Summary report, 13–18 May 2002

32nd Session of the ITTC

The thirty-second session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-32) met from 13-18 May 2002, in Bali, Indonesia. Nearly 300 participants attended the session, representing 40 ITTC member countries, two potential members, five intergovernmental organizations and specialized agencies, and 29 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The Council adopted eleven decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; a Civil Society Advisory Group; International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests; preparation for renegotiation of the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994); ITTO's contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD); management of the Administrative Budget for 2002; sustainable management and conservation of mangrove forest ecosystems – ITTO Mangrove Workplan; organization of work under the ITTA, 1994; forest law enforcement in Africa; promotion of sustainable forest management (SFM) in the Congo Basin; and the potential role of phased approaches to certification in tropical timber producer countries as a tool to promote SFM.

The 30th sessions of the ITTC's Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence, Reforestation and Forest Management, and Forest Industry also met to, inter alia, review projects, pre-projects and activities in progress, conduct ex-post evaluations, and select projects and pre-projects for approval by the Council. The ITTC's Committee on Finance and Administration convened in its eleventh session to discuss financial and budgetary matters.

By the end of the meeting, most delegates seemed proud of the achievements of the session. However, undercurrents in the certification discussion and mounting pressure regarding the organization of work of the Council revealed the complexity of issues and challenges still facing the ITTO.


The International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA) was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The purpose of the ITTA negotiations was to: provide an effective framework for cooperation and consultation between countries producing and consuming tropical timber; promote the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber and the improvement of structural conditions in the tropical timber market; promote and support research and development with a view to improving forest management and wood utilization; and encourage the development of national policies aimed at sustainable utilization and conservation of tropical forests and their genetic resources, and at 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.

The ITTA established the International Tropical Timber Organization. The ITTO provides a framework for consultation among countries that produce and consume tropical timber to discuss and exchange information and develop policies on issues relating to the international trade and utilization of tropical timber and the sustainable management of its resource base. The ITTO is headquartered inYokohama, Japan, and has 57 members – 31 producer countries and 25 consumer countries and the European Union - which together represent 95% of world trade in tropical timber and 75% of the world's tropical forests.

The governing body of the ITTO is the International Tropical Timber Council, which includes all members. The ITTO has two categories of membership: producer and consumer countries. Annual contributions and votes are distributed equally between the two groups, or caucuses. Within each caucus, individual member's dues and votes are calculated based on market share and, in the case of producers, the extent of tropical forests within the country. The Council is supported by four committees, which advise and assist the Council on issues for consideration and decision. Three of the committees deal with the ITTO's major areas of policy and project work: Economic Information and Market Intelligence; Reforestation and Forest Management; and Forest Industry. These committees are supported by an Expert Panel for the Technical Appraisal of Projects and Pre-projects, which reviews project proposals for technical merit and relevance to ITTO objectives. The fourth committee, on Finance and Administration, advises the Council on budgetary matters and other administrative issues concerning the management of the ITTO. The Council is also advised by an Informal Advisory Group (IAG), which meets just prior to each ITTC session to discuss issues to be addressed at the upcoming session and to formulate a possible list of decisions to be considered and adopted by the Council at that session.

The ITTA remained in force for an initial period of five years and was extended twice for two-year periods by decisions of the Council. The Agreement was renegotiated during a series of meetings in 1993-1994. On 26 January 1994, the Successor Agreement to the ITTA (ITTA, 1994) was adopted. It was opened for signature on 1 April 1994, and entered into force on 1 January 1997. The 1994 agreement continues to focus on the world tropical timber economy, contains broader provisions for information sharing, including non-tropical timber trade data, and allows for consideration of non-tropical timber issues as they relate to tropical timber. The ITTA, 1994 also established a fund for sustainable management of tropical producing forests, the Bali Partnership Fund, which assists producing members to make the investments necessary to enhance their capacity to implement a strategy for achieving exports of tropical timber and timber products from sustainably managed sources by 2000 (ITTO Objective 2000).


On Monday morning, 13 May, ITTO Executive Director Manoel Sobral Filho welcomed delegates to ITTC-32. He noted progress toward achieving international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed forests, particularly through policy reform in ITTO member countries, but stressed the need to improve forest management on the ground, and described ITTO efforts to train forest managers in SFM practices. He highlighted ITTO's portfolio of projects to promote SFM, but stressed that the ITTO can and must do more. He said the ITTC-31 decision to combat illegal logging and illegal trade in timber is one of the most important ITTC decisions in terms of addressing impediments to SFM. Highlighting the lack of funds as the primary factor undermining SFM, he noted the failure of markets to remunerate the global services provided by natural forests, and called for a massive public education campaign to popularize the concept that these services need to be paid for by the international community.

ITTC Chair Jürgen Blaser (Switzerland) noted that Objective 2000 has not yet been achieved, and stressed the need to ensure that forthcoming negotiations of the new agreement help achieve SFM and fair and transparent trade. Highlighting Indonesia's role in tackling the issue of forest law enforcement and illegal trade in forest products, he urged the ITTO to formulate concrete actions to implement its recent decision on this issue. He also expressed hope that ITTC-32 would critically review the draft Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests and adopt a decision and possibly a Bali Initiative to further promote the issue. He underscored the need for the ITTO to become the platform for stakeholder dialogue on SFM, citing an ITTO project in Africa on fostering a partnership as a promising development to this end.

Dewa Made Beratha, Governor of Bali, highlighted Bali's efforts to preserve its forests. He welcomed delegates to Bali and wished them success in their deliberations.

Indonesian President Ibu Megawati Soekarnoputri highlighted her government's focus on efforts to address illegal logging and trade, restructure the forest industry, deal with forest fires, decentralize forest management, and develop industrial plantation forests, and noted its moratorium on forest conversion. Emphasizing that problems with tropical timber are closely related to the increase in international demand for its products, she stressed that Indonesia cannot effectively handle illegal logging and illegal trade alone, and called for more concrete international cooperation to curb such practices. She expressed hope that the efforts of Indonesia and other developing countries to protect their forest resources would receive proper appreciation, as they fundamentally derive from a commitment to implement the international community's call for forest conservation. She hoped the ITTO would assist in endeavors to implement SFM, particularly rehabilitation and conservation activities.

Muhammad Prakosa, Minister of Forestry of Indonesia, described the Indonesian forestry sector, underscoring the alarming rate of deforestation. He emphasized the gap between supply and demand of timber, highlighted efforts to restructure the forestry industry, and lamented the minimal success of reforestation programmes. He called for full commitment to combat illegal logging and trade, hoped the outcomes of the 2001 Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) meeting held in Bali would result in concrete action, and expressed hope that ITTC-32 would result in concrete progress on this issue.

Catherine Boka Agoussi Angele, Minister of Forests of Côte d'Ivoire, outlined her country's integrated forest policy, which: focuses on sustainable management of forests based on management plans; includes the establishment of forest plantations, a ban on log exports, and reorganization of the rural sector; complements poverty reduction efforts; and seeks to maintain the environmental and socioeconomic functions of forests while providing for management of forest stands and agricultural activities in forest reserves. She highlighted concerns relating to certification, stressing the need to understand its impact on the purchase price of certified forest products, and said the ITTO and forest certification bodies should help producer countries overcome difficulties to achieve certification of tropical forests.

Kenichi Mizuno, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan, emphasized the need for greater efforts to fulfill the ITTO Yokohama Action Plan on implementation of forest laws and SFM at the local level. He called on the ITTO and others to join the Asia Forest Partnership on promoting SFM. He also expressed Japan's determination to continue support for tackling illegal logging in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. He stressed the need for the ITTO to participate in the WSSD, and called for concrete actions to assist African member countries, which should be acknowledged as a WSSD partnership.

Juan Mayr Maldonado, Minister of Environment of Colombia, stated that forest management and biodiversity are of the highest priority for Colombia. He stressed the need to respond to the challenges to forest management posed by climate change, highlighted the Mangrove Workplan and the management of secondary forests as extremely important to countries with such ecosystems, and called for donor attention to these issues. He also emphasized the need to reconcile the reforestation and rehabilitation of forests with techniques for maintaining biodiversity.

David Kaimowitz, Director-General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), highlighted the important role of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) in strengthening formal and informal cooperation to serve the needs of countries more effectively. He underscored the continuing importance of forest research.

Wulf Killmann, Director of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Forest Products Division, highlighted benefits of the complementary relationship between the ITTO and FAO, and outlined several areas of collaboration related to, inter alia: forest fires, criteria and indicators (C&I) for SFM, certification, forest and climate change issues, statistics, definitions, illegal logging, and reduced impact logging.

Delegates then ascertained the quorum, adopted the provisional agenda (ITTC(XXXII)/1) and organization of work, heard a report on membership of the ITTC, approved the distribution of votes for 2002 (ITTC(XXXII)/1 Annex), and admitted all observers (ITTC(XXXII)/ Info.3).

