Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 24 No. 12
Friday, 08 November 2002
THURSDAY, 7 NOVEMBER
On Thursday, delegates met in Committee, Council
and drafting group sessions. The Committee on Forest Industry (CFI)
met in the morning to: continue reviewing progress on projects and
pre-projects; and consider project and pre-project proposals, and
policy work. The Council convened in the afternoon to: continue
discussions on certification and forest law enforcement; consider a
database on trade in bamboo and rattan; review the international
timber situation; and discuss ITTO’s international role. An
open-ended drafting group met in the morning and evening to consider
decisions on, inter alia: the 2003 work programme; public
relations, education and outreach; partnerships for SFM and
certification; extension of the 1994 International Tropical Timber
Agreement (ITTA, 1994); and measures to reduce costs and improve
efficiency of the Organization.
CERTIFICATION: The US stressed the importance
of consistency between project work and ITTO’s policies, and
suggested organizing an informed discussion on certification in the
context of ITTO project work. ITTC Chair Blaser proposed, and
delegates agreed, to consider the proposal at ITTC-34. The European
Community (EC), NEW ZEALAND and INDONESIA supported the proposal,
with INDONESIA requesting a more detailed proposal. PERU suggested
using a disclaimer specifying that ITTO does not endorse any
particular certification scheme when funding certification projects.
CANADA said certification promotes information, and underscored
the need for mutual recognition, and transparent, non-discriminatory
certification schemes, which support broad environmental goals.
DATABASE OF STATISTICS ON TRADE IN BAMBOO AND
RATTAN: Philip Wardle and Maxim Lobovikov, International Network
on Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), presented a report and a project
proposal on establishing an ITTO-INBAR database on trade in bamboo
and rattan (ITTC(XXXIII)/11), including recommendations on
strengthening resource databases, developing national databases, and
improving the coding of the Harmonized System. CHINA, JAPAN and
INDONESIA highlighted the importance of continuing collaboration
with INBAR. The PHILIPPINES recommended that database content should
reflect ITTO’s needs.
FOREST LAW ENFORCEMENT IN THE CONTEXT OF
SUSTAINABLE TIMBER PRODUCTION AND TRADE: Assessing export and import
data: The Secretariat introduced a progress report on a case
study to assess export and import data on tropical timber and
tropical timber products (ITTC(XXXIII)/7), noting slow progress, a
low level of interest from countries, and data discrepancies between
consumer and producer countries. Several countries expressed
commitment to facilitating the case study. The EC stressed that EU
statistics no longer take into account intra-community trade. JAPAN
called for cooperation between exporters and importers in fighting
illegal logging, and studying the causes of data discrepancies. The
PHILIPPINES said data discrepancies may be reduced when value-added
products are taken into account.
Issues affecting market access: Antti
Rytkönen, Finland, reported on issues affecting market access (ITTC(XXXIII)/8),
highlighting tariff and non-tariff measures, subsidies and export
regulation, the international trade regime, multilateral
environmental agreements, government procurement, and certification.
He recommended, inter alia: compiling and analyzing trade
data; monitoring tariff and non-tariff barriers; addressing illegal
trade; promoting criteria and indicators (C&I); filling gaps in
market access knowledge; increasing competitiveness through
sustainable forestry practices; providing incentives for SFM;
harmonizing import requirements and verification systems; reporting
trade barriers to ITTO; and coordinating rules on public
BRAZIL, supported by CÔTE D’IVOIRE and
SWITZERLAND, said market access should be revisited at ITTC-34. The
US stressed the relevance of market access to ITTA renegotiations;
differentiated market access and performance; and called for
identifying possible government actions. JAPAN recommended labeling
and rules of origin to curb illegal logging. MALAYSIA stressed that
substitute materials threaten tropical timber trade. CHINA said
value-added products should be accounted for in future studies and,
with the EC and NEW ZEALAND, said the ITTO should contribute to
market access elements of the WTO Doha process.
