Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 24 No. 11
Thursday, 07 November 2002
WEDNESDAY, 6 NOVEMBER
On Wednesday, delegates convened in Council and
Committee sessions. The Council met in the morning and in the
afternoon to address progress on Objective 2002, sustainable forest
management (SFM) in the Congo Basin, forest law enforcement and
governance (FLEG) in Africa, matters related to Article 46 of the
1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), and
certification. In the afternoon, the Committee on Reforestation and
Forest Management (CRF) addressed, inter alia, forest fires,
demonstration areas and the work programme for 2003. The Committees
on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM) and Forest
Industry (CFI) held a joint session to discuss policy work. The
Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) considered, inter
alia, a revised draft 2003 budget and a draft decision on the
2002 administrative budget management.
OBJECTIVE 2000: Sustainable forest management in
Brazil: Markku Simula, Finland, presented a report on achieving
sustainable forest management (SFM) in Brazil (ITTC(XXXIII)/ 17).
BRAZIL said economic incentives are essential to promote SFM,
highlighting tax reform and a domestic credit system to promote
forest rehabilitation. FRANCE emphasized the need to professionalize
the forest sector.
SFM in the Central African Republic:
Paul Vantomme, FAO, presented a report on an ITTO Mission in the
Central African Republic (ITTC(XXXIII)/18), highlighting
recommendations including institutional strengthening, local
communities involvement and education, and regional cooperation. The
US recommended that the ITTO strengthen its cooperation with the
Congo Basin countries. ITTC Chair Blaser called for further research
on factors limiting progress towards Objective 2000 and SFM, and
urged the submission of national reports on the matter.
SFM IN THE CONGO BASIN: Henri Djombo,
Minister of the Economy, Forestry and the Environment of Congo,
presented an SFM partnership in the Congo Basin. He announced plans
to develop a Pan-African certification system and recommended an
international consensus on a phased approach to certification.
ITTO Executive Director Sobral introduced an
overview of the Congo Basin Partnership (ITTC(XXXIII)/13) and a
review of experiences in forest management partnerships in the Congo
Basin (ITTC(XXXIII)/14). He highlighted data collection and
promotion of ITTO criteria and indicators (C&I) for SFM, and
proposed a budget increase of $1.5 million per year for projects.
The Secretariat reported on a regional strategy
to improve concessions management, based on participatory management
schemes and networks of forestry training agencies. The US stressed
its leadership and involvement in the Congo Basin Partnership and
commended ITTO’s support to the Partnership.
FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT IN AFRICA: Dirk
Bryant, Global Forest Watch, reported on a data collection
initiative in the Congo Basin, and overviewed the use of remote
sensing and geographic information systems to monitor forest
concessions, promote transparency and strengthen the information
base for SFM.
Minister Djombo introduced a document on a data
collection intiative in the Congo Basin (ITTC(XXXIII)/12), stressing
that many African countries lack the means to implement and enforce
forest law. He said the goals of the African Forest Law Enforcement
and Governance (AFLEG) process include fostering political will to
strengthen law enforcement and promoting cooperation. He said the
upcoming AFLEG ministerial meeting will negotiate an action plan and
a political declaration, and expressed hope that international and
intra-African trade of forest products will promote SFM. The WORLD
BANK outlined the history of the FLEG process in Asia and Africa,
and plans for similar processes in other regions. The US said that
ITTO can contribute greatly to the FLEG process.
MATTERS RELATING TO ARTICLE 46 OF ITTA, 1994:
New and emerging issues: Rubin Guevara-Moncada, Honduras,
presented new and emerging issues of relevance to the ITTC and a
future ITTA (ITTC(XXXIII)/6), highlighting: demand for timber from
legal and sustainable sources; South-South trade; foreign direct
investment in the South; interest in non-timber forest products and
environmental services; and genetically modified organisms and
invasive species. Regarding a new ITTA, Guevara-Moncada said members
should consider, inter alia, the implications of including
high value-added products and environmental services within the
scope of the new agreement, and consolidating the objectives of
ITTO.The PHILIPPINES, GHANA and the EU expressed concern with
expanding ITTA’s scope. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA requested that the
ITTO’s future be decided by consensus. MALAYSIA recommended that the
ITTO remain a commodity organization and stressed the need for
market access. NEW ZEALAND underscored the importance of, inter
alia, C&I for SFM, certification, clean development mechanism
reforestation initiatives, and complementarities between timber and
non-timber forest products. The EU recommended that poverty
alleviation be a central goal of the new ITTA. PAPUA NEW GUINEA and
GHANA highlighted the importance of forest products for poverty
alleviation, with PAPUA NEW GUINEA recommending that SFM remain a
core ITTO objective. SWITZERLAND stressed the need for compliance
and enforcement mechanisms.
