Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 24 No. 14
Monday, 11 November 2002

SUMMARY OF THE THIRTY-THIRD SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER ORGANIZATION:
4-9 NOVEMBER 2002

The thirty-third session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-33) met from 4-9 November 2002, in Yokohama, Japan. Approximately 220 participants attended the session, representing 47 member countries, 4 potential members, 18 intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies, and 32 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Council adopted nine decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; management of the administrative budget for 2002; the International Tropical Timber Organization’s (ITTO) 2003 work programme; public relations, education and outreach; partnerships for sustainable forest management (SFM); prevention and management of forest fires; measures to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization; preparations for negotiating a successor agreement to the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994); and extension of the ITTA, 1994.

The thirty-first sessions of the ITTC’s Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), Reforestation and Forest Management (CRF), and Forest Industry (CFI) also met to, inter alia: review projects, pre-projects and activities in progress; consider ex-post evaluations; and select projects and pre-projects for approval by the Council. The ITTC’s Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) convened its twelfth session to review financial and administrative matters, including the 2003 administrative budget and appointment of auditors. A Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) Panel discussion also convened.

ITTC-33 lived up to its own expectations as it considered few substantive issues and, instead, focused on the review of ongoing projects and activities and procedural matters related to the organization of work of the Council and its Committees, and prepare for the negotiation of a successor agreement to ITTA, 1994. After ITTC-32, considered by many as one of the most successful Council sessions in the history of the ITTO process, ITTC-33 served as an opportunity to set the foundations for consolidating ITTO’s role in SFM, and moving it beyond basic project funding to become a valued contributor to the international forest policy making process.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ITTA

The International Tropical Timber Agreement was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The ITTA negotiations were aimed at: providing an effective framework for cooperation and consultation between countries producing and consuming tropical timber; promoting the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber and the improvement of structural conditions in the tropical timber market; promoting and supporting research and development to improve forest management and wood utilization; and encouraging the development of national policies for the sustainable utilization and conservation of tropical forests and their genetic resources, and maintaining the ecological balance in the regions concerned.

The ITTA was adopted on 18 November 1983, in Geneva, and entered into force on 1 April 1985. It remained in force for an initial period of five years and was extended twice for two-year periods. The Agreement was renegotiated in 1993-1994. The Successor Agreement to the ITTA (ITTA, 1994) was adopted on 26 January 1994, and entered into force on 1 January 1997. The ITTA, 1994 contains broader provisions for information sharing, including non-tropical timber trade data; allows for consideration of non-tropical timber issues as they relate to tropical timber; and includes the Year 2000 Objective (Objective 2000) to enhance members’ capacity to implement a strategy for achieving exports of tropical timber and timber products from sustainably managed sources by the year 2000. The new agreement also established the Bali Partnership Fund meant to assist producing members in achieving Objective 2000. At its twenty-eighth session, in 2000, the ITTC extended the ITTA, 1994 for a three-year period ending on 31 December 2003.

The ITTA, 1985 established the International Tropical Timber Organization, headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, which provides a forum for tropical timber producer and consumer countries to discuss, exchange information and develop policies on issues relating to international trade in, and utilization of, tropical timber and the sustainable management of its resource base. The ITTO has 57 members divided into two caucuses: producer countries (31 members) and consumer countries (25 members, including European Community States). The ITTO membership represents 95% of world trade in tropical timber and covers 75% of the world’s tropical forests.

The governing body of the ITTO is the International Tropical Timber Council, which includes all members. Four committees advise and assist the Council on issues for consideration and decision: the Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), Reforestation and Forest Management (CRF), and Forest Industry (CFI) deal with the ITTO's major areas of work, and the ITTC’s Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) considers financial and administrative matters concerning the ITTO’s management. The CEM, CFM and CFI are supported by an Expert Panel for the Technical Appraisal of Projects, which reviews project proposals. Since 1998, the Council has also been advised by an Informal Advisory Group (IAG).

ITTC-31: The thirty-first session of the ITTC met in Yokohama, Japan, from 29 October-3 November 2001. At the session, the Council made decisions on: strengthening forest law enforcement in member countries requesting assistance; convening a workshop to further develop a draft workplan on mangrove forest ecosystems; establishing a database of statistics on the trade of bamboo and rattan; and assisting countries to develop auditing systems for the implementation of ITTO's criteria and indicators for SFM.

ITTC-32: The ITTC held its thirty-second session in Bali, Indonesia, from 13-18 May 2002. At this session, the Council: acknowledged the creation of a civil society advisory group (CSAG) and provided it with the means to participate in ITTC-33; and adopted decisions on, inter alia: ITTO’s contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD); sustainable management and conservation of mangrove forest ecosystems, including a revised Mangrove Workplan; guidelines for the restoration, management and rehabilitation of degraded and secondary tropical forests; forest law enforcement in Africa; SFM in the Congo Basin; and certification. The Council also approved 19 projects and 10 pre-projects.

ITTC-33 REPORT

ITTC-33 opened on Monday morning, 4 November 2002. Delegates observed a minute of silence in memory of Hidenobu Takahide, former Mayor of Yokohama, and Léo Scherman, translator of the Council.

Jürgen Blaser, ITTC Chair, called on delegates to strengthen ITTO by concentrating on ongoing activities rather than adopting new substantive decisions. He said areas requiring further consideration by ITTC-33 include: restoration of degraded and secondary tropical forests; timber certification; forest law enforcement; international cooperation; and the status of tropical forest management. Noting the creation of the CSAG, he stressed the need for dialogue and cooperation between producer and consumer countries, and civil society. He expressed hope that progress would be made on ITTO’s organization of work and on setting the process and calendar for renegotiating ITTA, 1994.

ITTO Executive Director Manoel Sobral Filho welcomed delegates to ITTC-33 and thanked the city of Yokohama for its continued financial support. He reviewed ITTO’s portfolio of projects and activities on conservation, SFM, criteria and indicators (C&I), restoration and rehabilitation of degraded areas, forest law enforcement, participation in international processes, and communication. Sobral expressed hope that the ITTO would become a niche for certification and stressed the need for partnerships and improved efficiency. He noted that forest fires and better reporting of data on trade in tropical timber require particular attention.

Eisuke Hinode, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, called for a prompt start to the negotiation of a successor agreement to ITTA, 1994, and stressed the need for stricter management, and more efficient implementation of ITTO projects. He welcomed strengthening ITTO’s cooperation with new partners, including civil society.

Hiroshi Nakada, Mayor of Yokohama, highlighted the role of Japan and the city of Yokohama in the ITTO process, and as a host to the organization’s headquarters.

Tetsuo Kato, Director-General, Forestry Agency Japan, commended ITTO’s achievements. Stressing the need to prevent illegal logging, he called for internationally-coordinated activities in this area, and certification. Noting the multifunctional role of forests, Kato highlighted Japan’s forest protection efforts, including its support to producing countries and the ITTO.

Oben Tanyi Mbianyor, Minister of Environment and Forests of Cameroon, on behalf of the Congo Basin countries, thanked the partners facilitating SFM in the region, and outlined efforts to protect Cameroon’s forests. He emphasized the need for a sustainable reforestation programme in Cameroon.

José Carlos Carvalho, Minister of Environment of Brazil, highlighted Brazil’s efforts to ensure SFM based on social participation. He commended broadened international aid to address Brazilian forestry issues, and called for further actions on illegal logging, and for projects related to mahogany, according to CITES priorities. Carvalho highlighted an offer to open a Central American Regional ITTO office in Brazil. He called for creating economic incentives for SFM, and recommended that the ITTO mandate be extended to sustainable use and management of forest resources.

Delegates then ascertained the quorum, adopted the meeting’s agenda (ITTC(XXXIII)/1) and organization of work, heard reports on the Council’s membership and the eleventh meeting of the Informal Advisory Group (IAG) (ITTC(XXXIII)/2), approved the distribution of votes for 2003 (ITTC(XXXIII)/1Annex), and admitted all observers (ITTC(XXXIII)/Info. 3). The following Bureau members continued in office during the session: Chair Jürgen Blaser (Switzerland), Vice-Chair Bin Che Yeom Freezailah (Malaysia), CRF Chair Angela Andrade Pérez (Colombia), CRF Vice-Chair Henri Félix-Maître (France), CEM Chair Astrid Bergquist (Sweden), CEM Vice-Chair Gilbert Kaya (Republic of Congo), CFI Vice-Chair Fidel Reyes Lee (Guatemala), and CFA Vice-Chair Pravit Chittachumnonk (Thailand).

Over the week, the Council convened four more times to: hear reports on ongoing activities and other issues; consider matters pertaining to the organization of work of the Council and Committees; discuss certification; review progress towards Objective 2000 and SFM; discuss forest law enforcement; consider matters relating to Article 46 of ITTA, 1994, including extension of ITTA, 1994 and preparations for negotiations of a successor agreement; review the international timber situation; discuss the role of the ITTO in international and regional organizations; and consider CITES proposals. An open-ended drafting group met twice to consider draft decisions. The CSAG met once to discuss certification. Two Joint Committee sessions were held to review the report of the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal, and consider policy work.

The following report summarizes Council and Committee discussions and decisions, organized by agenda item.

COUNCIL SESSIONS

REPORTS: Eleventh Meeting of the IAG: The 11th meeting of the Informal Advisory Group convened on Sunday, 3 November 2002, prior to ITTC-33, to discuss, inter alia: the need for further consideration of actions and strategies regarding forest and timber certification; the report of the intersessional Working Group on the Organization of Work convened by ITTC-32; renegotiation and extension of the ITTA, 1994; ITTO work programme for 2003; and the election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the Council for 2003.