Enhancing forest law enforcement: The US
commended Peru for participating in an illegal logging case study,
and said such studies would be useful to the AFLEG process. The
REPUBLIC OF CONGO said it was addressing illegal logging. The EC
said it was considering addressing illegal logging through bilateral
agreements. INDONESIA suggested that the ITTO consider supporting
multilateral, regional and bilateral initiatives on illegal logging.
The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO recommended that the ITTO address
trade in conflict timber.
ANNUAL REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL
TIMBER SITUATION: The Secretariat reviewed the international
timber situation (ITTC(XXXIII)/4), highlighting high consumption in
China and uncertain trends due to lack of data. AUSTRALIA, with
BRAZIL, PERU, the US, and CHINA said more data will be forthcoming.
CITES LISTING PROPOSALS: Delegates agreed to
postpone discussions on CITES listing proposals until the final
ROLE OF ITTO IN INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL
ORGANIZATIONS: Delegates encouraged further activities regarding
ITTO activities in international and regional organizations (ITTC(XXXIII)/10).
GABON and the REPUBLIC OF CONGO called for ITTO support to address
barriers to trade resulting from other international agreements. The
ATO (African Timber Organization) outlined its activities on SFM,
and expressed commitment to collaboration with the ITTO. The UNFF
suggested considering an ITTO and UNFF relationship when
renegotiating ITTA, and outlined synergies between the two
organizations. The WORLD BANK presented its new Forest Policy and
Strategy, including targeted conservation priorities and a
country-ownership approach, and welcomed collaboration with the ITTO.
FAO described progress on harmonizing forest definitions, and
relevant recommendations on adjusting definitions used by the ITTO.
IUCN said that ITTO restoration guidelines enhance ITTO’s role in
international fora. WWF commended ITTO’s work on forest restoration,
certification and SFM, and expressed its readiness for
collaboration. CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL presented its work on
conservation concessions, a mechanism to financially compensate
forest owners and users in exchange for conservation. The FOREST
STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL stressed the need for SFM market incentives,
international certification standards, and partnerships that do not
endorse specific schemes. The UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY invited ITTO
to collaborate on research projects including mangrove forest
protection, and conservation. The INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTRE
encouraged ITTO to collaborate in its bio-trade programme.
COMMITTEE ON FOREST INDUSTRY
PROJECT AND PRE-PROJECTS IN PROGRESS: The US
requested an itemized budget regarding the proposed extension of an
information network project. The REPUBLIC OF CONGO noted obstacles
in implementing a project on timber enhancement through mechanical
PROJECT AND PRE-PROJECT PROPOSALS: The
Committee approved: a project proposal on the processing technology
industry in China; revised project and pre-project proposals on a
sustainable rattan sector in China, and on evaluation of investments
in timber industry in Ghana, respectively. CFI Chair Reyes Lee
explained that the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project
Proposals did not recommend for approval a pre-project proposal on a
solar timber dryer in Thailand, because suitable technologies
already exist. SWITZERLAND argued that existing technologies have to
be adjusted to local conditions, and the Committee approved the
POLICY WORK: Project ideas: Delegates
considered a document on project ideas (CFI(XXXI)/6). GHANA proposed
projects on: the aesthetic value of lesser-used hardwood species;
the use of plant extracts to improve hardwood durability; and
composting sawmill waste for plantation development. The PHILIPPINES
proposed projects on: wood and wood-based components used for
construction; capacity building and the use of information and
communication technology in forest-based industry; and management
and utilization of bamboo resources. SWITZERLAND recommended further
consideration of Ghana’s project idea on composting waste and, with
the US, stressed the need to ensure consistency between project
ideas and ITTO’s mandate.
Progress on activities: The Secretariat
reported on activities related to CFI policy work, including the
approval of a project on increasing utilization efficiency of waste
throughout the production chain in the South Pacific region, and
efforts to prepare an assessment of the benefits of tropical timber
processing in producer countries. The Secretariat proposed a general
study on increasing utilization efficiency and reduction of losses
and waste throughout the production chain. The US recommended that
the study be presented as a project or pre-project proposal.
