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Forty-second Session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-42) and Associated Sessions of the Committees
7-12 May 2007, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)

Summary Report


May 2007

ITTC-42 Highlights: Friday, 11 May 2007

On Friday, May 11, the government of Papua New Guinea generously offered four different field trips to ITTC-42 participants, who were flown to four corners of the country. Delegates returned from their field trips just in time to reconvene at 21:00 for continued discussions on the ED selection process.

In the evening, the debate over the selection of the new Executive Director reached its boiling point. Brazil tabled a motion to hold a special vote on the matter. Following this, the Producer caucus met and then announced to Council that they had reached consensus, and that they would support Emmanuel Ze Meka and withdraw other producer country candidates. However, they said that the consensus was contingent on the Consumer caucus also reaching agreement on only one candidate. In response, New Zealand, for Consumers, reiterated their strong preference to vote on all six candidates.

General debate ensued on whether reaching consensus amongst the caucuses was possible, and if a vote for ED would be necessary. As no consensus was reached, the Secretariat noted that in accordance with ITTA, 1994 the Council should vote on whether to vote. New Zealand, on a point of order, noted that since ITTA, 1994 was a legally binding agreement the Council should go directly to a special vote. Nevertheless, the Council went ahead with the vote on the special vote.

The Secretariat, after voting had finished, stated that a majority had been attained for a special vote to go ahead. At this announcement Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG, Philippines and Thailand announced that they were withdrawing from the meeting and left the room. Subsequently, a number of members expressed tremendous disappointment at the situation, and hoped that it could be resolved. At 12:40a.m Saturday the meeting was adjourned until 9:00 a.m.

Evening Plenary

Malaysia announced that Producers had agreed to put forward only one candidate, if Consumers would do the same.

Indonesia and the Philippines expressed disappointment that the Consumers were unwilling to withdraw any candidates.

The US rejected the Producer’s condition that Consumers withdraw candidates.

New Zealand, raised a point of order, that it was unnecessary to have a vote on whether to have a Special Vote, as this is specified in the legally binding ITTA, 1994 agreement.

Cameroonian delegation

The Netherlands

The Council votes on whether to hold a vote on the selection of Executive Director.

Should we stay or should we go? During a break, several Producers discussed their options.

The Secretariat was called upon to provide guidance regarding voting procedures.

Thailand and Papua New Guinea were amongst those countries who announced that they were withdrawing from the meeting out of protest, in response to the decision to hold a Special Vote.

After the results of the vote indicated that there would be a Special Vote, a large number of Producer members, following Malaysia’s lead, declared that they were leaving the meeting. Subsequently, they left the room.

Field Trip

The field trips that preceded the evening plenary were a bit more pleasant. One group flew to Panakawa, in the Southern Region to visit veneer and plywood factories as well as a timber mill. Another group went to Mount Hagen in the Highlands Region to visit tea and coffee factories as well as a forestry plantation. A third group went to Lae in the Momase Region to visit botanical gardens, University of Technology of Papua New Guinea as well as a forestry college. The last group flew to Rabaul in the New Guinea Islands Region to visit a balsa plantation project, a volcano monitoring center and World War II relics.

During the field trip to Lae, delegates were able to experience a microcosm of the challenges and potential for forestry in PNG. Lae Builders and Construction exemplified secondary processed products, using a range of skills being taught at the Timber and Forestry Training College. The Forestry Research Institute has started restoration relevant research on artificially establishing indigenous species. Exotic birds predominated at the Rainforest Habitat educational resource centre (pictures and text by guest contributor Patrick Hardcastle).

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