Over the course of the six-day session, ITTC-32 delegates met in several Council sessions and sessions of the four Committees. The Annual Market Discussion was also conducted in a joint session of the Committees. Beginning on Thursday evening, delegates met in a Chair's open-ended drafting group to conduct negotiations on the decisions of ITTC-32. The 30th 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, conduct ex-post evaluations, and select projects and pre-projects for approval by the Council. The ITTC's Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) convened in its eleventh session to discuss financial and budgetary matters.

The following is a summary of the Council's discussions, organized by agenda item, the drafting group's negotiations on its decisions, and the associated sessions of the Committees.


During the opening session, ITTC Chair Blaser introduced the report of the tenth meeting of the IAG (ITTC(XXXII)/2), which met on Sunday, 12 May, in Bali. The report explained that the IAG, underscored the strategic importance of promoting cooperation and partnerships between the ITTO and environmental NGOs and recommended that the Council take appropriate action to facilitate the establishment of an Advisory Group for environmental NGOs. The IAG also noted the work of the Expert Panel on the Guidelines for Reforestation, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Forests and discussed the Council's provisional adoption of the Guidelines and follow-up work. On the frequency and duration of Council and Committee sessions, the IAG, inter alia, noted the case for a single annual session, and considered the desirability and appropriateness of convening an intersessional working group to assist the Council in its deliberations on this issue at its next session.

Regarding a new successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994, the IAG felt it could be useful to commence groundwork for negotiating a new agreement, and recommended that a joint caucus meeting be convened to discuss this issue. The IAG also highlighted the ITTO's contribution in the context of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the CPF, and suggested reviewing this matter at ITTC-33. The IAG further recommended that the Council consider a proposal to convene an ITTO satellite meeting in conjunction with the WSSD, as well as the possibility of conveying its own political message to the WSSD. Regarding an initiative on FLEG being undertaken in Congo, the IAG recommended that the Council consider co-sponsoring the initiative. The IAG also discussed the feasibility of developing C&I for the sustainable management of mangrove forests.

The IAG prepared a possible list of decisions to be considered and adopted by ITTC-32, on:

  • projects, pre-projects and activities;
  • certification;
  • organization of work of the Council and Committees;
  • enhancing cooperation with environmental NGOs and civil society;
  • the Guidelines on Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Forests;
  • evaluation/review of the utilization and impact of existing ITTO Guidelines;
  • preparatory work for a new agreement and the possibility of a long-term strategic plan;
  • the ITTO's contribution to the WSSD;
  • FLEG in Africa;
  • follow-up on the Congo Mission and Yaoundé Summit – the Congo Basin Initiative; and
  • the Mangrove Workplan.

Several issues discussed in Council sessions, as well as decisions adopted by ITTC-32, were addressed under the agenda item of the IAG's report, including on the formation of a Civil Society Advisory Group, preparation for renegotiation of the ITTA, 1994, the ITTO's contribution to the WSSD, and organization of work under the ITTA, 1994.

CIVIL SOCIETY ADVISORY GROUP: The drafting group addressed this draft decision on Thursday, 16 May. Regarding references in the preamble to environmental NGOs and other civil society organizations, delegates agreed to refer only to "civil society organizations." One producer country opposed forming a "diverse and inclusive" Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG), and this language was deleted. In the operative section of the decision, delegates agreed on language regarding collaboration between the CSAG and the Trade Advisory Group (TAG), CSAG participation and input similar to that of the TAG, and organization of a CSAG panel discussion at ITTC-33. Delegates agreed to producer country language inviting the CSAG and the TAG to showcase examples of collaboration between civil society organizations and forest concessionaires and industry. The drafting group accepted a proposal by a number of producer countries to delete language on reviewing the respective roles of the CSAG and the TAG by ITTC-36. One consumer country stressed the importance of jump-starting the process of producer country NGO participation. Some countries opposed allocating ITTO funds for this purpose, and a reference to the Bali Partnership Fund was deleted after two consumer countries offered up to US$50,000 to facilitate, on a one-time basis, the participation of civil society organizations in a CSAG panel discussion.

Final Decision: In this decision (ITTC(XXXII)/16), the ITTC, inter alia:

  • notes concern that the views of civil society organizations are still not well represented at Council sessions;
  • appreciates the continuing contribution of civil society organizations in the formulation of ITTO Guidelines, expert panels, missions and other initiatives;
  • wishes to increase participation and input of civil society organizations;
  • recognizes the valuable contributions to the ITTO made by the TAG; and
  • recognizes the contributions civil society organizations could make to the ITTO through their own advisory group.

The decision states that the Council decides to:

  • invite the CSAG to initiate its activities at the earliest date;
  • authorize the Executive Director to publicize the launching of the CSAG;
  • authorize the Executive Director to explore with the CSAG opportunities for input and participation during Council sessions in a manner similar to those of the TAG;
  • encourage the CSAG and the TAG to collaborate on activities, programmes and projects;
  • invite the CSAG and the TAG to showcase examples of collaboration between civil society organizations and forest concessionaires and industry, and further consider how the ITTO could facilitate such cooperation in the field; and
  • invite the CSAG to organize a panel discussion to be held during ITTC-33.

PREPATION FOR RENEGOTIATION OF THE ITTA, 1994: Delegates discussed this decision in a drafting group late Thursday night, 16 May, and reached agreement with little debate.

Final Decision: In the final text of this decision (ITTC(XXXII)/ 18), the ITTC: notes the ITTC-28 decision to extend the ITTA, 1994 for three years until the end of 2003; recognizes the need to improve the ITTO's efficiency, effectiveness and relevance in meeting its objectives; and decides to request the Executive Director to appoint two consultants, one each from a producer and consumer country, to identify new and evolving issues of relevance to the ITTC and with an impact on trade in tropical timber from sustainable sources with a view to informing the Council as it prepares for its consideration of the future of the Agreement, prior to ITTC-33. They should:

  • examine other relevant organizations, treaties and commodity organizations;
  • identify emerging issues and developments in international trade, inter alia, current market trends in tropical timber, the potential role of certification in promoting and creating incentives for sustainable tropical forest management, the increased attention to forest law enforcement, and developments in recognizing the environmental services provided by forests;
  • provide considerations of the ITTO's potential role; and
  • produce a report for presentation to ITTC-33.

ITTO'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE WSSD: The decision on ITTO's contribution to the WSSD (ITTC(XXXII)/2) was discussed at the Council Session on Tuesday, 14 May, and in the Chair's drafting group on Friday, 17 May. Delegates discussed, inter alia: the need for and possibility of conducting an ITTO side event at the WSSD; content of a political message to the WSSD; and participation of the ITTO Executive Director in the WSSD.

In the Chair's drafting group, delegates agreed that the ITTO's message to the WSSD should emphasize a range of ITTO activities. A consumer country recommended ensuring that countries' WSSD delegations are informed about and help to promote the ITTO message. A consumer country stressed the importance of including the message in the WSSD documents relevant to the debate on forests.

Final Decision: In the preamble, the ITTC recognizes the linkages between trade and sustainable development, and reaffirms the importance of international cooperation and ITTO's role in the CPF and the ITTO's commitment to strive toward trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed resources, as expressed in the Yokohama Action Plan. The decision further recognizes the relevance of this commitment to the WSSD.

The ITTC requests the Executive Director to convey the message to the WSSD. In it, the ITTC: draws attention to the valuable work of the ITTO and its members toward achieving the objective that all tropical timber traded is sourced from sustainably managed forests, and underscores the ITTO's commitment to continue to work together in partnership with all stakeholders and to bring to these partnerships its experience in promoting policy dialogue on SFM, as well as its ability to take action to implement the outcomes of this policy discussion as a real demonstration of what the WSSD is advocating for action on the ground. The ITTC also requests the Executive Director to represent the ITTO and, inter alia, hold a side event at the WSSD to showcase the ITTO's contribution to SFM.

ORGANIZATION OF WORK OF THE COUNCIL AND COMMITTEES: On Friday, 18 May, the Chair's drafting group discussed a decision to establish an intersessional working group to discuss the issues relating to the frequency and duration of the ITTC and Committee sessions, as proposed in the IAG report. Delegates discussed the composition of the proposed working group, including the possibility of whether to have the Chair and the Vice-Chair or the Consumer and Producer Spokespersons as additional members. One producer country suggested that the group be comprised of three producer and three consumer country members, rather than six each. One consumer country preferred four rather than three members each. One producer country added language reflecting that discussions take into account the provisions of the ITTA, 1994, and the ITTO's workload.

Final Decision: In the final text of this decision (ITTC(XXXII)/ 22), the preamble, inter alia, reaffirms the need to improve the ITTO's overall efficiency and reduce costs. The ITTC requests the Executive Director to convene a working group, comprised of three producer and three consumer countries and the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the ITTC, to identify and discuss measures to improve the efficiency of the organization of work according to the attached terms of reference, and prepare recommendations for further deliberation at ITTC-33. The ITTC also requests the Executive Director to provide relevant ITTC documents and reports on improving the efficiency of the organization of work, which will serve to further discussion on this issue by the working group.