On Monday, ITTC Chair Blaser presented the report of the IAG (ITTC(XXXIII)/2) to the Council, including the list of proposed possible decisions to be considered and adopted by ITTC-33 on:

  • projects, pre-projects and activities;
     

  • measures to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ITTO;
     

  • process and calendar for renegotiating the ITTA;
     

  • extension of the ITTA,1994;
     

  • ITTO 2003 Work Programme;
     

  • communications and public relations;
     

  • management of the administrative budget;
     

  • forest fires;
     

  • the Congo Basin Initiative;
     

  • forest law enforcement and governance (FLEG); and
     

  • certification.

The Council adopted the report without amendments.

Annual Review and Assessment of the International Timber Situation: On Thursday, the Secretariat presented the 2002 Annual Review and Assessment of the International Timber Situation (ITTC(XXXIII)/4), comprising statistics on the tropical timber trade and an analysis of economic and market developments. He highlighted high consumption in China and uncertain trends due to lack of data. Several countries said more data is forthcoming.

Database of Statistics on Trade in Bamboo and Rattan: On Thursday, Philip Wardle and Maxim Lobovikov, International Network on Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), presented a report and a project proposal on establishing an ITTO-INBAR database on trade in bamboo and rattan (ITTC(XXXIII)/11), including recommendations to develop and strengthen national databases, and improve the coding of the Harmonized System. Several delegates highlighted the importance of continuing collaboration with INBAR. The Philippines recommended that database content reflect ITTO’s needs and users’ comments.

ITTO Annual Work Programme: On Wednesday, the Council took note of the Progress Report on the Implementation of Work Programme for the Year 2002 (ITTC(XXXII)15), without discussion.

ORGANIZATION OF WORK UNDER ITTA, 1994: On Tuesday, ITTC Chair Blaser outlined the report of the Working Group on the Organization of Work under the ITTA, 1994 (ITTC(XXXIII)/5). Under this item, the Council considered measures to reduce cost and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization, including process and schedule of Council and Committee Sessions. Several countries called for shifting to annual Council and Committee sessions. Several producer countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Peru, stressed the need to ensure that the reduction in the number of sessions does not undermine the quality of the Council work, especially as it pertains to projects.

On Friday, the drafting group considered a draft decision on measures to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the ITTO, and forwarded it for approval by the Council, with minor amendments. On Saturday, the final session of the Council adopted the decision without further amendments.

Final Decision: Under the decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/28), the ITTC, inter alia:

  • adopts the cost savings, efficiency and effectiveness measures contained in Annex I to the Decision; and the schedule for frequency and duration of Council and Committee meetings and preparatory meetings for the negotiation of a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994;
     

  • requests the Executive Director to review the servicing costs associated with Council sessions held outside headquarters with a view to reducing costs;
     

  • urges members to review the quality of all project and pre-project proposals and limit the number of proposals submitted for a single project cycle; and
     

  • encourages members to give preferential consideration to financing approved projects and pre-projects submitted by members that have fully met their financial obligations to the organization; and formulate proposals which can be implemented effectively on a regional and national basis.

Annex I to the decision contains sections on: specific cost-saving measures; measures to improve efficiency and effectiveness, including measures pertaining to the work programme and budget, project formulation, monitoring and evaluation, and streamlining the work of the committees as well as Council decision-making procedures; and measures regarding arrears to the administrative account.

Annex II contains a detailed schedule of Council sessions and ITTA renegotiation meetings, which envisions semi-annual sessions through 2005, combining two-day renegotiation meetings with short ITTC sessions in 2004 and 2005.

CIVIL SOCIETY ADVISORY GROUP DISCUSSION: The CSAG Panel discussion was held on Tuesday, at which CSAG Chair Andy White, Forest Trends, explained that the purpose of the session was to consider whether certification can be viable while guaranteeing profits for forestry. He stressed that CSAG is intended to be open and not a substitute for the TAG. Justin Stead, WWF Global Forests and Trade Network, emphasized the need for, inter alia: responsible forestry; promoting supply and demand for certified products; and training and capacity building for responsible forest management. He proposed using the idea of "transition timber" to sell timber that partly meets certification requirements.

Pablo Antelo, La Chonta, stressed the need for: cooperation with all stakeholders, including indigenous peoples; annual forest management plans; and certification processes that, inter alia, ensure profitability and protect biodiversity. He underscored that certification requires a commitment from producers and consumers.

Scott Poynton, Tropical Forest Trust (TFT), stressed the need for a step-wise partnership-based approach. Tan Chin Tong, Perak International Trade Centre, indicated that timber certification could facilitate market access, but entails costs and does not necessarily guarantee SFM. He called for ensuring accessibility of certification schemes. Antonio Uliana, Certified Forest Products Buyers Group, stressed the importance of the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) certification as a forest conservation tool, and presented the Group’s work on developing a sustainable timber market in Brazil. Parfait Esono, Cameroon, underscored the social context for certification in Africa, and called for continued ITTO and other donor support to build capacity for certification in the region.

TAG Spokesperson Barney Chan said the TAG welcomes the CSAG and certification, but requests that the TAG be given equal footing in ITTC proceedings and that ITTC follow its decision not to endorse specific certification schemes. ITTO Executive Director Sobral clarified that the scheduling of the CSAG is consistent with the Yokohama Action Plan. The US questioned the Panel’s reference to one certification scheme only and asked how to deal with the variety of certification schemes. CSAG panelists explained that they did not aim at promoting the FSC certification scheme.

Delegates discussed the desirability and feasibility of a global certification scheme. The Philippines noted that certification schemes can only succeed if supported by all, including indigenous communities. Malaysia recommended developing national schemes, and accelerating the certification of tropical forests. The Republic of Congo supported a phased approach and partnerships; and questioned whether FSC certification was appropriate for all forests. China raised concerns over certification as a trade barrier targeting developing countries’ exports. TFT explained that networks of consumers and producers would open markets. Japan said certification schemes contribute to sustainable development. Noting that certification is costly, Indonesia stressed the need for price incentives for producers.

Japan said that certification can help curb illegal logging. Indonesia supported phased certification in both producer and consumer countries, and called for consistency of national certification schemes. The US said that SFM does not require certification, and reminded delegates that ITTO should not endorse any specific certification scheme. New Zealand noted a conflict between the ITTO’s intention to facilitate certification and its reluctance to endorse any particular scheme. Switzerland and Ghana supported certification and called for partnerships between the private sector and NGOs. Malaysia called for consumer flexibility on standards and, with Mexico, supported phased approaches. The Republic of Korea cautioned against high and inflexible certification standards. The Republic of Congo opposed giving full control over certification to forest owners. The Association of Indonesian Forest Concession Holders called for compliance mechanisms.

CERTIFICATION: On Wednesday, Markku Simula (Finland) presented the Interim Report on the Potential Role of Phased Approaches to Certification (ITTC(XXXIII)/9). He emphasized that phased approaches to certification could be either demand- or supply-side driven. Simula explained three supply-side phased approaches to implementation: individual; certification-body assisted; and modular. On the demand-side, Simula outlined the purchasing policies of two large multinational retailers. He also underscored a recent G8 policy commitment towards the government procurement of forest products from "legal and sustainable sources." On the selection of SFM standards, Simula said several criteria should be considered, including market acceptance and adaptability to regional requirements. He then summarized the key issues common to all phased approaches to certification, including verification, credibility, communication, equal access, and, where applicable, harmonization of approaches.

On Thursday, the Council continued discussing certification in the context of ITTO project work. The US suggested organizing an informed discussion on certification in the context of ITTO project work. ITTC Chair Blaser proposed, and delegates agreed, to consider the proposal at ITTC-34. Peru suggested using a disclaimer specifying that ITTO does not endorse any particular certification scheme when funding certification projects. Canada underscored the need for mutual recognition, and transparent, non-discriminatory certification schemes that support broad environmental goals. No decision was taken on this item.

PROGRESS TOWARDS OBJECTIVE 2002 AND SFM: ITTO Objective 2000: On Wednesday, the Council considered progress towards achieving Objective 2000 and assistance provided to producer countries in this regard. Markku Simula, Finland, reported on achieving SFM in Brazil (ITTC(XXXIII)/17). Brazil commented that economic incentives are essential for promoting SFM, and highlighted tax reform and a domestic credit system to promote forest rehabilitation. Paul Vantomme, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented a report on an ITTO Mission in support of the Central African Republic towards ITTO Objective 2000 and SFM (ITTC(XXXIII)/18), highlighting recommendations on institutional strengthening, local communities’ involvement and education, and regional cooperation. ITTC Chair Blaser called for further research on factors limiting progress towards Objective 2000 and SFM, and urged the submission of national reports on this matter. No decision was taken.

Promotion of Sustainable Forest Management in the Congo Basin: Henri Djombo, Minister of the Economy, Forestry and the Environment for the Republic of Congo, presented the WSSD Type II Partnership on the Congo Basin; announced plans to develop a Pan-African certification system; and recommended an international consensus on a phased approach to certification. The Council also considered an overview of the Congo Basin Partnership (ITTC(XXXIII)/13) and the terms of reference and budget for the review and assessment of experiences in forest management partnerships in the Congo Basin (ITTC(XXXIII)/14). The Secretariat then reported on a regional strategy to improve concessions management, based on participatory management schemes and networks of forestry training agencies. No decision was taken on this matter.

Partnerships for SFM: Delegates discussed a draft decision on private/public partnerships for SFM during a drafting group session on Friday. They agreed to balance the urgent need for actions with concerns about the lack of guidance on ITTO’s role in partnerships. The final session of the Council adopted the decision without amendments. Voluntary contributions to meet financial cost of implementing the decision were pledged by Japan for US$115,000, Switzerland for US$70,000 and the US for US$5,000.

