice-Chair Jan McAlpine, said ITTO is recognized as being one of the more substantive sources on trade data more generally on timber, and that data is the basis for policy decisions in the ITTO, as well as on a national level.


Shaharuddin Mohamad Ismail presented a background paper on experiences with the implementation of the ITTA, 1994 (ITTC XXXV/5), elaborating on: the ITTA's organization and administration; ITTC procedures; finance; operational activities; relationships with the Common Fund for Commodities; and different objectives categories. Ismail concluded that there have been notable achievements under ITTA, 1994, despite a shortfall in its implementation. He said that areas for potential future review under the successor agreement include the integration of policy and project implementation, balancing project distribition among committees and among geographic regions, and improving project cycles.

Side event: Communities, Forests and Trade: New Opportunities for Poverty Reduction and Conservation

Andy White, Forest Trends, Chair of the Civil Society Advisory Group (Far Right), introduced the side-event on Communities, Forests and Trade: New Opportunities for Poverty Reduction and Conservation." The panel consisted of four presentations each of which attached considerable importance to the role forests and community forest control plays in poverty reduction and enabling sustainable livelihoods. Hildebrando Ruffner, COICAP, Peru, Yati Bun, Foundation for People and Community Development, Inc, Papua New Guinea, Alberto Chinchilla, ACICAFOC, Costa Rica, Arvind Khare, Independent Consultant, and Chair Andy White, Forest Trends.

Arvind Khare, Independent Consultant (above left), provided a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the area of local and community forest ownership. He noted in particular that community forest ownership has been increasing in recent years and that this worldwide trend will likely continue. He also noted that local communities have received an increasing amount of investment over the last fifteen years. Khare noted, however, that even as these two trends continue, there has been a commensurate lack of government support to facilitate local forest management. (Listen to his presentation).

Hildebrando Ruffner, COICAP, Peru (center), said that industrial forestry is the dominant form of forestry in Peru and that the involvement of indigenous people in Peruvian forest management is minimal. Ruffner called for improved market access for community enterprise and increased transparency to combat corruption.

Yati Bun, Foundation for People and Community Development, PNG (above right), spoke about community forestry in Papua New Guinea, noting that community forestry operations face numerous barriers to entry. Bun said that domestic legislative and policy reforms are needed to encourage community-based forestry and that ITTO can help in this regard.

Alberto Chincilla, Coordinating Body for Indigenous and Community Forests in Central America, Costa Rica, explained that his organization promotes and facilitates forest ownership and the development of forest-related enterprise. He encouraged increased investment in community forest management, noting that the international community does not pay for the environmental services provided by forests managed by indigenous and local communities. Chincilla noted that ITTO has a role to play in formulating policies that encourage local-level sustainable development. (Listen to his presentation).

Noting that most members of the ITTO have signed onto the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), White said that community forest initiatives make a strong contribution to poverty reduction and other aspects of the MDGs. He encouraged community forest initiatives and social aspects to be integrated into ITTO's work plan, organization and the successor agreement. WWF BRAZIL elaborated on community initiatives in the Amazon and encouraged organizations to collaborate and share experiences of their involvement with forest communities. NEW ZEALAND emphasized the need for civil society groups to push governments to open markets and allow forest communities to benefit from trade. The US asked whether levelling the playing field for local communities, such as through tax benefits, should occur only at the national government level, or if it should also occur at the international community level.

Committee on Economic Information and Market Intelligence and Committee on Forest Industry
Emmanuel Ze Meka, Secretariat, and Co-Chair Astrid Bergquist.

The US proposed the addition of two projects to the draft Biennial Work Programme: a regional workshop in Peru for major mahogany exporters to assess and build capacities; and a review and audit of existing tracking systems of producer countries.

Committee on Finance and Administration

Informal drafting group: The informal drafting group made minor revisions to draft decisions on the executing agencies account and the management of the administrative budget. The group considered the draft biennial 2004-2005 work programme, and debated paragraphs listing numerous activities to be implemented by the Executive Director.

Miscellaneous Photos
Members of the Brazilian delegation (left) and with Ana Euler,  WWF (right).
ENB writers Andrew Baldwin, Lauren Flejzor, Nienke Beintema, and Hugh Wilkins (left); Alaister Sarre, of the Secretariat familiarizes his kids with the Council proceedings from an early age (right).

Links |

ITTO website, with provisional program, documents for the meeting, and information about the ITTO.
ENB summary from ITTC-34: (HTML, PDF, TEXT).
ENB summary from ITTC-33: (HTML, PDF, TEXT).
ENB summary from ITTC-32: (HTML, PDF, TEXT).
Linkages forests, desertification and land issues page, including a brief introduction to global forest policy.