On Tuesday, 14 May, the Council discussed the need to arrange consultations on Members' proposals to list internationally traded tropical timber species in the appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but the Secretariat reported that no proposals had been received since ITTC-31. Malaysia called for a departure from the current listing procedure, stressing the importance of consultation and provision of supporting evidence to ensure that listings are objective. No decision was adopted on this issue.


On Tuesday, 14 May, the Council heard the report of the Expert Panel established under the ITTC decision on the Mangrove Conservation Programme to modify the draft ITTO Mangrove Workplan (ITTC(XXXII)/5). Many delegates from consumer countries recommended that: work on mangrove forests be based on Members' projects; the ITTO's role be limited to support of these projects and cooperation and avoidance of duplication of efforts with other organizations; and the balance between the numerous goals of the ITTO be maintained. They also said that the Workplan could be useful in appraising mangrove conservation projects, which should follow the usual ITTO project cycle. Malaysia urged the ITTO to assume a more proactive role in managing mangroves.

On Friday, 17 May, the drafting group discussed a draft decision on Sustainable Management and Conservation of Mangrove Forest Ecosystems: ITTO Mangrove Workplan, and agreed to change references to mangroves to "mangrove forests."

Final Decision: The final decision (ITTC(XXXII)/21):

  • notes the report of the Expert Panel on the ITTO Mangrove Workplan and the revised ITTO International Mangrove Workshop;
  • recognizes the ITTO's limited resources and the need to maintain a balance between the ITTO's numerous goals; and
  • understands that ITTO mangrove activities should be consistent with ITTO's mandate and be undertaken through the regular project cycle.

The ITTC decides to: recommend the revised ITTO Mangrove Workplan to member countries for guidance in formulating projects on mangrove forests; recommend that the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Projects consider the Workplan in its evaluation of the projects; and authorize the Executive Director to arrange for the publication and distribution of the Workplan, as expeditiously as possible.


On Thursday, 16 May, Jeffrey Sayer, WWF, made a presentation on the Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests. He said the purpose of the Guidelines was to provide a knowledge base, help planners integrate restoration, and help focus policy on degraded lands. He highlighted a number of recommendations, including:

  • attaining commitment to management;
  • formulating and implementing supportive policies;
  • sharing costs and benefits;
  • ensuring stakeholder involvement;
  • adopting holistic and adaptive forest management;
  • promoting economic efficiency and viability; and
  • guaranteeing participatory monitoring and evaluation.

He said that Guidelines should be adopted, communicated to relevant actors, promoted, tested through projects, and then applied in practice.

Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, delivered a presentation on forest landscape restoration (FLR), which provided context for the Guidelines. He highlighted conclusions from a February 2002 workshop on FLR hosted by Costa Rica and the UK, which emphasized, inter alia, a focus on forest functionality, the necessity of adaptive management, relevance to both the North and South, and research needs. He said the Guidelines can make a significant contribution to the knowledge base for FLR.

During the ensuing discussion, the Philippines called for norms and standards for secondary forest management. Japan recommended focusing the Guidelines on forest conservation, and limiting the number of Guidelines. New Zealand, with Côte d'Ivoire, stressed the need for a practical approach in the Guidelines. Papua New Guinea emphasized addressing the causes of deforestation, determining lead actors, adopting an integrated approach and ensuring international cooperation in restoration programmes. Switzerland proposed concrete actions for implementing the Guidelines, such as workshops and publications. Colombia stressed the need for a feedback mechanism on Guideline implementation. The FAO highlighted an international process on the definition of forest-related terms relevant to the Guidelines.

Delegates discussed a draft decision on the Guidelines in the drafting group on Thursday evening, 16 May. Noting insufficient time to review and comment on the Guidelines, some said it would be premature to adopt the Guidelines at this stage. After further debate, delegates agreed to: adopt the Guidelines and request additional comments on them; prepare and publish the revised Guidelines and hold workshops to discuss and comment on them; publish an information brochure; and encourage Member countries to test the Guidelines. They also agreed to evaluate progress on implementation of the decision at ITTC-35.

Final Decision: In the preamble of this decision (ITTC(XXXII)/ 23), the Council, inter alia:

  • recalls the need to develop Guidelines in close collaboration with FAO, IUCN and other organizations and welcomes the report of the Expert Panel on Guidelines;
  • recognizes the contribution of degraded and secondary forests to, inter alia, the livelihoods of forest-dependent people;
  • recognizes the need for the ITTO to assist Member countries to develop operational guidelines to build capacity and help accelerate progress toward Objective 2000; and
  • recognizes that collaboration between the ITTO and IUCN, WWF, CIFOR, FAO and others, contributes to raising awareness on this issue.

In the decision, the Council: adopts the Guidelines; requests members and other interested parties to provide detailed comments and observations by 30 June 2002; and requests the Executive Director to prepare and publish the Guidelines. It further decides to request the Executive Director to undertake the following actions to promote and test the Guidelines: hold six subregional workshops to promote the understanding of the Guidelines, provide feedback and encourage further regional or country level initiatives in this area; publish an information brochure summarizing the Guidelines; and encourage member countries to apply the Guidelines on a pilot scale and to submit project proposals to the ITTO where appropriate.

The ITTC further decides to: commend the Guidelines as an international reference standard and a major contribution toward the sustainable utilization and conservation of tropical forests and their genetic resources; request the Executive Director to strengthen cooperation between the ITTO and IUCN, WWF, FAO, CIFOR and others to implement the above activities; and review progress in implementation of this decision at ITTC-35 and decide on further collaborative actions.

The decision authorizes the Executive Director to seek voluntary contributions from member countries to meet the financial requirements of this decision, not exceeding US$350,000, and states that if sufficient contributions are not received by 31 July 2002, the Executive Director is requested to use funds from Sub-Account B of the BPF.


On Thursday, 16 May, the Council heard the report of the mission in support of the Government of Congo for the realization of ITTO Objective 2000 and SFM (ITTC(XXXII)/8), which determined factors that limit progress to SFM and provided recommendations for the ITTO on further work in this area. Some delegates called for more concrete recommendations, including cost estimation, and stressed the need to ensure their implementation. ITTO Executive Director Sobral noted that further activities on this matter include preparation of an action plan and projects for support of SFM in Congo.

Delegates then heard the report on regional priorities for the conservation and sustainable management of forests of the Congo Basin (ITTC(XXXII)/7), prepared by a technical mission on strengthening SFM in Central African countries. The report identified four programme areas that need to be given priority by the ITTO in support of the follow-up to the Yaoundé Summit:

  • education, training and research;
  • practical demonstration projects;
  • norms, standards and management guidelines; and
  • information on conditions and trends in the forest sector.

It recommended that a package of ITTO activities in the Congo Basin be launched as a "Type II" partnership initiative at the WSSD. In the ensuing Council discussion, delegates emphasized:

  • the need for capacity-building activities, including for the private sector;
  • the importance of research and training;
  • institutional strengthening;
  • transboundary reserves;
  • land-use issues;
  • the need to address commercial logging in the region; and
  • the need for holistic and country-driven approaches.

Producer countries called for increased financial support from the international community.

FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AFRICA: Delegates discussed a draft decision on forest law enforcement in Africa in the drafting group on Friday, 17 May, and agreed to a producer country proposal to add preambular language on the need to improve data collection and management on tropical forests. Delegates also agreed to seek voluntary contributions for a budget of US$50,000 for the development of a programme to acquire and analyze data required for more effective concession management and to ensure the conservation of protected areas. Delegates further agreed to urge the Executive Director to participate in the June 2002 preparatory meeting and the planned ministerial conference on FLEG in early 2003 and report back to the Council on outcomes and possible follow-up action.

Final Decision: In decision (ITTC(XXXII)/23), the Council:

  • recognizes the importance of Africa's forests and the economic, environmental and social significance of the timber trade in many countries on the African continent;
  • recalls the ITTO's extensive work already implemented through many projects in Africa;
  • notes awareness of the upcoming preparatory meeting and Ministerial Conference on Forest Law Enforcement to be held in Africa in 2002/2003; and
  • considers the need for improving the collection and management of data on tropical forests.

In the decision, the Council decides to participate in the preparatory meeting and Ministerial Conference in Africa on Forest Law Enforcement in 2002/2003, requests the Executive Director to report to the Council on agreements reached at the Ministerial Conference and propose actions that the ITTO could take within its mandate. The Council further decides to undertake a data collection initiative on the forests of Congo, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, aimed at improving forest concession management and ensuring the conservation of protected areas, which will identify relevant data required and develop a data-capturing and data-processing programme. The Executive Director is requested to work with Global Forest Watch and all three participant countries to develop a work programme, which will be submitted to ITTC-33.