Final Decision: In its decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/26), the ITTC:

  • commits to civil society/private sector partnerships with a view to promoting SFM and certification;
     

  • requests the Executive Director to, inter alia: convene a working group to provide guidance for ITTO’s support of these partnerships; and facilitate the development of partnerships with financial assistance of up to US$50,000 in each of the three producer regions;
     

  • invites the CSAG and TAG to share views to this end; and
     

  • decides to review the guidance provided by the working group and the report of the CSAG/TAG joint meeting at the ITTC-34.

The decision also includes preliminary terms of reference for the working group, and an annex with the budget for conducting the CSAG/TAG meeting.

FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AFRICA: On Wednesday, delegates reviewed progress regarding forest law enforcement in Africa. Dirk Bryant, Global Forest Watch, reported on a data collection initiative in the Congo Basin, and overviewed the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems to monitor forest concessions, promote transparency and strengthen the information base for SFM. Minister Djombo, the Republic of Congo, introduced a document on a data collection initiative in the Congo Basin (ITTC(XXXIII)/12), stressing that many African countries lack the means to implement and enforce forest law. He said the goals of the African Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) process include fostering political will to strengthen law enforcement and promoting cooperation. He said the upcoming AFLEG ministerial meeting will negotiate an action plan and a political declaration, and expressed hope that international and intra-African trade of forest products will promote SFM. The World Bank outlined the history of the FLEG process in Asia and Africa, and plans for similar processes in other regions. No decision was taken on this item.

FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE TIMBER PRODUCTION AND TRADE: Delegates considered forest law enforcement in the context of sustainable timber production and trade on Thursday. No decision was taken on this matter.

Assessing Export and Import Data: The Secretariat introduced a progress report on a case study to assess export and import data on tropical timber and tropical timber products (ITTC(XXXIII)/7), noting slow progress, a low level of interest from countries, and data discrepancies between consumer and producer countries. Several countries expressed commitment to facilitating the case study. The EC stressed that EC statistics no longer take into account intra-community trade. Japan called for cooperation between exporters and importers in fighting illegal logging, and studying the causes of data discrepancies. The Philippines said data discrepancies may be reduced when value-added products are taken into account. On issues affecting market access, Antti Rytkönen, Finland, introduced a report (ITTC(XXXIII)/8), highlighting tariff and non-tariff measures, subsidies and export regulation, the international trade regime, multilateral environmental agreements, government procurement, and certification as potential trade barriers. He recommended, inter alia: compiling and analyzing trade data; monitoring tariff and non-tariff barriers; addressing illegal trade; promoting criteria and indicators (C&I); filling gaps in market access knowledge; increasing competitiveness through sustainable forestry practices; providing incentives for SFM; harmonizing import requirements and verification systems; reporting trade barriers to ITTO; and coordinating rules on public procurement.

Brazil, supported by Côte d’Ivoire and Switzerland, said market access should be revisited at ITTC-34. The US stressed the relevance of market access to ITTA renegotiations, differentiated market access and performance, and called for identifying possible government actions. Japan recommended labeling and rules of origin to curb illegal logging. Malaysia stressed that substitute materials threaten the tropical timber trade. China said value-added products should be accounted for in future studies and, with the EC and New Zealand, said the ITTO could contribute to market access elements of the World Trade Organization Doha process.

Enhancing Forest Law Enforcement: The US commended Peru for participating in an illegal logging case study, and said such studies would be useful to the AFLEG process. The Republic of Congo said it was addressing illegal logging, while the EC said it was considering addressing illegal logging through bilateral agreements. Indonesia suggested that the ITTO consider supporting multilateral, regional and bilateral initiatives on illegal logging. The Democratic Republic of Congo recommended that the ITTO address trade in conflict timber.

MATTERS RELATING TO ARTICLE 46 OF THE ITTA, 1994: New and Emerging Issues: On Wednesday, Rubin Guevara-Moncada, Honduras, presented a report on new and emerging issues of relevance to the ITTC and a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994 (ITTC(XXXIII)/6), highlighting: demand for timber from legal and sustainable sources; South-South trade; foreign direct investment in the South; interest in non-timber forest products and environmental services; and genetically modified organisms and invasive species. Regarding a new ITTA, Guevara-Moncada said members should consider, inter alia, the implications of including high value-added products and environmental services within the scope of the new agreement, and consolidating ITTO’s objectives.

The Philippines, Ghana and the EC expressed concern with expanding ITTA’s scope. The Republic of Korea requested that the ITTO’s future be decided by consensus. Malaysia recommended that the ITTO remain a commodity organization and stressed the need for market access. New Zealand underscored the importance of, inter alia, C&I for SFM, certification, UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism reforestation initiatives, and complementarities between timber and non-timber forest products. The EC recommended that poverty alleviation be a central goal of the new ITTA. Papua New Guinea and Ghana highlighted the importance of forest products for poverty alleviation, with Papua New Guinea recommending that SFM remain a core ITTO objective. Switzerland stressed the need for compliance and enforcement mechanisms. No decision was taken on this report.

Extension of ITTA, 1994: The drafting group discussed the draft decision on extension of ITTA, 1994 on Friday. They agreed to forward it to the Council for approval, with minor amendments. The final session of the Council adopted the decision without amendments.

Final Decision: The decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/30), extends ITTA, 1994 for an additional three years, from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2006.

Process and Schedule for the Renegotiations: On Wednesday, delegates considered recommendations from the IAG on a process and schedule for Council sessions and ITTA renegotiations (ITTC(XXXII)/2 Annex). Japan, supported by New Zealand, the EC and Brazil, called for completing negotiations by 2005. The Consumer Group and the Philippines recommended informal joint consumer/producer meetings prior to ITTC-34. The US suggested, inter alia, preliminary processes to seek members’ views on the ITTA scope and text. Switzerland suggested that negotiations be co-chaired by representatives from consumer and producer countries.

On Friday, the drafting group discussed a draft decision on the matter. Delegates added language on requesting: members’ comments on the draft report on new and emerging issues; and the ITTO Executive Director to authorize consultants to revise the report according to Council discussions and comments, and consult with UNCTAD. One member said the decision should encourage members to consult domestically with interested NGOs. Delegates agreed to encourage stakeholder consultations.

Delegates also discussed the content and format of a proposed survey for the renegotiations of the ITTA, 1994. They agreed that the survey should contain questions on: the general overview of the ITTA, 1994; new and emerging issues and implications for a future agreement; institutional and organizational issues; funding mechanisms; and other issues. Delegates added a chapeau clarifying that responses to the survey should aim at identifying problems and challenges and ways to address them in a new Agreement.

On the proposed working group on renegotiation issues, delegates addressed a proposed budget for the working group and the renegotiation process, and how to present relevant financial figures in an annex to the decision. Delegates added language authorizing the ITTO Executive Director to seek voluntary contributions from countries to fund the cost of meetings of the Working Group on Organization of Work under the ITTA, 1994, and the First Preparatory Committee for negotiating a successor agreement as well as other renegotiation expenses, including financial assistance to producing members for attendance. They also agreed that, if sufficient funds are not received by 15 January 2003, the Executive Director would be requested to use funds from the Working Capital Account.

Regarding chairmanship of the renegotiation process, delegates debated two options. Consumer countries favored producer and consumer members co-chairing, stressing that continued leadership, shared responsibilities and equal rights of both caucuses are key to successful renegotiations. Producers favored alternating Chairs from producer and consumer countries at each session, with a producer member chairing the final renegotiations. A compromise option to alternate Chairs and Vice-Chairs from producer and consumer countries every two sessions was agreed on, with the understanding that the continuity of leadership, effective participation of the Vice-Chair, and coordination and collaboration between the Vice-Chair and the Chair will be ensured.

On Saturday, the final session of the Council adopted the decision without amendments, with the understanding that the compromise reached during drafting group discussions would be referenced in the meeting’s report.

Final Decision: The decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/29), inter alia:

  • adopts the schedule for the Preparatory Committee meetings and renegotiations on a successor agreement annexed to the decision.
     

  • specifies that the renegotiation will commence immediately following ITTC-34 in Panama;
     

  • requests members to submit comments on document ITTC(XXXIII)/6 to the Secretariat no later than 15 January 2003; and
     

  • requests the Executive Director to consult with UNCTAD, convene a working group to identify issues to be addressed in the Successor Agreement, analyze potential changes to the ITTA, determine implications of these changes, and prepare a report on the results of its analysis for consideration by PrepCom I.

The decision contains four annexes on: a calendar for the renegotiation process, specifying that the renegotiations will start in May 2003, following ITTC-34, and that all renegotiation sessions will be held immediately following each Council sessions until either December 2004 or January 2005; a survey on issues associated with the renegotiation process; a budget for the preparatory working group; and a budget for meetings related to the renegotiation process.

CITES LISTING PROPOSALS: During the final Council session on Saturday, ITTO Executive Director Sobral noted that the ITTO Secretariat had received notification from the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) that Nicaragua and Guatemala had submitted proposals to list mahogany in Appendix II of CITES. He said Guatemala had not informed the ITTC of this proposal and, with ITTC Chair Blaser, reminded delegates of ITTO rules requiring members to inform the organization on any proposal for CITES listing. Colombia questioned the information basis for Nicaragua and Guatemala’s CITES proposal, noting that there is insufficient data on mahogany populations and trade. He proposed sending an ITTO representative to the CITES working group on mahogany. Japan said that scientific information is required to avoid the unnecessary regulation of species. The US noted that the proposals had not been considered by the CITES working group on mahogany, and stressed the need to continue bringing forestry expertise to CITES decisions. Indonesia and the EC favored listing mahogany, highlighting its unsustainable use. Brazil, the US and Peru opposed substantive discussions on the matter, noting that CITES is the proper forum for discussing the merits of the proposal. Guatemala apologized for not having reported its CITES proposal to ITTO. No decision was taken on this item.