Process and schedule of Council sessions and ITTA
renegotiations: The Secretariat introduced recommendations from
the Informal Advisory Group on a process and schedule for Council
sessions and ITTA renegotiations (ITTC(XXXII)/2 Annex). JAPAN,
supported by NEW ZEALAND, the EU and BRAZIL, called for completing
negotiations by 2005. FINLAND, NEW ZEALAND, the EU and the
PHILIPPINES recommended informal joint consumer/producer meetings
prior to ITTC-34. The US suggested, inter alia, preliminary
processes to seek members’ views on the ITTA scope and text.
SWITZERLAND suggested that negotiations be co-chaired by
representatives from consumer and producer countries. Chair Blaser
highlighted the need for a resolution on extending the ITTA, 1994.
CERTIFICATION: On a report on phased
certification (ITTC(XXXIII)/9), JAPAN said that certification can
help curb illegal logging, and suggested studying the use of
existing certification standards. INDONESIA supported phased
certification in both producer and consumer countries, and called
for consistency of national certification schemes, and separating
auditing and consulting to prevent conflicts of interest. The US
said that SFM does not require certification, and opposed ITTO
endorsement of any certification scheme. SWITZERLAND and GHANA
supported certification and called for partnerships between the
private sector and NGOs. NEW ZEALAND noted a conflict between the
ITTO’s intention to facilitate certification and its reluctance to
endorse any particular scheme. CAMEROON and the EU questioned the
need for phased certification, with CAMEROON recommending "direct"
certification. The UK called for analyzing the pros and cons of
differentiating stages of compliance with SFM. MALAYSIA called for
consumer flexibility on standards and, with MEXICO, supported phased
approaches. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA cautioned against high and
inflexible certification standards. The REPUBLIC OF CONGO opposed
giving full control over certification to forest owners. The FOREST
STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL called for flexible approaches, and the
ASSOCIATION OF INDONESIAN FOREST CONCESSION HOLDERS for compliance
COMMITTEE ON REFORESTATION AND FOREST MANAGEMENT
PROJECTS AND PRE-PROJECTS WORK PROGRESS: The
US said that informal consultations led to termination of the SFM
project in Panama. The Committee extended a project on forest fire
management in Côte d’Ivoire.
POLICY ISSUES: Forest fires: Delegates heard
presentations on: current efforts and options for ITTO projects on
forest fire management; the upcoming International Wildland Fire
Conference and Wildland Fire Summit; and cooperation between the
ITTO and the Global Fire Monitoring Centre. The US said forest fire
management is an essential SFM tool and, with the PHILIPPINES,
stressed the need for community-based approaches. He called for
addressing the underlying socio-cultural causes of forest fires. The
EU stressed the need for a holistic approach to land-use planning.
The Secretariat introduced, and delegates supported, a draft
decision on forest fires including provisions on assistance to
producer countries to evaluate management solutions and develop
project and pre-project proposals. CAMEROON and other African
countries stressed the need for awareness raising programmes.
Demonstration areas: The Secretariat
presented, and the CRF approved, a proposal for a workshop on
demonstration areas for sustainably managed production forests, to
develop conceptual and operational frameworks. CAMEROON offered to
host the workshop. The NETHERLANDS and PAPUA NEW GUINEA proposed
including certified forests as demonstration areas. VANUATU
suggested a follow-up study of workshop results. The EU and the UK
opposed project budget cuts.
WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2003: The CRF considered a
draft work programme for 2003 (ITTC(XXXIII)/16) and approved
activities including: monitoring implementation of C&I and the
implications of climate change policies; a workshop on conservation
and sustainable management of mangroves; and assessing the costs and
benefits of plantations.