PROMOTION OF SFM IN THE CONGO BASIN: On Friday, 16 May, a small drafting group discussed a draft decision on SFM in the Congo Basin. Several consumer countries stressed that funding to implement the decision would be difficult to secure as it lacked focus and required more specific terms of reference for a proposed workshop to develop a regional programme of applied research. A producer country specified that the workshop would be in French. Delegates supported a consumer country's recommendation to clarify the nature of a proposed regional partnership for cooperation by defining it as a "Type II" partnership initiative for the WSSD.

Final Decision: In the preamble of the final decision (ITTC(XXXII)/24), the Council notes the contributions and recommendations of recent ITTO missions in the region, and acknowledges the importance of the WSSD and the ITTO's commitment to reconcile the trade in tropical timber, the promotion of sustainable development, and the conservation of tropical forest environments.

The ITTC authorizes the Executive Director to participate in Type II partnerships initiatives for the Congo Basin and engage in concrete actions along with other partners. It also requests the Executive Director to report to Council sessions on any agreements reached under the Congo Basin Initiative, and to organize a workshop to develop a regional applied research programme and identify appropriate implementation approaches or this programme; and decides to contribute to the development of a regional strategy for improving the management of forest concessions, with particular attention to the impact of industrial timber logging on local communities and transboundary sites of high priority for biodiversity based on ITTO Guidelines.


On Thursday, 16 May, the Council briefly considered progress toward ITTO Objective 2000 (ITTC(XXXII)/8 and 9). Executive Director Sobral described activities being undertaken to assist member countries in achieving Objective 2000, including implementing national workshops to provide training on ITTO C&I, and urging member countries to provide reports using the format approved by the Council. No decision was taken on this issue.


On Monday, 13 May, Markku Simula, Finland, outlined the findings of an overview paper on certification and outcomes of the April 2002 ITTO International Workshop on Comparability and Equivalence of Forest Certification Schemes, which concluded that:

  • tropical producers are lagging behind in certification but are committed to SFM;
  • certification can help control illegal logging and trade and reduce deforestation;
  • there is no consensus on the need for mutual recognition;
  • national certification schemes ensure local specificity but suffer from uncertainty about recognition;
  • a phased approach could be a feasible solution for tropical producers to gain recognition in efforts to implement certification; and
  • regional initiatives are useful for developing comparable standards and mobilizing support for tropical producers.

The workshop also formulated recommendations for ITTO action including to:

  • support capacity building;
  • monitor progress in comparability and equivalence of certification systems;
  • keep members informed on international frameworks of mutual recognition;
  • facilitate discussion on the feasibility of a phased approach;
  • recognize certification's contribution to controlling illegal logging and trade; and
  • support regional certification initiatives.

Delegates commented on the report of the workshop (ITTC(XXXII)/10) in a Council session on Tuesday, 14 May. Several producer countries supported a phased approach to certification, with the EU and the Global Forest Policy Project calling for further conceptual deliberations, and Ghana emphasizing targets to ensure credibility. Japan, supported by the Republic of Korea, proposed that the report be used as a reference document for certification schemes. Japan recommended that the ITTO support certification schemes in producer countries as well as capacity building and training. Malaysia said the ITTO should enhance regional efforts and initiatives. Switzerland, with the EU and Gabon, recognized that certification and chain of custody can assist in combating illegal logging. Switzerland called for a special ITTO action plan on certification as an attachment to the Yokohama Action Plan. The EU called for mutual recognition between certification schemes. Highlighting certification as a market-based tool for promoting SFM, the US, with Papua New Guinea, said the ITTO should not endorse or be perceived to endorse any certification schemes. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) expressed strong interest in sharing its expertise and in collaborating with the ITTO to increase the capacity of producer countries to engage in the international certified forest product marketplace.

Delegates negotiated a decision on certification in the Chair's drafting group and smaller drafting groups on Thursday and Friday, 16-17 May. In the drafting group, delegates debated the decision's title, with some delegates stressing that it should reflect that phased approaches to certification be implemented at the country level. Delegates ultimately agreed to call it "The Potential Role of Phased Approaches to Certification in Tropical Timber Producer Countries as a Tool to Promote SFM." Regarding proposed preambular language recognizing that the ITTO should not endorse any particular certification scheme, one consumer country preferred specifying that the ITTO should not "endorse, develop or adopt" any particular scheme. Others opposed the addition, and after informal consultations, the Chair proposed that the ITTO should not endorse, "create" or adopt any particular certification approach or scheme, but delegates could not agree. This matter was the only text that remained bracketed until the closing session.

On whether a proposed study should investigate "phased approaches to SFM that could lead to certification" or "phased approaches to certification that could lead to SFM," delegates ultimately agreed to call for a study on "the potential of phased approaches to certification as a tool to promote SFM," as per attached terms of reference. Regarding proposed regional consultations on certification and SFM, some delegates preferred to convene workshops. While some delegates recommended that the workshops focus on phased approaches to certification, others suggested this would prejudge the results of the study, and delegates agreed instead that three regional workshops should disseminate and discuss the results and implications of the study and make recommendations to ITTC-34.

Final Decision: In the preamble of the final decision (ITTC(XXXII)/25), the ITTC recognizes, inter alia:

  • that the ITTO as an international organization should not endorse, create or adopt, or be perceived to endorse, any particular certification approach or scheme, including any accompanying standards developed for the purpose of certification;
  • forest certification as an important voluntary market-based tool to encourage and create incentives for SFM and improve market transparency;
  • that while the ITTO C&I were developed to assess progress toward SFM, performance standards would be required for the purposes of certification;
  • that many tropical timber producing countries have made considerable progress toward SFM, and at the same time those countries account for a very small percentage of all certified forests;
  • that in many tropical timber countries there is a wide gap between the existing level of management and what is required by certification;
  • that tropical timber countries face many institutional, social, human resource and financial constraints to achieving SFM; and
  • the potential role of regional consultations in advancing discussions on comparability and equivalence among certification schemes and in assisting tropical timber producing countries to meet SFM standards and achieve certification.

The Council decides to:

  • authorize the Executive Director to engage two consultants, one from a producer and a consumer country each, to undertake a study on the potential of phased approaches to certification as a tool to promote SFM;
  • authorize the Executive Director to convene three regional workshops to disseminate and discuss the results of the study, with recommendations to ITTC-34;
  • request the Executive Director to facilitate improved understanding, information-sharing and dialogue between interested parties from both producer and consumer countries on phased approaches; and
  • encourage Member countries to support proposals for national capacity building to engage in forest certification in producer Member countries. The decision also contains annexes that lay out the terms of reference for the consultants to prepare the study, and for the three regional workshops to be convened.


Delegates discussed the desirability of and work on an ITTO long-term strategic plan on Tuesday afternoon, 14 May. Switzerland said that the issue should be revisited under the new agreement, and recommended that a working group discuss the new agreement instead of a long-term strategic plan. Some delegates, including the European Community, said that the current agreement should be extended to 2006, as negotiations are time-consuming. The US opposed embarking on negotiations of a new agreement at this point, but suggested a working group could assess planning for the future. Indonesia, Japan and China opposed working on a long-term strategic plan at this point. No decision was taken on this issue.


On Tuesday, 14 May, delegates heard a progress report on the implementation of the ITTO work programme for 2002 (ITTC (XXXII)/11). There were no comments on the report, and no decision was taken on this issue.


The Secretariat presented the Draft Annual Report for 2001 (ITTC(XXXII)/4) to the Council on Tuesday, 14 May. Delegates did not comment on the report, and no decision was taken on this issue.


A joint Committee session was convened briefly on Monday, 13 May, to discuss the Report of the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals (CEM, CRF, CFI(XXX)/1), and to review general points presented by the expert panel related to: support for conferences and meetings; pre-projects; projects; relevance to ITTO; logical framework; budget; presentation; ITTO context; and sustainability. Regarding relevance to ITTO and regarding proposals related to non-timber forest products, China stressed that development of such products should be an ITTO priority area. Switzerland said project proposals should address gender-related aspects, and said the manual for project formulation should address better comparability between the ITTO and the GEF.

Annual Market Discussion: The Annual Market Discussion was conducted on Tuesday, 14 May, in a joint Committee session. Dani Pitoyo, Indonesian Wood Panel Association (APKINDO), described current trends and issues in the Indonesian timber sector, and stressed the need to ensure market access for Indonesian forest products.

Totok Lestiyo, APKINDO, discussed Indonesian industry experiences with certification. He outlined a memorandum of understanding between the FSC and LEI, an Indonesian ecolabel, which includes a joint certification protocol. He stressed that the greatest challenge is to make forest management financially viable. He called on the ITTO to encourage accreditors to use national C&I in accordance with national forest conditions and regulations, and to provide technical support to concession holders to achieve certification of SFM.

Patrick Moore, Greenspirit, challenged allegations that commercial logging and forestry activities are responsible for species extinction and that the pulp and paper industry is responsible for forest loss. He suggested that clear-cuts are more biodiverse than meadows, said history has shown that forests regenerate by themselves after total destruction or severe disturbances, and stated that deforestation is not an "evil plot," but is necessary to provide food and housing for human beings. He criticized environmental NGOs' appeals to use less wood, stating that wood is the most renewable and environmentally friendly of all materials, and highlighted plantation forests as a model for sustainable development. He suggested that certification places excessive demands on developing producer countries, and highlighted the fact that most of the certified forests are non-tropical forests in developed countries.