THE ROLE OF ITTO IN INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND FORA: On Thursday, delegates considered a progress report on measures to ensure effective ITTO involvement in international and regional organizations and fora (ITTC(XXXIII)/10), and encouraged further activities to this end.

Gabon and the Republic of Congo called for ITTO support to address barriers to trade resulting from other international agreements. The African Timber Organization (ATO) outlined its activities on SFM, and expressed commitment to collaboration with the ITTO. The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) suggested considering synergies between ITTO and UNFF while renegotiating the ITTA. The World Bank presented its new Forest Policy and Strategy, including targeted conservation priorities and a country-ownership approach, and welcomed collaboration with the ITTO. The FAO described progress on harmonizing forest definitions, and relevant recommendations to adjust definitions used by the ITTO. IUCN said that ITTO restoration guidelines enhance ITTO’s role in international fora. WWF commended ITTO’s work on forest restoration, certification and SFM, and expressed its readiness for collaboration. Conservation International presented its work on conservation concessions, a mechanism to financially compensate forest owners and users in exchange for conservation. The FSC stressed the need for SFM market incentives, international certification standards, and partnerships that do not endorse specific schemes. The United Nations University invited the ITTO to collaborate on research and projects on mangrove forest protection, and conservation. The International Trade Centre encouraged the ITTO to collaborate in its bio-trade programme. No decision was taken on this item.

WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2003: On Tuesday, ITTO Executive Director Sobral introduced the Draft Programme of Work for 2003 (ITTC(XXXIII)/16). The final session of the Council adopted a decision on the 2003 Work Programme, with ITTC Chair Blaser informing delegates of ongoing revisions to the draft programme to incorporate new activities, without deletions from the current version. The US stressed the need for greater ITTO support for improving statistical reporting. The EC suggested improving information sharing between the ITTO and the European Statistical Office. ITTC Chair Blaser said the finalized 2003 Work Programme will be to the meeting’s report.

Final Decision: The decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/24) endorses the 2003 Work Programme and requests the Executive Director to report to the Council at its thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth sessions on progress in implementing the programme. The Draft Work Programme contains sections on administrative activities, project activities, strategic policy activities, activities relevant to the Committees, activities specific to each Committee, and activities to be carried out by the Secretariat.

Administrative activities include:

  • holding two regular sessions in Panama City and Yokohama;
     

  • considering the results of the work of the CFA on arrears in contributions to the Administrative Account, and, if appropriate, taking follow-up action; and
     

  • reviewing progress in implementing the 2003 Work Programme.

Project activities include: deciding the eligibility of approved actions, projects and pre-projects for funding out of sub-accounts A and B of the Bali Partnership Fund; and deciding on project work including financing, taking into account Committee recommendations.

Strategic activities include:

  • deciding on the type and format of information that members should provide on timber, trade and activities toward sustainable management of timber producing resources;
     

  • promoting an exchange of views among members regarding sustainable management of timber producing forests;
     

  • considering the results of: national training workshops on the application of criteria and indicators for SFM; assistance to producer countries for establishing forest auditing systems; cooperation with the FAO on an international conference on C&I; a study on timber export and import data and studies on forest law enforcement issues; and six regional workshops on the promotion of ITTO guidelines on restoration, management and rehabilitation on degraded forests;
     

  • continuing monitoring prevention and management of forest fires;
     

  • reviewing progress in: implementation of the Yokohama Action Plan; promoting understanding and use of ITTO guidelines on restoration of degraded forests; cooperation with IUCN; implementation of the WSSD Type II Initiative on the Congo Basin; and
     

  • considering advice from the TAG and the CSAG.

Activities relevant to the Committees include: appraising project and pre-project proposals; reviewing the results of project work; and considering and, if appropriate, disseminating information on project findings.

Activities to be carried out by the Secretariat include:

  • statistical work and preparation of an Annual Review and Assessment of the International Timber Situation;
     

  • engaging consultants to assist in preparing the report on the "Status of Tropical Forest Management";
     

  • implementing the ITTO Fellowship Programme and the Information Network;
     

  • encouraging participation of non-governmental stakeholders, including industry and trade associations, environmental organizations and indigenous groups;
     

  • deepening cooperation with the IUCN in the formulation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and co-financing of ITTO projects, pre-projects and activities;
     

  • assisting producer countries in identifying factors impeding progress towards achieving Objective 2000 and SFM;
     

  • arranging training workshops on criteria and indicators in ten producing countries;
     

  • holding subregional workshops to promote the ITTO guidelines on restoration; and
     

  • organizing a workshop to develop a research programme on the social, economic and environmental aspects of tropical forest management and trade.

JOINT COMMITTEE SESSIONS

A Joint Committee met on Monday, and a Joint CEM/CFI Committee convened on Wednesday.

REPORT OF THE EXPERT PANEL ON TECHNICAL APPRAISAL OF PROJECT PROPOSALS: On Monday, the Joint Committee considered the report of the 24th Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals (CEM, CRF, CFI(XXXI)/ 1). The report reiterated general recommendations for improving project proposals provided by the 23rd Expert Panel, and recommended, inter alia: revising the manual for project implementation; better relating project proposals to the ITTO policy framework; and prioritizing proposals if more than one is submitted. The US suggested that consumer and producer countries co-develop proposals. New Zealand suggested that the Council help countries prepare proposals.

POLICY WORK: On Wednesday, the Joint CEM/CFI Committee discussed policy work on market access, wooden furniture markets, technical and environmental standards, international standard activities, and product market portals. Delegates discussed a consultant report on market access for tropical timber (ITTC(XXXIII)/8). The Committees then heard a report on analysis of the international wooden furniture market (CFI(XXXIII)/5), which provided a number of recommendations on increasing the competitiveness of tropical timber, and a presentation on the International Trade Centre’s new web-based tool for product market analysis. The Committee then discussed an information paper on activities on international technical and environmental standards, which addressed the work programme of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committees and importance of ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 standards to forest industry. The Philippines supported continuing work on this issue, and Ghana stressed the need for harmonizing existing standards.

COMMITTEE ON REFORESTATION AND FOREST MANAGEMENT

The CRF, chaired by Angela Andrade Pérez (Colombia) met on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to consider completed, ongoing, and proposed projects and pre-projects, and to discuss policy work. On Monday, delegates adopted the Committee’ agenda (CRF(XXXI)/1), and admitted observers.

COMPLETED PROJECTS: Delegates heard presentations and reviewed a report on completed projects and pre-projects in the field of reforestation and forest management (CRF(XXXI)/3). The Committee discussed problems regarding financial reports, including unaccounted funds and lack of submission of reports. Colombia presented a report on a project on C&I for SFM, and stressed the need for information, financial resources, capacity building, SFM plans, and rules and regulations. She recommended, inter alia: keeping C&I flexible; taking into account economic and cultural factors; evaluating changes in biodiversity and developing national biodiversity strategies; and allowing sufficient time before evaluating implementation. Malaysia reported on a project regarding SFM cost analysis, and provided data on additional costs associated with SFM. The Philippines questioned the need for compensation for financial losses from SFM, stressing benefits from it. The Committee considered as completed a SFM project in Bolivia and a pre-project on a forest research base for SFM in Cambodia. The Philippines requested the Secretariat to transfer remaining funds from one of its projects to the local community involved. The Secretariat requested further information and audit reports on projects on: silviculture and forest management in Ghana; reforestation by indigenous communities in Ghana; and forest management in Cameroon. Côte d’Ivoire, Panama and Papua New Guinea requested, and delegates granted, extensions on projects in these countries. The US welcomed Peru’s legal proceedings to investigate unaccounted funds regarding one of its projects.

EX-POST EVALUATIONS: The Secretariat reported on progress in implementing ex-post evaluations, and noted the Expert Panel’s recommendation to revise the ITTO project formulation and monitoring manuals. The US and the Netherlands supported the idea and called for strengthening ex-post evaluations. The Committee decided to recommend to the Council revising the ITTO manuals for project review and evaluation and including the measure in the draft decision on improving the effectiveness of the organization.

PROJECT AND PRE-PROJECT WORK IN PROGRESS: On projects and pre-projects under implementation (CRF(XXXI)/ 4), the CRF considered projects and pre-projects that have implementation problems, require additional funds and request time extension or major modifications of their work plan and budget. The Committee, inter alia:

  • approved time extensions of, and the use of unspent funds for, projects on SFM and human resources development in Indonesia;
     

  • considered a project on developing a forest management plan in Congo;
     

  • established a working group including donors’ representatives to address delays and improper implementation of a project on SFM in Panama;
     

  • granted time extensions for projects supporting the development of a forestry and wildlife law in Peru, and education and training for SFM in Fiji; and
     

  • considered progress in submitting reports on the projects on timber plantations in Togo, management standards in Malaysia, and conservation and maintenance of tropical forests biodiversity in the Philippines and Senegal.

The Secretariat requested financial and progress reports from Brazil, Cambodia, and Thailand on projects and pre-projects awaiting implementation agreements. Several countries reported readiness to begin implementation on a number of projects and pre-projects, including, inter alia, on demonstration plantations and collaborative forest management in Indonesia, and on the development of land for forest management in Congo. The US announced that informal consultations had led to termination of a SFM project in Panama. The Committee extended a project on forest fire management in Côte d’Ivoire.

