Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 24 No. 09
Tuesday, 05 November 2002
MONDAY, 4 NOVEMBER 2002
The opening session of the thirty-third session
of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-33) convened on
Monday to hear opening statements and discuss organizational
matters. A Joint Committee convened briefly in the afternoon, before
the thirty-first sessions of the Committee on Forest Industry (CFI),
the Committee on Reforestation and Forest Management (CFR) and the
Committee on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), and
the twelfth meeting of the Committee on Finance and Administration
Delegates observed a minute of silence in memory
of Hidenobu Takahide, former Mayor of Yokohama, and Léo Scherman,
translator of the Council.
OPENING STATEMENTS: Jürgen Blaser, ITTC
Chair, stressed the success of ITTC-32 and called on delegates to
strengthen ITTO by concentrating on ongoing activities rather than
adopting new substantive decisions. He said areas requiring further
consideration by ITTC-33 include: restoration of degraded and
secondary tropical forests; timber certification; forest law
enforcement; international cooperation; and the status of tropical
forest management. Noting the creation of the Civil Society Advisory
Group (CSAG), he stressed the need for dialogue and cooperation
between producer and consumer countries, and civil society. He
expressed hope that progress would be made on ITTO’s organization of
work and on setting the process and calendar for renegotiating ITTA,
Manoel Sobral Filho, ITTO Executive Director,
welcomed delegates to ITTC-33 and thanked the city of Yokohama for
its continued financial support. He reviewed ITTO’s portfolio of
projects and activities on conservation, sustainable forest
management (SFM), criteria and indicators, restoration and
rehabilitation of degraded areas, forest law enforcement,
participation in international processes, and communication. Sobral
expressed hope that the ITTO would become a niche for certification
and stressed the need for partnerships and improved efficiency. He
noted that forest fires and better reporting of data on trade in
tropical timber require particular attention.
Eisuke Hinode, Parliamentary Secretary for the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, called for a prompt start of
the renegotiation of the Successor Agreement, and stressed the need
for stricter management, and more efficient implementation of ITTO
projects. He welcomed strengthening ITTO’s cooperation with new
partners, including civil society.
Hiroshi Nakada, Mayor of Yokohama, highlighted
the role of Japan and the city of Yokohama in the ITTO process, and
stressed that Yokohama will continue to serve as the ITTO’s
Tetsuo Kato, Director-General, Forestry Agency
Japan, commended ITTO’s achievements. Stressing the need to prevent
illegal logging, he called for internationally-coordinated
activities in this area, developing guidelines, and certification.
Noting the multifunctional role of forests, Kato highlighted Japan’s
forest protection efforts, including its support to producing
countries and the ITTO.
Oben Tanyi Mbianyor, Minister of Environment and
Forests of Cameroon, on behalf of the Congo Basin countries, thanked
the partners facilitating SFM in the region, and outlined efforts to
protect Cameroon’s forests. He emphasized the need for a sustainable
reforestation programme in Cameroon.
José Carlos Carvalho, Minister of Environment of
Brazil, highlighted Brazil’s efforts to ensure SFM based on social
participation in forest conservation and use. He commended broadened
international aid to address Brazilian forestry issues, and called
for further actions on illegal logging, and for projects related to
mahogany in view of CITES priorities. Carvalho highlighted an offer
to open a Central American Regional ITTO office in Brazil. He called
for economic incentives for SFM, and recommended that the ITTO
mandate be extended to sustainable use and management of forest
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates ascertained
the quorum, adopted the meeting’s agenda (ITTC(XXXIII)/1) and
organization of work, and heard reports on the Council’s membership
and the eleventh meeting of the Informal Advisory Group (IAG) (ITTC
XXXIII/2). On the distribution of votes (ITTC(XXXIII/1)Annex), CHINA
questioned the increase of its membership dues. Delegates admitted
all observers, with CHINA noting, and delegates accepting, that the
Chinese Academy of Forestry is not a governmental organization, and
should be listed as an NGO.
JOINT COMMITTEE SESSION
Patrick Hardcastle, Chair of the Expert Panel for
Technical Appraisal, presented the report of the Expert Panel for
Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals (CEM,CRF,CFI(XXXI)/1). He
suggested ways of improving project proposals, and recommended,
inter alia, revising the manual for project implementation, and
better relating project proposals to the purposes of the ITTO.
The US suggested that consumer and producer
countries co-develop proposals. SWITZERLAND and NEW ZEALAND
supported revising the manual, with NEW ZEALAND suggesting that the
Council help countries prepare proposals.
COMMITTEE ON FOREST INDUSTRY
CFI Vice-Chair Fidel Reyes Lee, Guatemala,
introduced, and delegates approved, the provisional agenda (CFI(XXXI)/1),
and admitted observers.
Delegates reviewed the report on completed
projects and pre-projects (CFI(XXXI)/3), and considered a project on
Myanmar’s lesser-known timber species and a pre-project for the
Ecuadorian tropical timber industry environmental management, as
Regarding ex-post evaluation missions, the
Secretariat outlined progress in evaluation of a project on tropical
non-wood forest products in the Philippines. On selecting the
projects for ex-post evaluation, the Secretariat explained that the
only completed project eligible for the evaluation is the project in
Myanmar. Venezuela asked which criteria are used for selecting
projects for evaluation. The Secretariat clarified that the key
criteria are the budget and duration of the project.
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
CFA Vice-Chair Pravit Chittachumnonk, Thailand,
opened the twelfth session of the CFA. Delegates adopted the agenda
and organization of work (CFA(XII)/1) without amendments.