In an ensuing debate, the Global Forest Policy Project highlighted FSC certification as a useful tool to bridge different interests in forest management and, supported by the Netherlands and the US, stressed the need for more balanced market discussions that also include the perspectives of environmental groups. The Netherlands stressed the need to understand that different conditions in temperate and tropical forest ecosystems require different management techniques, and called for greater nuance in discussions on forestry practices. The US highlighted the keynote speaker's role as a provocateur and advocated efforts to bridge conflicting perspectives as a more constructive way forward.

Ivan Tomaselli, Brazil, addressed trends and current issues in the Brazilian timber sector, highlighting the need to promote tropical timber products and the need to promote tropical timber products, increase productivity in the production chain, apply more effective regulation, and remove trade barriers.

Jim Bourke, Consultant, highlighted the decline in tropical timber trade, and outlined challenges, including uncertainty, changing forest management, and trade disruption, as well as opportunities, such as climate change and payments for environmental services. He suggested that ITTO's activities could be improved by identifying clear priorities based on the Yokohama Action Plan and focusing on outputs and follow-up of ITTO studies.

The Secretariat announced that, due to a shortage of time, several remaining statements would not be presented but distributed in writing.

JOINT CEM/CFI SESSION: The CEM and CFI convened in a joint session on Wednesday, 15 May, to discuss matters of common interest, including an inception report of a pre-project for a review of international wooden furniture markets (CFI(XXX)/5). The Committees considered a project idea for improving utilization efficiency in wood industries in the South Pacific, and encouraged further work and preparation of a project proposal. Delegates then discussed the desirability of life cycle analysis (LCA) of tropical timber products as a potential tool for improving the competitiveness of tropical timber. Malaysia said that LCA could be an important marketing tool for all timber and, with others, fully endorsed the ITTO's work on LCA. The FAO informed the Committee of an FAO study on the environmental advantages of wood substitutes in housing. The Committee supported the Secretariat's proposal to review available studies on LCA of tropical timber products, including the FAO study.

Jim Bourke, Consultant, delivered a presentation on creating greater opportunities for tropical timber trade from the ITTO, focusing on the review of ITTO's market or industry-related studies. He said that although the studies produced information and raised awareness, their recommendations were not necessarily clear, specific or easily implementable. He recommended, inter alia:

  • identifying clear priorities for studies;
  • focusing the terms of reference on outputs and feasible follow-up activities;
  • organizing better distribution;
  • promoting action based on studies' outcomes; and
  • identifying policy issues.


The CRF, chaired by Angela Andrade Pérez (Colombia), met throughout the week. The Committee considered the report on completed projects and pre-projects (CRF(XXX)/3). The CRF also considered conclusions and recommendations of an ex-post evaluation report on six ITTO projects in the field of SFM implemented in Latin America (CRF(XXX)/11), which focused on strategic issues related to the projects.

The CRF reviewed a synthesis report on ex-post evaluations of three forest fire-related ITTO projects in Indonesia (CRF(XXX)/13), which noted that a full-time fire management programme in Indonesia was critical. Indonesia advocated drawing up a comprehensive forest fire management action plan involving all stakeholders at all stages. Japan emphasized linkages between forest fires and management of degraded lands. An ex-post evaluation (CRF(XXX)/14) reported on two projects in Malaysia and Indonesia contributing to transboundary biodiversity conservation in a joint conservation area. On the former, it was recommended, inter alia, that the area's management plan be revised, and Malaysia noted the need for a long-term management plan and strengthened collaboration. On the latter, the evaluation stressed realistic design and planning and participation of local stakeholders and decision makers, and Indonesia emphasized strengthening of local capacity. Switzerland called for recommendations on how governments should implement transboundary cooperation.

On Thursday, 15 May, Douglas MacCleerly, US, delivered a report on the results of a working group on ex-post evaluation, which met on Wednesday, 14 May. He said the working group discussed lessons learned related to project design, project implementation, sustainability and dissemination of results. Recommendations included, inter alia:

  • a more proactive role for the Secretariat in identifying and addressing project problems during implementation and notifying the CRF and the ITTC if the ITTO budget is insufficient for proper monitoring;
  • addressing issues related to sound project design and effective stakeholder involvement in pre-project proposals;
  • a more proactive role for the Secretariat in disseminating project results and lessons learned;
  • special attention to evaluating long-term sustainability of projects' effects;
  • a more proactive role for the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals in weeding out poorly designed projects; and
  • inclusion of requirements for technical and performance measures of project implementation in the terms of reference for the financial audit.

Regarding project selection for ex-post evaluation, the Committee adopted a proposal to select projects in the areas of model forests, mangrove forests and reduced impact logging.

The CRF also considered proposals for projects and pre-projects. On policy work, the Committee agreed to postpone discussion of a proposal for a workshop on demonstration areas for the sustainable management of production forests in the tropics until ITTC-33. Regarding the Mangrove Workplan and the possible need for a set of C&I for mangroves, the Committee agreed to defer a decision until after a workshop is convened on the issue. On follow-up on the ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Forests, Japan advocated an operational manual, and Papua New Guinea and others emphasized the need to discuss the Guidelines nationally before deciding on follow-up measures. The Committee also agreed to include forest fire management on the agenda of its next session. The Committee recommended to the Council the approval of twelve projects, inter alia, for: a model forest in Indonesia; management of mangrove forests in Egypt; promoting sustainable use and conservation of valuable timber trees in the Peruvian Amazon; participatory management of residual forests for production of industrial timber in Togo; and sustainable production of national forests under the "Regime of forest concessions" in Brazil. The Committee recommended to the Council the approval of five pre-projects on: a study on conservation, rehabilitation and sustainable management of mangroves in Togo; conservation and sustainable management of mangroves in southern Congo; a global firefighting initiative focused on prevention rather than a cure initiated by Switzerland; promotion of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) within the framework of SFM in local communities in Indonesia; and participatory and integrated project of forest management and reforestation in Togo. The CRF also recommended additional funding for a project on an alternative financing model for SFM in Colombia.

On Friday, 17 May, the Committee approved its draft report to the ITTC (CRF(XXX)/19), with a comment from Japan that a project on participatory management of residual forests in Togo needs further consideration before being approved.


The CEM, chaired by Astrid Bergquist (Sweden), met on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 14, 15 and 17 May. On Tuesday, the Committee considered the report of completed projects and pre-projects (CEM(XXX)/2). The Secretariat informed the Committee that the results of the ex-post evaluation would be presented at the Committee's next session in November and recommended that the ex-post evaluation budget be increased by US$50,000. The Committee then considered a report on projects, pre-projects and activity in progress (CEM(XXX)/3), and agreed to recommend the provision of additional funds for ITTO projects on developing a forest statistics questionnaire and reviewing timber treatment processes in Papua New Guinea. An extension was approved on a project to establish a sustainable tropical forest product information system in China.

The Committee also considered project and pre-project proposals, and approved projects on promoting sustainable management of African forests and utilizing and managing Colombian flora. Regarding a proposal for a project on developing a Brazilian forest certification programme, the US expressed concern that it focused on developing a certification system rather than on developing capacity. The Global Forest Policy Project said the ITTC decision on certification does not give the Council the authority to support specific certification schemes, and lamented the lack of stakeholder participation. Brazil responded that the project concentrates on human capacity building and on developing of C&I, and that some environmental NGOs had been involved. Japan agreed that the ITTO should not support particular certification schemes, and advocated approval of the project. A decision on this project was deferred pending further discussion. On Friday, Brazil informed the CEM that consultations had been conducted on the proposal, and said revisions had been made. The project proposal was then approved.

Regarding a pre-project proposal for technical assistance for the formulation of a forest certification project aimed at the sustainable management of natural and planted forests in Panama, the Committee also requested further consultations. Panama reported on the results of such consultations on Friday, and the CEM decided that this project should be further revised and reconsidered at the next session.

Regarding policy work, the Secretariat updated the Committee on issues relevant to market access, including, inter alia, legislative bills to restrict the use of tropical timber by public institutions, and World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements relevant to trade in timber reached at the Doha Ministerial Conference in 2001. The Committee was informed of discussions at UNFF-2 on matters related to trade and SFM. Delegates then heard a presentation on trade in secondary processed wood products.

Regarding the Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Forest Statistics, the Secretariat noted the finalization of a joint forest sector questionnaire. On considering activities to fill gaps in data, including collecting and analyzing data on plantation resources and enhancing analysis of data on undocumented trade, the Secretariat noted a pre-project proposal on reviewing the Indian timber market as a precedent for India.