PROJECT AND PRE-PROJECT PROPOSALS: The Committee approved a number of project and pre-project proposals, on, inter alia: partnerships for SFM in Thailand, integrating strategies in Peru, and remote-sensing technology in Congo. It requested the revision of a project proposal on mangrove rehabilitation in Ecuador and a pre-project proposal on seed management in Côte d’Ivoire. Peru informed delegates of budget reductions in a project proposal on promotion and transfer of knowledge on SFM models. Côte d’Ivoire inquired about budget decisions for a project on a permanent network of stands dynamics monitoring in plantations. The Secretariat clarified that funding would be considered before the end of the session.

POLICY WORK: The CRF considered proposed policy activities, including organizing workshops on promoting reforestation guidelines. The Secretariat noted that the ITTO may advocate restoration of degraded forests in UNFCCC negotiations on the Clean Development Mechanism. The Committee heard reports on ITTO workshops on C&I for SFM in Congo, the Philippines, Côte d’Ivoire, and Vanuatu, and approved the Secretariat’s suggestion to postpone discussion on revising ITTO C&I for SFM until the completion of the workshops programme.

Forest Fires: Regarding prevention and management of forest fires, delegates heard presentations on: current efforts in tropical countries and options for ITTO projects on forest fire management; the upcoming International Wildland Fire Conference and Wildland Fire Summit; and cooperation between the ITTO and the Global Fire Monitoring Centre. The US called for addressing the underlying socio-cultural causes of forest fires, said forest fire management is an essential SFM tool and, with the Philippines, emphasized the need for community-based approaches to it. The EC stressed the need for a holistic approach to land-use planning. The Secretariat introduced, and delegates supported, a draft decision on forest fires including provisions on assistance to producer countries to evaluate management solutions and develop project and pre-project proposals. Cameroon and other African countries stressed the need for awareness raising programmes.

The final session of the Council adopted a decision on the prevention and management of forest fires, without amendments. ITTC Chair Blaser indicated that Japan will provide the entire budget of US$277,000.

Final Decision: The decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/27) agrees to:

  • assist producer countries in evaluating their forest fire prevention and management situations;
     

  • co-sponsor the International Wildland Fire Conference in Sydney in October 2003;
     

  • encourage collaboration and information sharing with the Global Fire Management Centre from member countries; and
     

  • authorize the ITTO Executive Director to seek voluntary contributions from member countries.

The decision contains two annexes containing terms of reference for assistance to member countries and a budget.

Demonstration Areas: The Secretariat suggested, and the CRF approved, preparing a proposal for a workshop to develop conceptual and operational frameworks on demonstration areas for sustainably managed production forests. Cameroon offered to host the workshop, and Vanuatu suggested a follow-up study of workshop results. The Netherlands and Papua New Guinea proposed including certified forests as demonstration areas. No separate decision was taken on this item.

2003 WORK PROGRAMME: The CRF considered a draft work programme for 2003 (ITTC(XXXIII)/16) and approved a number of activities including: monitoring implementation of C&I and the political implications of climate change policy developments; co-sponsoring a regional workshop on the conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable management of mangroves; and assessing the environmental, social and economic costs and benefits of plantation development. The Work Programme was adopted by the final Council session as part of the 2003 ITTO Work Programme (ITTC(XXXIII)/24).

ELECTION OF OFFICERS: The Committee elected Henri-Félix-Maître (France) as CRF Chair and A.S.K. Boachie-Dapaah (Ghana) as CRF Vice-Chair for 2003.

DATES AND VENUES: Delegates agreed that the dates and venues of the next CRF sessions will coincide with the next Council sessions.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT: The CRF adopted its report (CRF(XXXI)/7) without amendments. The report contains an Appendix on the Technical Assessment of Project Proposals.

COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC INFORMATION AND MARKET INTELLIGENCE

The CEM, chaired by Astrid Bergquist (Sweden) met on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and jointly with the CFI on Monday and Wednesday. On Monday, Chair Bergquist introduced, and delegates adopted, the agenda (CEM(XXXI)/1) and organization of work, and admitted observers.

EX-POST EVALUATION: Jorge Maluenda (Sweden) introduced the Ex-Post Evaluation Report (CEM(XXXI)/3) including four projects and one pre-project that helped establish national forestry statistics systems in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Panama. He noted that, despite a few minor problems, each project and pre-project has resulted in national-level forestry statistics infrastructures and contributed to the long-term development of forestry in these countries. Regarding the proposal for a structured approach to selecting completed projects for ex-post evaluation (CEM(XXXI)/ 4), Chair Bergquist recommended, and the CEM agreed, to defer this item to ITTC-34.

PROJECTS, PRE-PROJECTS, AND ACTIVITIES IN PROGRESS: On the review of projects, pre-projects and activities in progress (CEM(XXXI)/5), the CEM agreed to continue funding a project on the market information service for tropical timber and timber products and allow training workshops on tropical forestry and timber trade statistics to apply CEM’s balance to future training workshops in conjunction with the FAO. The Committee, inter alia: considered problems in implementing projects on a forest strategic information center in Peru, establishment of a national forest and marketing statistics system in Ecuador, and on economic appraisal of Colombian flora; and approved extension of projects on a national statistic system in Egypt, an educational programme in Ghana, research on value accounting of forest resources in China, and marketing data collection and dissemination in Cameroon.

PROJECT AND PRE-PROJECT PROPOSALS: Chair Bergquist introduced a report on project and pre-project proposals (CEM(XXXI)/6). The CEM recommended for approval by the Council a project proposal from Togo on a national system of data collection, and pre-projects from Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo on statistics systems. China withdrew its project proposal on pilot information systems. Thailand agreed to revise its pre-project proposal on decision-support tools, and resubmit it as a project proposal. The Committee also approved: project proposals from Guatemala on the promotion of trade in certified timber, from Thailand on developing decision support tools, and from Indonesia on consolidating SFM certification; and a pre-project proposal from Panama on technical assistance for national certification procedures. The US expressed reservations regarding the Indonesian project proposal.

POLICY WORK: The CEM agreed to consider market access and activities to fill gaps in data in a joint session with the CFI. It heard a presentation on life cycle analysis in Ghana and noted Guatemala’s intent to add two tropical tree species to CITES. Susan Braatz, UNFF, outlined work on SFM, trade and illegal logging prevention, and encouraged the ITTO to participate in UNFF’s trade-related activities. The Secretariat provided an overview of activities of the Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Forest Statistics, and reviewed relevant elements of the 2002 work programme (ITTC(XXXIII)/15) and the draft work program for 2003 (ITTC(XXXIII)/16).

ELECTION OF CHAIRMANSHIP FOR 2003: The Committee elected Dr. Gilbert Kaya (Republic of Congo) as CEM Chair and Yeo-Chang Youn (Republic of Korea) as Vice-Chair for 2003.

DATES AND VENUE: The Committee agreed that the next three CEM sessions be convened alongside the 34th, 35th and 36th sessions of the ITTC, respectively.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT: On Friday, the Committee considered its draft report to the ITTC (CEM(XXXI)/7). Barney Chan, TAG Spokesperson, highlighted that Guatemala’s notification to the CITES list came as a surprise to his group; and TAG’s topic for ITTC-34 market discussion will be World Trade and Business Developments. He then welcomed the CSAG, noting that a more balanced discussion on certification was warranted. The Secretariat then noted a decision taken by the open-ended drafting group to combine the work of the CEM and CFI in joint sessions for ITTC-34. The Committee adopted its report, which contains three appendices on: the technical assessment of relevant projects and pre-projects; a 2003 work programme, including activities on, inter alia, raising awareness on progress made in implementing SFM and increased availability of tropical timber from sustainably managed sources, life-cycle analysis, the annual market discussion, and undertaking studies on the medium and long term; and a statement by the TAG.

COMMITTEE ON FOREST INDUSTRY

The Committee, chaired by CFI Vice-Chair Fidel Reyes Lee (Guatemala), met in five sessions from Monday to Friday, including a joint CEM/CFI session on Wednesday. On Monday, the Committee approved its provisional agenda (CFI(XXXI)/1), admitted observers, and reviewed the report on completed projects and pre-projects (CFI(XXXI)/3).

COMPLETED PROJECTS AND PRE-PROJECTS: The Committee considered a project on Myanmar’s lesser-known timber species and a pre-project on the Ecuadorian tropical timber industry environmental management as completed.

EX-POST EVALUATION: The Secretariat outlined progress in evaluating a project on tropical non-wood forest products in the Philippines. The Secretariat explained that key criteria for selecting projects for evaluation are the budget and duration of the project. No projects were selected for evaluation by the Committee. Delegates also approved the US recommendation that the Secretariat prepare a document on lessons learned from ex-post evaluation missions, to be discussed at a Joint Session of the Committee.

PROJECT WORK IN PROGRESS: The Committee considered project work in progress (CFI(XXXI)/4), including projects under implementation and projects awaiting implementation agreements, as well as a project falling under sunset provisions, and discussed projects and pre-projects that experience implementation problems. The Committee recommended the dissemination of the proceedings of the Conference on Tropical Timber, implemented under the project on technical assistance in Brazil.

PROJECT AND PRE-PROJECT PROPOSALS: The Committee evaluated project and pre-project proposals submitted for final appraisal (CFI(XXXI)/2). With necessary clarifications and revisions, particularly, on project and pre-project proposals from China and Ghana, the Committee recommended for implementation and immediate financing eleven projects and pre-projects, and agreed that the project on utilization of waste in Côte d’Ivoire will be revised and resubmitted to the next CFI session.

PROJECT IDEAS: The Committee also considered a document on project ideas (CFI(XXXI)/6). Switzerland recommended further consideration of Ghana’s project idea on composting waste. The US stressed the need to ensure the consistency of project ideas with ITTO’s mandate.