On the review of contributions to the
administrative budget (CFA(XII)/3), delegates took note of requests
by INDONESIA, the PHILIPPINES, and the REPUBLIC OF CONGO that recent
payment of their arrears for 2002 be taken into account.
Regarding the current status of the
Administrative Account (CFA(XII)/4), the US sought clarification on
an expected deficit of US$328,191 for 2002. The Secretariat
explained that the deficit was based on an anticipated lack of
contributions and noted that a draft decision would be prepared.
The Secretariat introduced, and delegates took
note of, the document on resources of the Special Account and the
Bali Partnership Fund (CFA(XII)/5).
On the review of appointment of auditors for 2002
(CFA(XII)/ 6), delegates agreed to re-appoint the current auditor.
CAMEROON noted that some countries do not have the means to run
annual audits. The US questioned whether the issue fell within the
CFA’s mandate, and delegates agreed to refer it to the Council and
On the year 2003 work programme, the Secretariat
explained, and delegates noted, that it was included in the document
on the Council’s work programme (ITTC33/16).
COMMITTEE ON REFORESTATION AND FOREST MANAGEMENT
CRF Chair Angela Andrare Pérez, Colombia,
introduced a report on completed projects and pre-projects (CRF(XXXI)/3).
The Committee heard reports on specific projects,
and discussed problems regarding financial reports, including
unaccounted funds and lack of submission of reports. COLOMBIA
presented a report on a criteria and indicators for SFM (C&I)
project, and stressed the need for information, financial resources,
capacity building, comparisons over time, SFM plans, and rules and
regulations. She recommended, inter alia: keeping C&I
flexible; taking into account economic and cultural factors;
evaluating changes in biodiversity and developing national
biodiversity strategies; and allowing sufficient time before
evaluating implementation. MALAYSIA reported on a project regarding
SFM cost analysis, and provided data on additional costs associated
with SFM. The PHILIPPINES questioned the need for compensation for
financial losses from SFM, noting additional benefits from it. The
CRF considered as completed an SFM project in Bolivia and a
pre-project on forest research base for SFM in Cambodia.
The Secretariat reported on progress in
implementing ex-post evaluations. The Secretariat suggested that the
Committee recommend that the Expert Panel’s recommendation to revise
project formulation and monitoring manuals be included in the draft
ITTC decision on this issue. The US urged progress on ex-post
evaluations, and requested that the Secretariat present elements for
revising the manuals. A draft decision will be prepared.
On projects and pre-projects under implementation
(CRF(XXXI)/4), the CRF considered projects and pre-projects that:
have implementation problems; require additional funds; and request
time extension or essential major modifications of their work plan
and budget. The CRF, inter alia: approved the extension of
the time period and the use of unspent funds for projects on SFM and
human resources development in Indonesia; considered a project on
preparation of a forest management plan in Congo; established a
working group including donors’ representatives to address delays
in, and improper implementation of, the project on SFM in Panama;
granted time extensions for projects supporting development of a
forestry and wildlife law in Peru, and on education and training for
SFM in Fiji; and considered progress in submitting reports on the
projects on timber plantations in Togo, management standards in
Malaysia, and conservation and maintenance of tropical forests
biodiversity in the Philippines and Senegal.
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC INFORMATION AND MARKET
CEM Chair Bergquist, Sweden, introduced, and
delegates adopted, the agenda and organization of work, as well as
Jorge Maluenda, Sweden, introduced the Ex-Post
Evaluation Report (CEM(XXXI)/3) including four projects and one
pre-project which established national forestry statistics systems
in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Panama. He noted that, despite a few
minor problems, each project and pre-project has resulted in
national-level forestry statistics infrastructures and contributed
to the long-term development of forestry in these countries.
Regarding the proposal for a structured approach
to selecting completed projects for ex-post evaluation (CEM(XXXI)/4),
Chair Bergquist recommended, and the CEM agreed, to defer this item
On the review of projects, pre-projects and
activity in progress (CEM(XXXI)/5), the CEM agreed to continue
funding of a project on the market information service for tropical
timber and timber products and allow the training workshops on
tropical forestry and timber trade statistics to apply CEMï¿½s balance
to future training workshops in conjunction with FAO.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Delegates to ITTC-33 started their work in an
optimistic mood bolstered by the recent success of the ITTC-32 and
the unprecedented attendance of some 250 registered participants,
including strong representation from the environmental NGO
Not surprisingly, certification was flagged as
the main substantive issue to be addressed by ITTC-33. Many
anticipated little controversy on substance and expected
process-related issues, such as the renegotiation of the ITTA, 1994
and the streamlining of the ITTOï¿½s work, to be centre stage. Some
delegates were uneasy about the perceived unbalanced composition of
the CSAG, dominated by advocates of a specific certification scheme,
while others criticized its place on ITTCï¿½s agenda, where it has
allegedly outweighed the trade advisory group.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COUNCIL SESSION: The Council will reconvene
at 9.30 am in the Plenary Hall to consider, inter alia, the
Work Programme for 2003, and matters related to Article 46 of the
ITTA,1994 on duration, extension and termination of the Agreement.
COMMITTEES SESSIONS: The CRF and CEM will
meet from 14.30 pm to 17.00 pm in the Plenary Hall and the Committee
Room, respectively. The CFI and the CFA will convene from 17.00 pm
to 19.00 pm in the Plenary Hall and the Committee Room,
PRODUCER AND CONSUMER MEETINGS: The Producer
Group will meet in the Plenary Hall and the Consumer Group in the
Committee Room, both from 08.30 am to 9.30 am.