The Committee then reviewed its draft report (CEM(XXX)/5). In reference to the Annual Market Discussion, a trade representative requested that the report reflect that time constraints prevented all country reports from being presented. Regarding the section on policy work, a new paragraph was added on creating greater opportunities for tropical timber trade from ITTO's work, which states, inter alia, that: developing a process for reviewing the output of studies would be further considered; follow up actions would be recommended to the Council; and the issue would be further discussed at the next CEM.

The Committee then adopted its report, which contains recommendations that funding be made immediately available for projects and pre-projects approved at this session: promoting SFM of African forests, utilizing and managing Colombian flora, Brazilian forest certification programme, reviewing information on LFA of tropical timber products, and reviewing the Indian Timber Market. The Committee further recommended that funding be made available for the following projects approved at earlier sessions: an educational programme informing the wood products distribution chain on the value of using tropical timber; developing and implementing a pilot project of the forestry statistics information system in the Philippines; developing the Integrated Forestry Compendium in Ghana; analysis of tropical timber production and trade patterns in French-speaking African countries during the 1990's; reviewing Papua New Guinea's timber treatment process; and developing a forest information and statistics center in Honduras. The CEM also recommended that the budget for the ongoing ex-post evaluation of Latin American statistical development projects be increased from US$35,000 to US$50,000.


The CFI, chaired by Candy Green (US), convened on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, l5-17 May. The Committee considered the work completed under several projects. Noting that no project was selected for the ex-post evaluation at the last CFI session, the Committee recommended that the project on non-timber forest products in the Philippines be selected. The Committee took note of project work in progress and reviewed: 27 projects and eleven pre-projects under implementation, six projects and two pre-projects awaiting implementation agreement, and two projects and two pre-projects awaiting financing. After a detailed discussion on certain projects, the CFI recommended, inter alia: a mid-term evaluation of a project on sustainable utilization of raw forest material in the Amazon; provision of assistance for revision of projects on timber and a national saw maintenance center in the Democratic Republic of Congo; extension of projects on utilization of lesser-known forest species in Honduras and on the rubberwood industry in Côte d'Ivoire; and a grace period for a project on non-timber production in Amazon.

The Committee also considered other business, including: the need for the Expert Panel to consider more carefully the consistency of projects and pre-projects with ITTO procedures and objectives; the need to select new members of the Expert Panel from participants who attended project formulation workshops; and an announcement of a workshop on further processing of tropical timber in the Asia-Pacific region on 9-17 July 2002, in Kuala Lumpur. The CFI recommended that the ITTC approve for implementation four projects and three pre-project proposals. The CFI also recommended that the ITTC approve additional funding for a project on forest-based development in the Western Amazon, and urge member countries to contribute funds to finance forest industry pre-projects on development of stress grading rules for tropical timber in the Philippines, utilization of small-diameter logs for bio-composite products, nomenclature of African tropical timber, sustainable management of non-timber forest products in Congo, and promotion of secondary species from forests in Cameroon.


The Committee on Finance and Administration, chaired by Kayoko Fukushima (Japan), met on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 14, 15 and 17 May. Delegates considered the Statements of the Administrative Account (1986-2002) (CFA(XI)/3), which detail producer and consumer members' contributions to the Administrative Budget for 2002, and note arrears in contributions from the Russian Federation, a former ITTC Member. The Secretariat confirmed the US' recollection of a previous agreement to remove these arrears, but noted that a decision has not yet been taken on this matter.

Delegates then considered the Status of the Administrative Account for Financial Year 2002 (CFA(XI)/4). The US requested clarification on the exchange rate used for the budget estimation, cautioning that exchange rate fluctuations could significantly impact the budget, and suggested that a policy be formulated on the rate to be used. The US also expressed concern about the proposed authorization to transfer up to US$200,000 from the Working Capital Account to the Administrative Account should there be a deficit, and the Committee accepted the US amendment to authorize the transfer of US$100,000.

Delegates also considered the Resources of the Special Account and Bali Partnership Fund (CFA(XI)/5), including Switzerland's recent US$2.5 million contribution to the Special Account, and the Auditor's Report for Financial Year 2001 (CFA(XI)/2).

The CFA considered the report of a meeting of the CFA Working Group on New and Increased Funding to the Organization held on Tuesday, 14 May (CFA(XI)/6). The US clarified that her delegation had suggested holding a specific event at a Council session targeted at donors to demonstrate how ITTO activities are relevant to their work, and that the US Government will host a "Friends of ITTO" meeting prior to ITTC-33 to familiarize countries, foundations and others with ITTO's activities. Regarding the Working Group's observation of need for efforts to develop project proposals attracting co-financing or enhance funding opportunities by linking with other institutions, the US stressed the need to work with the CPF to examine such opportunities. The Committee also considered the Auditor's Report for Financial Year 2001 (CFA(XI)/2), and the Report by the Intersessional Working Group on Financial and Administrative Matters (CFA(IX)/7).

At the final meeting of the Committee on Friday, 17 May, the Chair of the CFA introduced the Committee's draft report to the Council. On the possible write-off of arrearages of a former ITTC member, the Committee agreed to the US amendment to note that the CFA concluded that any write-off of arrearage needs to be carefully considered and decided that no action was to be taken at this time. Regarding a paragraph noting the Committee's decision to discuss arrearages in contributions as a separate agenda item at its next session, the Committee agreed to state that the matter be identified as a separate agenda item at the next CFA session and discussed as a matter of possible future action by the Council. Delegates also agreed to text emphasizing the utility of a legal review on any action on this matter to ensure consistency with the ITTA, 1994, and requesting the Secretariat to seek legal advice for such a review.

The Committee agreed to the recommendations to the ITTC contained in its final report, namely to adopt the Report of the Independent Public Accountants on the Accounts of the Organization for Financial Year 2001 (CFA(XI)/2), and authorize the Executive Director to transfer, if necessary, an amount not exceeding US$100,000 from the Working Capital Account to the current account in the Administrative Account to meet the shortfall of funds to implement the Organization's work programme for 2002, until the 12th CFA session. The CFA then adopted its report.


REPORT OF THE CREDENTIALS COMMITTEE: At the closing session on Saturday afternoon, 18 May, Mary Whitlaw (US), Chair of the Credentials Committee, presented the report of the Credentials Committee (ITTC(XXXII)/3), which examined and accepted the credentials of attendance of 38 countries and the EC participating in ITTC-32, and requested the delegation of Congo to submit its credentials to the Secretariat as soon as possible. The Council adopted the report without comment.

REPORTS OF THE ASSOCIATED SESSIONS OF THE COMMITTEES: Astrid Bergquist, Chair of the CEM, presented the report of the 30th session of the CEM (CEM(XXX)/5); Angela Andrade Pérez, Chair of the CRF, presented the report of the 30th session of the CRF (CRF(XXX)/19); Candy Green, Chair of the CFI, presented the report of the 30th session of the CFI (CFI(XXX)/7); and Kayoko Fukushima, Chair of the CFA, presented the report of the 11th session of the CFA (CFA(XI)/7 Rev.1). The Council adopted the reports, some with minor amendments. The Council also considered a decision which contains the list of projects, pre-projects and activities recommended for the Council's approval in the reports of the first three Committees, as well as a decision on the management of the Administrative Budget for 2002, as recommended in the report of the CFA.

PROJECTS, PRE-PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES: Chair Blaser then introduced this decision (ITTC(XXXII)/15). He explained that the procedure by which funds for projects are pledged had been changed at ITTC-32, from the pledging session of old to a coordination process between the Chair and donors, followed by the Chair's announcement at the closing session of the projects and pre-projects for which funds had been pledged. He explained that seven donors (Japan, the US, Switzerland, Australia, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, and the Common Fund for Commodities) had pledged US$8,129,198, and read out the list of pre-projects and projects for which funding was pledged at this session through this new process.

Final Decision: In this decision, the Council decides to:

  • approve 19 projects and ten pre-projects;
  • authorize financing for immediate implementation of 12 projects and four pre-projects approved at ITTC-32 and of another seven projects and four pre-projects as soon as earmarked funds are available in the Special Account; and
  • authorize the release of funds for continued implementation of one project, for another as soon as earmarked funds are available in the Special Account, and for the continued implementation of the Freezailah Fellowship Fund.

It also decides to authorize financing for immediate implementation of various ITTC-32 decisions from resources obtained through voluntary contributions, and of other activities from resources of Sub-Account B of the Bali Partnership Fund (BPF) and/or from resources obtained through voluntary contributions. The decision further:

  • urges members to consider financing those approved projects, pre-projects and activities for which funds are not immediately available;
  • appeals to members to make unearmarked contributions to the Special Account which comprise at least 10% of the total value of their pledges, and to make voluntary contributions to the BPF, particularly Sub-Account B; and
  • requests the Executive Director to continue consultations with potential donors and the Common Fund for Commodities in order to secure financing for those projects, pre-projects and activities for which funds are not immediately available.

MANAGEMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET FOR 2002: This decision (ITTC(XXXII)/20) was then introduced. The Council, recognizing that the possible receipts of contributions from members to the Administrative Budget for the remainder of 2002 might fall short of the estimated total expenditures, and noting that the balance of the Working Capital Account (WCA) presently stands at US$4,155,507, decides to:

  • authorize the Executive Director to transfer, if necessary, not more than US$100,000 from the WCA to the current account in the Administrative Account to meet the shortfall of funds to implement the ITTO's work programme for 2002, until ITTC-33;
  • request members to pay as early as possible and in full their contributions to the Administrative Budget for 2002, as well as all arrears in contributions from previous years;
  • urge the Secretariat to continue to seek cost-saving measures to reduce further the expenditures to the Administrative Budget; and
  • review the status of the Administrative Budget for 2002 at ITTC-33 with a view to determining the net estimated shortfall for the current year at that time.

ITTO FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMME: The Secretariat presented a progress report on the ITTO Fellowship Programme (Freezailah Fellowship Fund) (ITTC(XXXII)/12), which noted, inter alia, that since ITTC-31, 105 fellowships were awarded, with 75% of the awards in the field of reforestation and forest management; 15% in forest industry; and 10% in economic information and market intelligence. It also recommends additional funding of US$210,000 to cover awards and other costs for 2002. The Council then heard and adopted the report of the ITTO Fellowship Selection Panel (ITTC/XXXII)/13), which recommended for approval a list of 28 applications, four in the field of economic information and market intelligence, four forest industry, and twenty in reforestation and forest management. Australia pledged US$10,000, and the US and Japan US$100,000 each for the Fellowship Fund.

SPECIAL ACCOUNT AND BALI PARTNERSHIP FUND: Kayoko Fukushima (Japan), Chair of the CFA, presented the report of the Panel on Sub-Account B of the Bali Partnership Fund (BPF) at its second meeting (ITTC(XXXII)/14). The report notes that at the end of ITTC-31, 23 activities, three pre-projects and three projects totaling US$7,694,157 had been funded from Sub-Account B, and the current available resources of Sub-Account B at ITTC-32 amounted to US$3,279,520. The Panel recommended that the limit for financing at ITTC-32 from Sub-Account B should not exceed US$1.3 million. The Panel further recommended that the following prioritized actions, pre-projects and projects approved by the Council are eligible for financing from Sub-Account B resources:

  • the 24th meeting of the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals;
  • ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Forests;
  • review of information on life cycle analysis of tropical timber production;
  • review of the Indian timber market; and
  • promotion of sustainable management of African forests.

The US signaled that resources of the BPF are decreasing and need to be replenished. She said the US would host a "Friends of the ITTO" meeting in the US prior to ITTC-33 to attract interest in funding ITTO activities. She supported a mechanism to ensure that the BPF meets the ITTO objectives of those it is intended to serve. Switzerland said that US$150,000 would be transferred from the Swiss Trust Fund of the ITTO to the BPF.

DATES AND VENUES FOR UPCOMING ITTC SESSIONS: Chair Blaser announced that ITTC-33 will be held from 4-9 November 2002, in Yokohama, and noted the proposed dates of ITTC-34, to be held in Panama in 2003, had been changed to 12-17 May 2003, to avoid overlap with the third session of the UNFF. Japan proposed that ITTC-35 be held from 3-8 November 2003, in Yokohama.

OTHER BUSINESS: New Zealand called attention to a UNFF intersessional expert meeting on the role of planted forests to be held in New Zealand from 24-30 March 2003. Cuba, an observer to the Organization, reviewed its forest policy and success in reforestation over the last 40 years, and commended the Organization's professionalism. Vietnam, also an observer, said he was particularly impressed by the ITTO Mangrove Workplan and emphasized its relevance to Vietnam. He believed Vietnam would soon become an ITTO member, and asked the ITTO to help organize a workshop on raising awareness on the ITTO in Vietnam.

The Common Fund for Commodities noted its role in funding specific projects and confirmed its commitment to continue to support the ITTO. The Trade Advisory Group stressed its concern with timber certification, emphasized that it does not support any particular certification scheme, and advocated a phased approach to certification. He underscored the severe impacts of illegal logging on trade in timber and called on the ITTO to address the issue.

DECISIONS AND REPORT OF THE SESSION: Chair Blaser introduced the decisions of ITTC-32 for adoption. The decisions on the Civil Society Advisory Group; the ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Forests; the ITTO Mangrove Workplan; projects, pre-projects and activities; and management of the Administrative Budget for 2002 were adopted without comment. On the decision on the ITTO's contribution to the WSSD, delegates added language stating that the message should be on behalf of the ITTO Council, and that the preamble should refer to the linkages between trade and sustainable development rather than those between trade, sustainable development and environment. The Chair reported that Japan and the US had pledged voluntary contributions of US$25,000 each to finance an ITTO side event at the WSSD.

On the decision on the organization of work under the ITTA, 1994, Finland preferred, and Brazil supported, that the Chair and the Vice-Chair of the ITTC participate in the intersessional working group on the organization of work rather than the spokespersons of the caucuses. With this amendment, the decision was adopted. Chair Blaser noted that Japan and the US each had provided US$30,000 for the decision's implementation.

On the decision on forest law enforcement in Africa, the Central African Republic and the US noted the omission of a reference to the "environmental" significance of the timber trade in many African countries. Chair Blaser noted contributions from the US of US$25,000 and Japan of US$25,000 to meet the financial requirements of this decision, and the decision was adopted.

On the decision on SFM in the Congo Basin, delegates added language recognizing the economic and social, as well as the environmental significance of the timber trade in the African countries, and authorizing the Executive Director to participate in the "Type II" partnership initiatives. The Council adopted the decision, and voluntary contributions of US$252,000 were pledged by Japan (US$127,000) and the US (US$125,000).

On the decision on certification, Indonesia proposed, and delegates agreed, to remove the brackets and retain the text recognizing that the ITTO should not "endorse, create or adopt, or be perceived to endorse, any particular certification approach or scheme." Chair Blaser reported that Japan had pledged the full US$297,980 to implement the decision, and the Council adopted the decision.

CLOSING STATEMENTS: Several speakers expressed thanks the Governments and people of Indonesia and Bali, the ITTO Executive Director and Secretariat, ITTC Chair Jürgen Blaser, and others. Brazil saluted the spirit of cooperation that enabled ITTC-32 to accomplish so much, and highlighted the particular importance of the decision to create the CSAG. He thanked the TAG for the lively debate engendered at the annual market discussion, and stressed the importance of heeding those willing to challenge conventional wisdom. The Philippines, on behalf of ASEAN, welcomed Vietnam to join as a full member of the Council at ITTC-33. Côte d'Ivoire lauded the energy and commitment of the ITTO, particularly its support for projects in producer countries. She thanked donors and the ITTO for their financial support, but noted that it is diminishing and that many projects lack funding, and appealed to those hesitant to provide financial support to assist producer countries in achieving SFM.

Colombia underscored the importance of this session, which he said has demonstrated the importance of the ITTO. He expressed his conviction that the ITTO has a promising future, and called on donor countries to redouble their efforts to support it and its projects. The EC emphasized the importance of the decisions taken at ITTC-32 as a result of the spirit of cooperation demonstrated by the Council, and stated that the Organization should continue to exist and work hard to achieve the objectives its members have set out. Ghana underscored the need to sustain the cooperation between producer and consumer countries exhibited at this session in order to strengthen the ITTO and maintain its momentum in advancing the sustainable management of forests in tropical countries.

Japan said he hoped the activities to emerge from the decision on SFM in the Congo Basin would help countries work toward Objective 2000, and that this decision as well as that on the WSSD would contribute to the Johannesburg Summit. He welcomed progress by the Council to improve the ITTO's overall efficiency. Guatemala highlighted an upcoming meeting on C&I to be held in 14-18 October in Guatemala.

Finland, speaking for the consumer caucus, stressed the need for negotiations to be based on discussions in the Council or the joint caucus in order to avoid misunderstanding and lack of transparency. She said that on sensitive issues, a mechanism should be created for a thorough exchange of views before embarking on negotiations. She said the Chair's proposal to have a discussion on the ITTO's role in certification at ITCC-33 was an example of such a mechanism. She said consumers believe the CSAG decision will be a useful tool to improve the ITTO's credibility, visibility and reputation.

Indonesia, on behalf of the producer caucus, welcomed the CSAG decision, highlighting the vital roles that civil society organizations, including environmental groups, play in supporting efforts to achieve SFM. He praised the Council for stressing mangroves as one of many tropical forest types that are heavily degraded. Regarding certification, he requested to put on record that voluntary certification means otherwise for producers, as they must certify their forests to be able to sell their forest products.

In his closing remarks, Chair Blaser highlighted the Session's significant decisions on: forming a Civil Society Advisory Group; Guidelines on Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Forests; initiatives for the Congo Basin; and the Mangrove Workplan. Noting the difficulties in the certification negotiations, he called for a fundamental discussion on ITTO's role with respect to certification at ITTC-33. He highlighted issues for consideration at ITTC-33, including the ITTO's role in international forest-related initiatives, particularly with the CPF in relation to the Convention on Biological Diversity's work programme on forest biodiversity; the ITTA renegotiation; the organization of work; and legally produced timber and declaration of origin. He emphasized that the ITTO's work is becoming increasingly effective, relevant and appreciated. He called the meeting to a close at 2:24 pm.