POLICY WORK: The Committee discussed efforts to prepare an assessment of the benefits of tropical timber processing in producer countries. On increasing utilization efficiency and the reduction of losses and waste throughout the production chain, the Committee noted that implementation of a relevant project in South Pacific is envisioned in 2003, and discussed the Secretariat’s proposal for a general study to compile and disseminate information on the utilization of logging residues and wood waste. The Philippines recommended analyzing economic aspects of waste utilization and, with the US, the impact of increased demand for waste products on the sustainability of forest use. Malaysia suggested discussing the availability of waste.

DATES AND VENUES OF FUTURE SESSIONS: The Committee agreed that the dates and venues of its 32nd, 33rd and 34th sessions will be determined according to the dates and venues of the Council.

ELECTION OF OFFICERS FOR 2003: The Committee elected former Vice-Chair Fidel Reyes Lee (Guatemala) as CFI Chair and Astrid Bergquist (Sweden) as Vice-Chair for 2003.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT: The Committee then adopted its draft report (CFI(XXXI)/7) and recommendations to the ITTC, namely to: approve the implementation of four project and seven pre-project proposals; urge member countries to finance five projects and pre-projects still pending funding; and grant a one-year extension to a project on an ITTO information network. The CFI work programme for 2003 is included on the Organization’s 2003 Work Programme, adopted by the final session of the Council (ITTTC(XXXIII)/16). Activities related to the CFI include: consideration of benefits of a pre-project study to assist the consideration of the benefits of the downstream processing; and discussion on terms of reference and budget and possible approval of a pre-project study on developing, publication and disseminating information on increasing timber processing and utilization efficiency and reducing waste.

COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION

The CFA, chaired by Pravit Chittachumnonk (Thailand) on behalf of Kayako Fukushima (Japan) met on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Monday, delegates adopted the Committee’s agenda (CFA(XII)/1), and admitted observers.

REVIEW OF CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET: Delegates considered the contributions to the administrative budget (CFA(XII)/3). They took note of requests by Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Republic of Congo that the recent payment of their arrears for 2002 be taken into account. The Secretariat introduced a draft decision on members’ arrears to the administrative budget (ITTC(XXXIII)/5). The EC welcomed a proposed refusal to finance projects from countries that have cumulative arrears in excess of three times their annual contribution in the year proposals are submitted, and on writing off one-fifth of the arrears for the period 1986-1996 if members have no arrears regarding their 2002 obligations, but requested that the impact of this rule on the Organization’s work be evaluated. Cameroon favored writing off one-fifth of the arrears. The decision on measures to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Organization (ITTC(XXXIII)/28) adopted by the final session of the Council retains both options.

CURRENT STATUS OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACCOUNT: Delegates considered the current status of the Administrative Account (CFA(XII)/4), with the US seeking clarification on an expected deficit of US$328,191 for 2002. The Secretariat explained that the deficit was based on an anticipated lack of contributions.

SPECIAL ACCOUNT AND BALI PARTNERSHIP FUND: The Secretariat introduced, and delegates took note of, the document on resources of the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund (CFA(XII)/5).

APPOINTMENT OF AUDITORS: On the review of appointment of auditors for 2002 (CFA(XII)/6), delegates agreed to re-appoint the current auditor. Cameroon noted that some countries do not have the means to run annual audits. The US questioned whether the issue fell within the CFA’s mandate, and delegates agreed to refer it to the Council and the Bureau.

DRAFT ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET FOR 2003: The Secretariat noted a 11.4% total increase for 2003 in the draft budget for 2003 and highlighted two proposed new Secretariat posts (CFA(XII)/2 and 2/Amend.1). Japan opposed any budget increase. Noting that the proposed increase was too high, the US suggested funding new staff positions by charges added to specific project costs. The EC suggested synergies with other organizations through joint projects. ITTO Executive Secretary Sobral emphasized that the current Secretariat structure prevents the necessary systematization of project evaluations. Noting an increased workload, Malaysia stressed the need to provide incentives for staff productivity and efficiency. Indonesia raised concerns over its increased contributions, noting that its timber production has been decreasing. The Secretariat introduced a revised draft administrative budget for 2003 (CFA(XII)/2/Amend.2) providing for a 3.58% budget increase and excluding the proposed staff posts. Japan raised concerns over a 5.35% increase in Secretariat staff salaries. Malaysia noted that the increase was the lowest possible. The EC and Brazil cautioned against over-cuts in the budget that may undermine ITTO’s efficiency. The Committee approved the 3.58% increase, for a final budget of US$4,633,195.

MANAGEMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET FOR 2002: Delegates approved to forward to the Council a draft decision on the administrative budget (ITTC(XXXIII)).

Final Decision: The decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/23), inter alia, notes with concerns the insufficient receipts of members’ contributions to date and recognizes that the receipts of contributions from members to the Administrative Budget for the remainder of 2002 might fall short of the estimated total expenditures. The Council decides to:

  • authorize the Executive Director to transfer up to US$300,000 from the Working Capital Account to the current Account in the Administrative Account, to meet the shortfall of funds to implement the 2002 work programme;
     

  • request members to pay as early as possible and in full their contributions to the Administrative Budget for 2002, as well as arrears in contributions from previous years; and
     

  • urge the Secretariat to continue to look for and undertake as appropriate cost saving measures to reduce further the expenditures to the Administrative Budget for 2002.

The decision was adopted without amendments by the final session of the Council.

DRAFT REPORT: Delegates approved the report of the Committee (CFA(XII)/7), including an annex on the CFA 2003 work programme, with minor corrections. The CFA 2003 work programme was adopted as part of the Council’s work programme, adopted by the final session of the Council (ITTC(XXXIII)/16). The 2003 work programme requires the CFA to:

  • review the independent audited statement for the 2002 financial year;
     

  • make recommendations to the Executive Director on the re-engagement of auditors for the 2003 financial year;
     

  • examine and make recommendations to the Council regarding the approval of the ITTO’s administrative budget proposals for 2004;
     

  • review the assets of the organization to ensure prudent asset management and that the organization has sufficient reserves to carry out its work; and
     

  • examine and make recommendations to the Council on the budgetary implications for the ITTO annual work programme, and possible actions to secure the resources needed to implement it.

CLOSING SESSION

ITTC Chair Blaser opened the final session of the Council on Saturday morning, 9 November.

REPORT OF THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE: Christopher Ellis (US) presented the report of the Credentials Committee (ITTC(XXXIII)/3), noting acceptance of the credentials of 46 countries and the EC.

SPECIAL ACCOUNT AND BALI PARTNERSHIP FUND: ITTC Chair Blaser invited delegations to announce new contributions to the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund. No such announcements were made. CFA Vice-Chair Chittachumnonk introduced the report of the Panel on Sub-account B of the Bali Partnership Fund (ITTC(XXXIII)/19/Amend.1). He noted 25 activities, five pre-project and four project proposals totaling US$8.9 million, but said that the Fund’s current resources amount to US$2.16 million. He listed Panel recommendations to fund the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal with US$23,000, the ITTO information network with US$315,895, proliferation of market information with US$290,000, and promotion of SFM in the Congo Basin with US$96,000.

The US expressed concern with the future of the Fund. Ecuador called for increased contributions and thanked the Japanese Government for its financial support. Japan pledged funding for projects, including US$216,0000 for the ITTO information network and US$213,000 for public relations.

ITTO FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME: ITTC Vice-Chair Freezailah summarized the Progress Report on the ITTO Fellowship Programme (Freezailah Fellowship Fund) (ITTC(XXXIII)/ 20) and the ITTO Fellowship Selection Panel Report (ITTC(XXXIII)/21), highlighting that 28 proposals had been approved.

REPORTS OF THE ASSOCIATED COMMITTEES: The Council approved the reports of the CEM (CEM(XXXI)/7); the CRF (CFR(XXXI)/7); the CFI (CFI(XXXI)/7); and the CFA (CFA(XII)/7/Rev.1).

DATES AND VENUES OF FUTURE SESSIONS: Chair Blaser reconfirmed that: ITTC-34 will convene in Panama City, Panama, from 12-17 May 2003, ITTC-35 in Yokohama, Japan, from 3-8 November 2003, and ITTC-36 in Geneva, Switzerland in 2004, pending confirmation. He also noted that ITTC-37 and ITTC-38 are tentatively scheduled to convene in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo, and Yokohama, Japan, respectively.

ELECTIONS OF COUNCIL CHAIRMANSHIP: The Council elected by acclamation Bin Che Yeom Freezailah (Malaysia) as ITTC Chair, and Jan McAlpine (US) as ITTC Vice-Chair for 2003.

OTHER BUSINESS: Under other business, Chair Blaser invited statements from the TAG and CSAG spokespersons. TAG Spokesperson Barney Chan highlighted current market trends, including decline in prices and consumer confidence, and stressed that low prices translate into weaker forest management. He called for continued commitment to combating illegal logging and trade; welcomed ITTO involvement in the Asia Forest Partnership; stressed the importance of ITTO feedback regarding CITES proposals; and called for financially viable SFM. He also recommended: increasing the participation of the trade representatives in the Council sessions, inviting proponents of different certification schemes, monitoring dynamic issues that affect market access and publishing consultant reports on this issue.

CSAG Spokesperson Andy White expressed CSAG’s dedication to advancing the ITTC efforts on SFM. Stressing the equity dimensions of the tropical timber trade, he said the CSAG seeks broader participation of other groups, including labor and indigenous groups. He expressed CSAG willingness to actively participate in future ITTO sessions and upcoming deliberations on a new successor agreement. He said the CSAG discussion at ITTC-34 will address the role of community-based management and enterprises in conservation and economic development. He stressed the intention to collaborate actively with the TAG.

ADOPTION OF DECISIONS FROM THE COMMITTEES AND OTHER DECISIONS: Delegates approved all the decisions forwarded from the Committees and the drafting group, without amendments. The Council also adopted decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; and public relations, education, and outreach. Delegates also adopted a resolution that warmly remembers the late ITTO translator, Léo Scherman (ITTC(XXXIII)/31).