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC INFORMATION AND MARKET
POLICY WORK: Susan Braatz, United Nations
Forum on Forests (UNFF), outlined work on SFM, trade and illegal
logging prevention, and encouraged ITTO to participate in UNFF’s
trade-related activities. The Secretariat provided an overview of
activities of the Inter-Secretariat Working Group on Forest
Statistics, and reviewed relevant elements of the 2002 work
programme (ITTC(XXXIII)/15) and the draft work program for 2003
DATES AND VENUES OF FUTURE SESSIONS:
Delegates agreed that the next three CEM sessions be convened
alongside the 34th, 35th and 36th sessions of the ITTC.
PROJECT AND PRE-PROJECT PROPOSALS: Delegates
continued reviewing project and pre-project proposals and approved:
project proposals from Guatemala on the promotion of trade in
certified timber, from Thailand on developing decision support
tools, and from Indonesia on consolidating SFM certification; and a
pre-project proposal from Panama on technical assistance for
national certification procedures. The US expressed reservations
regarding the Indonesian project proposal.
JOINT COMMITTEE SESSION CEM/CFI
POLICY WORK: Delegates considered reports on:
market access for tropical timber (ITTC(XXXIII)/8), the
international wooden furniture market, and activities to fill gaps
in data collection and analysis on plantation resources. They heard
a presentation on an International Trade Centreï¿½s web-based tool for
product market analysis. INDONESIA, inter alia, stressed the
need to combine market access with institutional improvements and/or
forestry industry reforms.
The Secretariat presented a document on
activities on international technical and environmental standards
(CFI(XXXI)). The PHILIPPINES supported continuing work on this
issue, and GHANA stressed the need for harmonizing existing
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
DRAFT ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET FOR 2003: The
Secretariat introduced a revised draft administrative budget for
2003 (CFA(XII)/2/Amend.2) providing for a 3.58% budget increase.
JAPAN raised concerns over a 5.35% increase in Secretariat staff
salaries. MALAYSIA noted that the increase was the lowest possible.
The EU and BRAZIL cautioned against over-cuts in the budget that may
undermine ITTOï¿½s efficiency. The UK, CHINA, and JAPAN raised
concerns over the increase, but approved the revised budget.
2002 ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET: The Secretariat
introduced a draft decision on the management of the administrative
budget for 2002 (ITTC(XXXIII)), authorizing ITTO Executive Director
to transfer up to US$300,000 from the Working Capital Account to the
Administrative Account to meet the shortfall.
OTHER BUSINESS: The Secretariat noted that
the issuance of Panamanian visas for ITTC-34 may be problematic.
PANAMA explained that discussions were already underway to
facilitate issuance of visas upon arrival.
IN THE CORRIDORS
An unexpectedly long Council session led some
delegates to speculate that prolonging sessions beyond schedule was
a deliberate move to allow time to resolve outstanding controversies
on certification and the future of the ITTA, "in the corridors."
Despite discussions on certification and their recent formal
involvement in ITTC proceedings through the Civil Society Advisory
Group, some NGO delegates expressed lack of enthusiasm for ITTC-33,
while acknowledging that procedural issues on ITTAï¿½s renegotiation
and streamlining of ITTOï¿½s work are necessary for institution
strengthening. Some delegates wonder why environmental NGOs have
returned in such large numbers, noting that they have offered few
contributions thus far.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
TRADE ADVISORY GROUP MEETING: The Trade Advisory
Group will meet at 9:00 in the Secretariat Meeting Room.
COMMITTEE SESSIONS: The CFI will meet from
9:30-10:30 in the Committee Room to, inter alia, finalize
work on projects and pre-projects and adopt its report.
DRAFTING GROUP MEETINGS: An Open-ended
Informal Drafting Group will convene from 10:30-12:30 and
17:00-18:30 in the Informal Meeting Room.
BALI PARTNERSHIP FUND PANEL MEETING: The
Panel on Sub-Account B of the Bali Partnership Fund will convene
during lunch break in Room 313.
COUNCIL SESSION: The Council will convene
from 13:30-17:00 in the Plenary Hall to, inter alia, continue
discussions on ITTAï¿½s renegotiating process, forest law enforcement,
certification and consider CITES listing proposals.