As Chair Blaser brought ITTC-32 to a close by complimenting the meeting's hosts in Bahasa Indonesia, most delegates seemed proud of the achievements of the session, which included important decisions on initiatives in the Congo Basin, the formation of a Civil Society Advisory Group, the renegotiation of the ITTA, mangroves, the organization of work of the Council, and certification. However, undercurrents in the certification discussion and mounting pressure regarding the organization of work of the Council revealed the complexity of issues and challenges facing the ITTO.

This brief analysis will discuss the distinctive character of the ITTO, analyze its role and niche in international forest policy arena, and identify challenges ahead, in particular regarding the organization of the Council's work, the renegotiation of the ITTA, and its implementation of Objective 2000 to have all tropical timber entering international trade come from sustainable sources.

While the ITTO has been characterized by some as a "political backwater" for forest policy development, overshadowed by deliberations in the Intergovernmental Panel and Forum on Forests (IPF/IFF) from 1996-2000, many noted the attendance of Indonesian President Megawati and the participation of a larger number of NGOs at this session as indications that the ITTO is succeeding in its efforts to raise its profile as a relevant and dynamic international organization. Also, the session's decision to establish a Civil Society Advisory Group may indicate a willingness to engage a wider audience and to increasingly focus on the "sustainable" in sustainable forest management. This may serve to attract more international political attention to the work of the Organization. Furthermore, the recent Council decision on law enforcement at ITTC-31 and the two decisions on certification have led to a renewed confidence that the Council will be able to deal substantially with difficult policy issues that have caused deadlock in other forest processes.

The question of the frequency of Council sessions became more of an issue than ever before at ITTC-32. Some donor countries eagerly pushed to cut down to annual sessions, due to the rising costs of attending and organizing the sessions, reduced attendance of delegates due to increasing numbers of forest-related international meetings, and the expanding workload of the Secretariat. Immediately, such a move could seem contradictory and, as many pointed out, may signal to the rest of the world that the ITTO is scaling down its activities at a time when efforts should be increased to address the continuing crisis confronting tropical forests. The challenge is to ensure that the mechanisms of the ITTO's project work, such as the project cycle, and consideration of emerging issues are maintained, while enabling the ITTO Secretariat to devote more time for involvement in collaborative initiatives such as the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which are increasingly soliciting the ITTO's active participation in international efforts to address the problems confronting the world's forests.

Since UNCED's unsuccessful attempt to create a forest convention, many have been searching to find or create a "home" for international forest policy issues. For five years, the IPF/IFF was the primary international body on forests. But now the IPF/IFF process has evolved into the somewhat "disoriented" UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), the Convention on Biological Diversity has expanded its work programme on forest biodiversity, and even the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), also meeting this past week, discussed timber certification schemes. Forests are increasingly being addressed in a piecemeal manner, with different organizations from different perspectives addressing different forest-related issues. Some believe the CPF could be the solution to this piecemeal approach, but this remains to be seen. Others still support the Convention on Biological Diversity as the focal point on forest policy, while some believe that the UNFF has potential, with the proper political support. The question remains what role will the ITTO will play in this medley?

From the ITTA's origin as a commodity agreement with a rather narrow focus on trade, the ITTO's role on the international forest policy stage has broadened over time. The focus remains on tropical timber trade and trade-related issues, but the Organization is placing an increasing emphasis on environmental and social issues. While economic interests still receive much greater attention, as discussions on certification indicated, the need to address the environmental and social issues are increasingly a "fact of life" in international forest trade in tropical timber, and the ITTO seems to be taking this in stride.

It seems evident that the ITTO will continue to make contributions to the implementation of the IPF/IFF proposals for action in tropical timber producing countries, and possibly also to the CBD's recently-agreed work programme on forest biodiversity. This may be amplified by the designation of the ITTO as a focal point on trade within the CPF, and in this way, a future role for the ITTO as an implementing agency of such international political processes on forests is a possibility. This could prove to serve these agreements well given the ITTO's ability to enable implementation through its project work. Compared to UNFF and CBD sessions, the ability to support action on the ground – to "put its money where its mouth is" – is very present at ITTC sessions, and is a source of pride for many ITTO members.

Another unique dynamic of the ITTO is the grouping of member countries into producers and consumer caucuses. In comparison to other forest processes dominated by more classical UN negotiating groups, this seems to enable more efficient coordination within the caucuses, as the countries within the caucuses, particularly the producer caucus, have more common interests, which allow for more honest negotiations within the Council. This, together with the availability of funds for implementation, also seems to free ITTC negotiations from the "paranoia" between those countries harboring the forests and those concerned with their sustainable development, that particularly encumber UNFF discussions.

ITTC-32 took place at the same venue and just one week before the final Preparatory Committee meeting for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The Council did develop substantive written inputs to the WSSD process, as did the CBD and UNFF at their recent sessions. The message to the WSSD merely highlights the ITTO's activities to promote action on the ground. While this could indicate that the ITTO still does not perceive itself as part of the sustainable development agenda, others might say that the ITTC, with its decision to present its initiative for the Congo Basin as a "Type II" partnership initiative at the WSSD, is instead showcasing its focus on action rather than words.

Looking ahead, the coming renegotiation of the ITTA, 1994 at the latest in 2006, will by nature be fundamental to the future of the ITTO. The option of ending the agreement by then seems very unlikely at this point, and ideas about the future content of the ITTA are at a very early stage of development. Some speculate, however, on how the renegotiation will be timed in relation to the negotiations on parameters for a legally binding framework on forests within the UNFF, as the result of these negotiations may have implications for the ITTO's niche in the future international forest policy arena.

From an outsider's point of view, the ITTO's ability to develop policy and channel significant funds to forest projects promoting sustainable forest management on the ground may seem impressive. However, as the Objective 2000 is still on the distant horizon, it remains to be seen if the ITTO's attempt to bridge trade and environmental concerns will be successful.


FOURTH SESSION OF THE PREPARATORY COMMITTEE FOR THE WSSD: PrepCom IV will take place from 24 May - 7 June 2002, in Bali, Indonesia. For more information, contact: Andrey Vasilyev, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:; Major groups contact: Zehra Aydin-Sipos, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963-1267; e-mail:; Internet:

WORLD LAND AND FIRE HAZARDS CONFERENCE: This conference will meet from 10-12 June 2002, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. For more information, contact: Protemp Exhibitions Sdn Bhd; tel: +603-77272828; fax: +603-77272566; e-mail:; Internet:

PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE AFRICAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT AND GOVERNANCE (FLEG): This closed meeting will take place in Congo-Brazzaville from 18-20 June 2002, and is intended to prepare for the African Ministerial Conference on FLEG, which will take place in early 2003. For more information, contact: Kerstin Canby, World Bank; tel: +1-202-473-1407; e-mail:

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development will take place from 26 August-4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more information, contact: Andrey Vasilyev, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:; Major groups contact: Zehra Aydin-Sipos, DESA; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963-1267; e-mail:; Internet:

MALAYSIAN TIMBER MARKETING CONVENTION: This convention, to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 24-25 September 2002, will provide a forum to meet potential business partners from at least 20 different countries and all sectors of the Malaysian timber industry. For more information, contact: MTMC 2002; tel: +603-92821778; fax: +603-92821789; e-mail:; Internet:

CONFERENCE ON BRINGING BACK THE FORESTS – POLICIES AND PRACTICES FOR DEGRADED LANDS AND FORESTS: This conference will take place from 7-10 October 2002, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and will address solutions to rehabilitation challenges in the forests and grasslands of Asia and the Pacific. For more information, contact: Alias Abdul Jalil, Malaysia Forest Research Institute; tel: +603-62722516; fax: +603-6277-3249; e-mail:; Internet:

CONTRIBUTION OF CRITERIA AND INDICATORS TO SFM: A WAY FORWARD: This conference, tentatively scheduled for 14-18 October 2002, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, is being organized as a follow-up to recommendations made by the Expert Meeting on C&I for SFM held in Rome in 2000. For more information, contact: Glenda Lee, Coordinator, Local Organizing Committee; tel: +502-379-9830; fax: +502-475-4407; e-mail:; Internet:

FRIENDS OF THE ITTO: This donor meeting will take place in Washington, DC, prior to ITTC-33, the dates and venue have yet to be finalized. The intent is to attract donor interest in ITTO activities. For more information, contact: Candy Green, US Department of State; tel: +1-202-647-3078; fax: +1-202-736-7351; e-mail:

33RD SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER COUNCIL: ITTC-33 will meet from 4-9 November 2002, in Yokohama, Japan. For more information, contact: International Tropical Timber Organization; tel: +81-45-223-1110; fax: +81-45-223-1111; e-mail:; Internet:

Further information