Projects, Pre-projects and Activities: The decision on projects, pre-projects and activities (ITTC(XXXIII)/22) was adopted. The US noted that the US and Switzerland would each contribute US$4,000 to the cooperative activity between ITTC and the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Final Decision: The decision authorizes financing for several projects, pre-projects and activities, in accordance with the recommendations of the three Committees (CEM(XXXI)/7, CRF(XXXI)/7, and CFI(XXXI)/7), and the report of the Third Meeting of the Panel on Sub-Account B of the Bali Partnership Fund (ITTC(XXXIII)/19).

Under the decision, the Council, inter alia, authorizes: the release of additional funds for the continued implementation of the Freezailah Fellowship Fund, cooperation with the World Conservation Union, and promotion of SFM in the Congo Basin.

The Council also authorizes:

  • financing through voluntary contributions of the following activities: public relations, education and outreach; civil society/private sector partnerships for SFM; prevention and management of forest fire; and preparations for negotiating a Successor Agreement; and
     

  • financing from resources of the Sub-Account B of the Bali Partnership Fund of the 25th Meeting of the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals.

The ITTC also urges members to consider financing those approved projects, pre-projects and activities for which funds are not immediately available and make un-earmarked contributions to the Special Account; and appeals to members to make voluntary contributions to the Bali Partnership Fund to assist members in achieving ITTO Objective 2000.

It also requests the Executive Director to continue consultations with potential donors and the Common Fund for Commodities to secure funding for projects, pre-projects and activities for which funds are not immediately available.

Public Relations, Education, and Outreach: Delegates considered a draft decision on public relations, education and outreach in a drafting group session on Thursday, and suggested minor amendments. The Council adopted the decision (ITTC(XXXIII)/25) without further amendments. ITTC Chair Blaser noted that funding will be provided by Japan and Switzerland.

Final Decision: The decision requests the Executive Director to undertake further public relations, education and outreach activities to convey the ITTO’s purpose and work; and encourages member countries to collaborate in these activities; and authorizes the Executive Director to seek voluntary contributions to meet the financial requirements of this decision and, if the contributions are not received by 30 April 2003, to use funds from Sub-Account B of the Bali Partnership Fund. It also contains a budget for implementation.

CLOSING STATEMENTS: An observer from Bangladesh listed his country’s initiatives on SFM, conservation, curbing illegal logging, and mangrove forest protection, and indicated his personal efforts to ensure that his country joins the ITTO.

An observer from Mexico announced his government’s decision to become an ITTO member, and said an official request will be submitted before the end of 2002. In addition, he stressed Mexico’s recent establishment of a National Forestry Commission, adoption of medium- and long-term programs on forest management, launching of a new plantation programme for tropical timber species, and plans for a new forestry law.

Clarkson Oben Tanyi Mbianyor, Minister of the Environment of Cameroon, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to ITTO mandate and expressed satisfaction with the work of ITTC-33. He stressed the need for proper utilization of financial resources and called for concrete activities in the field, including strengthening legislation and law enforcement. Minister Mbianyor underscored the need for adequate financial resources and encouraged all ITTO members to contribute to project funding. He said that the upcoming renegotiation process provides an opportunity to consider eco-certification, utilization of non-timber products and issues of governance, and called for involving civil society and taking into account concerns of producer countries.

Henri Djombo, Minister of Land, the Environment, Nature Conservation, Timber and Forests of the Republic of Congo, commended the meeting for its work, thanked the Japanese Government for enduring contributions to ITTO, and said that the Republic of Congo would actively participate in future ITTO activities.

Many delegates thanked the ITTO, Executive Director Sobral, Chair Blaser, Vice-Chair Freezailah and others for their excellent leadership and work, expressed satisfaction with ITTC-33 outcomes, and congratulated incoming Chair Freezailah and Vice-Chair McAlpine. Peru stated its satisfaction with ITTC-33 and highlighted its own long-term forestry strategy and effortss to combat illegal logging.

Gabon also expressed satisfaction with ITTC-33, but said the Council needs to take a decision on illegal logging and the rehabilitation of secondary and degraded areas with a view to eradicating poverty. He reiterated that Gabon recently established 13 areas as natural parks.

The EC welcomed the discussion on forest law enforcement. Japan said he was encouraged by signs that the EC would be contributing more resources to the ITTO at future sessions, and invited all participants to attend ITTC-35.

The Consumer Group expressed gratitude for the conciliatory tone of ITTC-33 discussions stressed the importance of the decision on renegotiating the ITTA, 1994, and called for transparency in ITTC’s decision making.

The Producer Group commended the results of the CSAG panel and said that he is pleased with the decision to streamline ITTO’s work because this will benefit the renegotiation process. He also encouraged all members to provide the ITTO with more economic information and market intelligence.

ITTC Chair Blaser expressed satisfaction that ITTC-33, inter alia, pledged US$6.6 million and approved 24 new projects and pre-projects and with the timetable of the renegotiation of the ITTA. He also said the renegotiation of the ITTA represents an opportunity to increase the value of the agreement. Chair Blaser commended ITTC-33 for its open discussion on controversial topics of certification and illegal logging, and for its decisions on fire prevention and management and civil society/private sector partnerships. He then gently scolded ITTC-33 for its failure to provide adequate economic information and for the critical financial situation facing the Bali Partnership Fund. After thanking the Secretariat, Executive Director Sobral, and many others, Chair Blaser gavelled ITTC-33 to a close at 3:00 p.m.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF ITTC-33

For all the debilitating controversy which permeated the ITTO in the early 1990s, a decade later, the ITTO has emerged as one of the least controversial international bodies. ITTC-33 was no exception. A shining example of constructive dialogue, ITTC-33 concluded almost entirely devoid of overt conflict, leaving everyone happy, if not slightly bored. Early expectations of "another easy meeting" were vindicated. Yet, the calm surface of ITTC-33 may be deceptive, as a silent renaissance of environmental NGOs at ITTC-33 may yield important long-term consequences for the evolution of the agreement. Moreover, the absence of conflict at ITTC-33 was perhaps more significant than any would-be disagreements.

This analysis provides a brief overview of the achievements of ITTC-33 and draws attention to a burgeoning ideological consensus between ITTO’s membership and the international environmental community. In conclusion, this analysis considers how this consensus might shape the future of the ITTO and its relative position vis-à-vis the global forest regime.

A PRIME TIME FOR HOUSEKEEPING

With regards to its concrete achievements, many gave ITTC-33 relatively high ratings, particularly concerning matters of ITTO procedure. In this regard, delegates successfully agreed on a schedule that would gradually reduce the frequency of ITTC sessions to one per year. Moreover, they agreed to a range of cost-saving measures and measures to streamline both ITTC’s committee work and decision-making processes. On the face of it, these action items bode well for ITTO’s budgetary accounts. Yet, more practically they amount to a necessary housekeeping exercise in anticipation of the more time consuming and arduous task of renegotiating the ITTA, 1994. Once the negotiations are under way, procedural and managerial issues will likely become secondary to the more pressing task of designing a new agreement.

In addition to procedural matters, there can be little doubt about ITTC-33’s substantive success. This is perhaps best evidenced by the conciliatory tone that characterized discussions on timber certification, in spite of its notoriously divisive history at the ITTO. Some suggest that this mood has been in the offing for some time, pointing to a decision taken at ITTC-32 to study the applicability of phased approaches to certification for achieving sustainable forest management. But the resounding sentiment from the environmental community was that delegates to ITTC-33, particularly those from producer countries, demonstrated considerably more interest in learning about certification than they have at previous Council sessions. Perhaps forest certification no longer conjures up the same degree of fear and suspicion that it once did.

Taken together, certification and illegal logging represent two hopeful developments within the ITTO, leading some to speculate that both will become central elements in the renegotiation process. Furthermore, the idea of enlisting the practice of forest certification in the task of combating illegal logging is gaining currency at the multilateral level. Yet, for the all the positive commentary regarding certification and illegal logging that circulated during ITTC-33, many producer countries continued to bemoan a universal certification scheme, saying that for all its promise, it remains an uncertain promise, at best. For the skeptics, no matter how hard the environmental community convinces itself otherwise, certification will always act as a disguised trade barrier to the detriment of producer countries. But if the amicable tone of the certification debate is characteristic of a broad shift in thinking within the ITTO, then so too is the dialogue on illegal logging. Historically, the mere mention of illegal logging at the ITTO promised a barrage of defensive reactions. But these days have long since passed and the connotations associated with illegal logging are now much more benign. In today’s climate some ITTO members are now actively addressing illegal logging within their borders, while others are resolutely committed to developing multilateral forest law enforcement policy.

Bolstering the skeptics’ view, some even pointed out that ITTC-33’s preoccupation with certification appears to be out of touch with current market realities. While everyone has readily acknowledged that the global demand for certified timber has been increasing steadily over the past five years, this demand still represents a meager portion of the European and American markets for tropical timber which together account for a paltry chunk of the tropical timber trade. What this suggests is that at the ITTO certification may simply be a conveniently overstated policy instrument that wields significantly more political appeal than is warranted by its practical effects on the ground.

At the same time, government delegations and environmental NGOs alike repeatedly commended the ITTC for being action-oriented. Many observers were impressed with the scores of concrete projects sponsored by the ITTO. As well, several veteran NGOs commented that the ITTO is very in unique in that it services a commodity trade agreement that is simultaneously concerned with facilitating trade and promoting forest conservation. But despite all the high praise and self-congratulation, some observers, including a heavyweight financial institution, were very pointed in their appraisal of the ITTO, saying that in the grand scheme of international project work, ITTO makes very little difference. Even some high-level officials, intimate with the ITTO process, admit that ITTO activities have little impact on the ground.