SWITZERLAND suggested identifying regional or country projects to
follow-up on such a study. The PHILIPPINES recommended analyzing
economic aspects of waste utilization and, with the US, the impact
of increased demand for waste products on the sustainability of
forest use. MALAYSIA stressed the need to assess the amount of waste
available. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA offered to share its experience in
OPEN-ENDED DRAFTING GROUP
MANAGEMENT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE BUDGET FOR 2002:
Delegates agreed to forward to the Council the draft decision on
management of the administrative budget for 2002, with minor
WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2003: Regarding a draft
decision on ITTO’s work programme for 2003, delegates agreed to
delete language which urged members to pay arrears in contributions
and contribute to the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund
because it is addressed in the budget decision.
PUBLIC RELATIONS, EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:
Delegates agreed to forward to the Council the decision on public
relations, education and outreach, with minor amendments, noting
that the activities referred to are specified in the draft 2003 work
EXTENSION OF THE ITTA, 1994: Delegates agreed
to forward to the Council a draft decision on the extension of the
ITTA, 1994 for three years, with minor amendments.
RESOLUTION: Delegates agreed to forward to
the Council a draft resolution remembering the late ITTO translator,
Mr. Lï¿½o Scherman.
PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT OF FOREST FIRE:
Delegates agreed to forward a draft decision on forest fire
management and prevention to the Council, with minor amendments.
Delegates noted that the draft does not cover emergency responses.
MEASURES TO REDUCE COSTS AND IMPROVE THE
EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ORGANIZATION: Delegates
agreed to forward the decision, with minor amendments, to the
Council, after clarifying that members try to submit, whenever
possible, project and pre-project proposals which might generate
regional as well as national benefits.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Informal discussions in the corridors appeared to
generate more enthusiasm for ITTC-33 than did yesterdayï¿½s easy going
Council session. As delegates gathered around the negotiating table
to draft Council decisions into the wee hours, many said they were
still not entirely sure about the positions of a major consumer
country on the issues of illegal logging and certification.
Indications of potential flexibility on these positions, however,
encouraged some delegations to remain hopeful that ITTC-33 would
yield positive results. For their part, some NGOs were not so
bullish, arguing that ITTO has many miles to go before it achieves
its prime objective of operationalizing a flourishing trade in
timber products from sustainably managed forests. Meanwhile, other
NGOs were noticeably more upbeat in their prognoses, saying that
ITTO had come a very long way from the early 1990s.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
COMMITTEE SESSIONS: The Committee on
Reforestation and Forest Management will meet from 9:00-10:00 in the
Plenary Hall, the Committee on Economic Information and Market
Intelligence from 9:00-10:00 in the Committee Room, the CFI from
10:00-11:00 in the Plenary Hall, and the Committee on Finance and
Administration from 10:00-11:00 in the Committee Room, to consider
outstanding matters and adopt their reports.
OPEN-ENDED DRAFTING GROUP: The drafting group
will convene from 11:00-12:00 and 14:00-17:00 in the Informal
Meeting Room to consider draft decisions on partnerships for SFM and
certification, and preparations for renegotiating ITTA, 1994.
PANEL ON SUB-ACCOUNT B OF THE BALI PARTNERSHIP
FUND: the Panel on Sub-Account B of the Bali Partnership Fund
will meet from 13:00-14:00 in Room 313.
CONSULTATIONS WITH DONORS ON PROJECT FINANCING:
Consultations with donors on project financing will be held from
17:00-18:00 in Room 313.
PRODUCER AND CONSUMER GROUP MEETING: The
Producer Group will meet in the Plenary Hall and the Consumer Group
in the Committee Room, from 08:00-9:00 and 12:00-13:00.
OTHER MEETINGS: A meeting on a case study on
assessing exports and import data on tropical timber and tropical
timber products will be held from 9:30-10:30 in the Informal Meeting