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39th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council 
and Associated Sessions of the Committees


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Highlights for Monday, 7 November 2005

Delegates met at the Pacifico Yokohama Conference Center in Yokohama , Japan on the opening day of the Thirty-ninth Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC), and heard opening statements and an update on the renegotiations of the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 1994 (ITTA, 1994) in a morning Council session. During the afternoon, delegates met in a Joint Committee Session and in sessions of the Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Forest Industry and Reforestation and Forest Management.  Meetings of the Bureau and the Fellowship Selection Panel were held briefly in the evening. 

Above photo: View of the opening Session of the Council.


During the morning Council session, delegates heard opening remarks from: ITTC Chair Alhassan Attah of Ghana; Hiroshi Nakada, Mayor of Yokohama, Japan; Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia; Carolyn Rodrigues, Minister of Amerindian Affairs of Guyana; Naoto Maeda, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan; Don Koo Lee, President of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations; and ITTO Executive Director Manoel Sobral Filho. Many statements stressed the need to, inter alia: conclude ITTA, 1994 renegotiations as soon as possible in 2006; utilize the strategic position of ITTO for sustainable forest management (SFM); and curb alarming rate of deforestation in the tropics.

Left photo L-R: ITTO Executive Director Manoel Sobral Filho; ITTC Chair Alhassan Attah of Ghana; Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia; Carolyn Rodrigues, Minister of Amerindian Affairs of Guyana; Naoto Maeda, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.

ITTC Chair Alhassan Attah (Ghana ) opened the session, announced that Mexico will host the 40th session of ITTC in 2006, and stressed the need to reach agreement on a Successor Agreement to ITTA, 1994.

Mayor Hiroshi Nakada of Yokohama noted that ITTO has made major contributions on the difficult mission of reconciling development of tropical countries with improving the global environment, and that Yokohama lauds and supports this effort.

Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities of Malaysia, explained Malaysia’s application of the Malaysian Timber Certification Council’s timber certification scheme, which is gaining recognition and acceptance in European countries. 

Carolyn Rodrigues, Minister Amerindian Affairs, Guyana, stressed the interconnectivity of political and environmental affairs, as well as the impact of commodity and fuel prices on forest-dependent peoples. She highlighted recent successes achieved by the Iwakrama Project, and urged demonstration of commitment through increased funding.

Naoto Maeda, Director-General, Forestry Agency of Japan, said that recognition of SFM is a major challenge of the forest industry in addressing international environment issues, including global warming. Japan has used its initiatives on climate change to address illegal logging.

Don Koo Lee (Republic of Korea), President of IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations), described cooperation between ITTO and IUFRO, particularly in the interface between science and policy.

Manoel Sobral Filho, Executive Director, ITTO, emphasized the importance of the renegotiation of the ITTA 1994 agreement and increasing funding levels in light of continued high levels of tropical deforestation. He highlighted the potential for civil society and the private sector to play a key role in implementation.

Delegates also adopted the ITTC agenda, and were updated on the admission of observers and membership of the Council. Carlos Antonio da Rocha Paranhos (Brazil) explained contentious issues related to the ITTA, 1994 renegotiations, noting that finance remains the major area of divergence.

Luis Ernesto Barrera Garavito (Guatemala), stressed the importance of completing the renegotiations the ITTA, 1994 agreement.

Aulikki Kauppila (Finland), commended the secretariat’s work on the report of the Informal Advisory Group, and stressed the importance of informal negotiations.

Miguel Ruiz-Cabañas (Mexico), supported Papua New Guinea's offer to host ITTC-42, and thanked them for accepting this compromise.

Dike Kari (Papua New Guinea), expressed support for Mexico’s proposal to host ITTC-40 in the Yucatan.

Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence and the Committee on Forest Industry (CEM/CFI): 

Above photos L-R: CFI Chair Celestine Ntsame-Okwo (Gabon) and CEM Chair James Gasana (Switzerland) introduced a number of projects and pre-projects for discussion and review; view of the joint session of CEM and CFI.

Above photos L-R: Representatives of member countries presented a brief summary of work completed and in progress on various project and pre-projects under CFI and CEM. Presentations were made by Mohammed Basri Hamzah (Malaysia), Zhang Zhongtian (China), Florentino Tesoro (The Philippines) and Kojo Wireko-Brobby (Ghana)

Committee on Reforestation and Forest Management (CRF):

Above photos L-R: Steve Johnson (ITTO) introduced a series of projects under Strategic Policy Activities; CRF Chair Jennifer Conje (US) and CRF Vice-chair Petrus Gunarso (Indonesia)

Switzerland recalled that Decision 9/XXX already deals with the issue of regional workshops on criteria and indicators C&I for SFM.

Above photo: Jürgen Blaser (Switzerland)

With regards to monitoring progress in applying C&I for SFM, Brazil stressed the importance of regional workshops to facilitate cooperation at this level. 

Above photo: Rócia Silva Oliveira (Brazil)

The Philippines stressed the importance of including information related to certification auditing in C&I workshops.

Above photo: Ricardo Umali (The Philippines)

The Congo called for the training of auditors capable of certifying African forest concessions.

Above photo: Gregoire Nkéoua (Congo)


This service was prepared in cooperation with the ITTO Secretariat



ITTO Secretariat
Session documents
UNFF Secretariat
UNFCCC Secretariat
CBD Secretariat
ENB coverage of ITTC-37
ENB coverage of the UN Conference for the Negotiation of a Successor Agreement to the ITTA, 1994 Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 
YMB summary from the Europe and North Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Conference: (HTML, PDF, TEXT).
ENB archives of forestry meetings


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