THE RENAISSANCE OF ENVIRONMENTAL NGOs

One of the distinguishing characteristics of ITTC-33 was the conspicuous presence of the international environmental community; several members of which abandoned the ITTO process altogether in the early 1990s. The reasons for their return are many, but foremost was the inaugural meeting of the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG). What this suggests is that for the first time in the short, albeit troublesome, history of the ITTO, members of civil society, with their newly acquired voice, have been given equal footing alongside industry in influencing the formulation of international forest policy.

Predictably, the formation of the CSAG elicited some reservations from certain members of the Trade Advisory Group (TAG) who fear the CSAG will usurp some of its profile. But in spite of this, other members of the TAG gave a silent nod of approval to the nascent CSAG, underscoring again the conciliatory tone of ITTC-33. Furthermore, that the Secretariat has earmarked funds for CSAG participation at ITTC-33 stands as testimony to CSAG’s certain future within the ITTC.

Taking stock, this points to a broad ideological consensus underwriting ITTO’s principles and goals that is particularly relevant given the forthcoming renegotiation of the ITTA, 1994. Of course, it is far too early to say with any certainty what a successor agreement might look like. After all, most delegates at ITTC-33 were quite reluctant to proffer any clues about what they might seek through the renegotiation process. Nevertheless, the consensus remains and will almost certainly be reflected in the new agreement in one form or another.

As for the ideological consensus itself, at the ITTO there is very clear recognition that environmental concerns, such as natural resource management and forest conservation, can be achieved through the use of market incentives, such as certification, as opposed to the discriminating stick of governmental regulation. Of course, in the early days of the ITTO, certification was the enemy. But this came at time when the concept of forest certification was still a gleam in the eye. Not surprisingly, many were hostile towards a concept they knew very little about. This was compounded by the fact that no one could say with any certainty how forest certification would interact with the GATT, which was, of course, itself under renegotiation in the early 1990s. Nowadays, however, the concept of forest certification is considerably more sophisticated. In this regard, the ITTO membership has become more amenable to the idea, knowing that it conforms to the principles of market incentives and consumer choice. And it is here that the environmental community and the ITTO membership are on the same page. Neither advocate that any one specific certification scheme should receive preference at the ITTO. Instead they argue that consumer preference should decide which scheme is best suited to the task of forest conservation. Et voilà: ideological consensus.

ITTO AND THE FOREST POLICY SCENE

Set within the highly fragmented and disoriented international forest policy regime, the renegotiation of the ITTA, 1994, slated to begin immediately following ITTC-34 in May 2003 in Panama City, represents both an opportunity and a challenge. In one sense, the ITTO, once a "political backwater" of forest policy development, has re-emerged in recent years as a promising, albeit weak, presence on the international forest policy scene. Many feel that the institution’s greatest contribution lies in its capacity to discuss trade issues. This is evident by the ITTO’s commitment not to endorse any particular certification scheme, a policy move more or less in line with the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement. Indeed, many feel that this is precisely the role the ITTO is defining for itself within the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. In other words, the renegotiation of ITTA, 1994 represents an enormous opportunity for the ITTO to firmly institutionalize its identity within a global forest policy domain, itself struggling for identity.

But in another sense, the renegotiation process risks running the ITTO into obscurity, if the demands placed on the precariously positioned institution are too ambitious. This is to argue that for all its recent success at drawing together a range of interests -producers, consumers, environmental groups, certification bodies, and trade associations - in the spirit of conciliation, ITTO may become a victim of its own success. Some have spoken about the possibility of expanding ITTO’s scope, both in terms of the commodities it covers, but also in terms of its strength. Doing so, however, may prove fatal, since the nascent consensus at the ITTO is too fragile to deal effectively with this degree of complexity. This may also be compounded by the fact that the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is also considering entering into negotiations for a legally binding framework on forests. As such, ITTO and UNFF may end up competing for the same space on world stage.

But in spite of all the long term, grandiose thinking that was bandied about at ITTC-33, in the short term one can expect that ITTO will continue building on its strength as a conduit for development projects that promote the trade of tropical timber products from sustainably managed forests. In this regard, ITTC-33 funded US$6.6 million worth of new development projects, a comparatively meager sum that many assume can only increase.

In the end, one thing is clear: for all its political appeal as a place for discussing certification and sustainable forest management, ITTO has a very long way to go before having any credible effects on how the world’s forests are managed.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

ECCPROD: The International Conference on Eucalyptus Productivity will be held from 10-15 November 2002, in Hobart, Australia. For more information, contact: Penny Archer, Conference Design; tel: +61-3-6224-3773; fax: +61-3-6224-3774; e-mail: mail@cdesign.com.au; Internet: http://www.cdesign.com.au/ECcprod

CCD CRIC: The First Meeting of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD CRIC) will convene from 11-22 November 2002 in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: CCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2802; fax: +49-228-815-2898; e-mail: secretariat@unccd.int; Internet: http://www.unccd.int/cop/cric1/menu.php

ISFM NETWORK CONFERENCE: The Third International Sustainable Forest Management (ISFM) Network Conference "Advances in Forest Management: From Knowledge to Practice" will convene from 13-15 November 2002, in Edmonton, Canada. For more information, contact: Kathryn Veeman, ISFM Network; tel: +1-780-492-2477; fax: +1-780-492-8160; e-mail: kathryn.veeman@ualberta.ca; Internet: http://www.ualberta.ca/sfm

CONFERENCE ON CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF BIODIVERSITY OF GLOBAL SIGNIFICANCE IN ARID AND SEMI-ARID ZONES: The International Conference on Promoting Best Practices for Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity of Global Significance in Arid and Semi-arid Zones, organized by the Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO), will be convened from 13-17 December 2002, in Cairo, Egypt. Delegates will discuss best practices in science, public policy, and improving partnerships and capacity building in developing countries. For more information, contact: Helen Martin, TWNSO; tel: +39 040 2240683; fax: +39-040-224-0689; e-mail: info@twnso.org; Internet: http://www.twnso.org

SYMPOSIUM ON HISTORY AND FOREST BIODIVERSITY: The Symposium "History and Forest Biodiversity: Challenges for Conservation" will be held from 13-15 January 2003, at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium. For more information, contact: Sofie Bruneel, Catholic University of Leuven; tel: +321-632-9721; fax +321-632-9760; e-mail: sofie.bruneel@agr.kuleuven.ac.be; Internet: http://www.agr.kuleuven.ac.be/lbh/lbnl/forestbiodiv

CONFERENCE ON THE CONTRIBUTION OF CRITERIA AND INDICATORS TO SFM: The International Conference on the Contribution of Criteria and Indicators to Sustainable Forest Management will be held from 3-7 February, 2003, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, as a follow-up to recommendations made by the Expert Meeting on C&I for SFM held in 2000, in Rome. For more information, contact Glenda Lee, Local Organizing Committee; tel: +502-379-9830; fax: +502-475-4407; email: cici2002@inab.gob.gt; Internet: http://www.inab.gob.gt

TRANSBOUNDARY CONSERVATION WORKSHOP: A joint ITTO/IUCN workshop on increasing the effectiveness of Transboundary Conservation Areas (TSAs) in tropical forests will be held from 17-21 February 2003, in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand. For more information, contact: Alastair Sarre, ITTO Secretariat; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: editor@itto.or.jp; Internet: http://www.itto.or.jp; or Stewart Maginnis, IUCN; tel: +41-22-999-0001; fax: +41-22-999-0025; e-mail: stewart.maginnis@iucn.org; Internet: http://www.iucn.org/themes/fcp/activities/transboundary1.htm

ECPF-2: The Second International Expert Consultation on the Role of Planted Forests (ECPF-2) will be held from 24-30 March 2003, in Wellington, New Zealand. For more information, contact: Moira Jones, ECPF Secretariat; tel: +64-4-470-2734; fax: +64-4-473-0118; e-mail: plantedforestrymeeting@maf.govt.nz; Internet: http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/unff-planted-forestry-meeting

ITTC-34: The thirty-fourth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-34) will be held from 12-17 May 2003, in Panama City, Panama. The First Preparatory Committee for the negotiations of the Successor Agreement to ITTA, 1994 will be held immediately following the session. For more information, contact: Alastair Sarre, ITTO Secretariat; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail: editor@itto.or.jp; Internet: http://www.itto.or.jp

UNFF-3: The third session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNNF-3) will be held from 26 May-6 June 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates will discuss, inter alia, means of, and progress in, implementation, specifically related to economic aspects of forests, forest health and productivity, and maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs; and common items. For more information, contact: Mia Soderlund, UNFF Secretariat; tel: + 1-212-963-3262; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: unff@un.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/forests.htm    

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Andrew Baldwin andrew@iisd.org, Rado Dimitrov rado@iisd.org, Tamilla Gaynutdinova tamilla@iisd.org, and Charlotte Salpin charlotte@iisd.org. The Digital Editor is Franz Dejon franz@iisd.org. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. pam@iisd.org and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI kimo@iisd.org. The Operations Manager is Marcela Rojo marcela@iisd.org and the On-Line Assistant is Diego Noguera diego@iisd.org. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General support for the Bulletin during 2002 is provided by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, Swan International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), and the Ministry for Environment of Iceland. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at enb@iisd.org and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at info@iisd.ca and at 320 E 46th St., APT 32A, New York, NY 10017-3037, USA. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://enb.iisd.org. Satellite image provided by The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin or to arrange coverage of a meeting, conference or workshop, send an e-mail to the Director, IISD Reporting Services at kimo@iisd.org or call to +1-212-644-0217.

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