Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 24 No. 16
Tuesday, 13 May 2003
MONDAY, 12 MAY 2003
Delegates to the 34th session of the
International Tropical Timber Council and related Committee meetings
(ITTC-34) convened in Council and Committee sessions. The Council
heard opening statements, addressed organizational matters and
considered the role of phased approaches to certification. A Joint
Committee session was held to hear the report of the Expert Panel
for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals. The Committees on
Economy and Market Intelligence (CEM) and on Forest Industry (CFI)
convened jointly to review completed projects and pre-projects, and
conduct ex-post evaluations. The Committee on Reforestation
and Forest Management (CRF) reviewed completed projects and
OPENING STATEMENTS: ITTC-34 Chair Bin Che
Yeom Freezailah (Malaysia) welcomed participants and expressed
gratitude to Panama for hosting ITTC-34. Drawing attention to the
upcoming negotiation of a successor agreement to the 1994
International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994), he noted the
need for enhanced cooperation and international assistance, and
stressed that environmental, social and economic dimensions must
remain at the core of the negotiations. He called for balancing
consumer and producer countries’ obligations, noted the role of the
Civil Society Advisory Group and Trade Advisory Group in enriching
the process, and highlighted sensitive sovereignty issues.
Noting that effective implementation of the ITTA,
1994 is difficult, ITTO Executive Director Manoel Sobral presented
the findings of regional workshops aimed at assisting developing
producer countries to build sustainable trade and compete with
temperate forest producers. He called for enhanced collaboration
between the private sector and NGOs to develop criteria and
indicators (C&I) for sustainable forest management (SFM). Sobral
stressed the role of partnerships and recent meetings to increase
market access for tropical timber.
Emile Doumba, Minister of Forest Economy, Water
and Fisheries of Gabon, renewed Gabon’s commitment to the
sustainable management of tropical timber, highlighted a new
forestry code to facilitate this objective, and expressed concern
about illegal logging.
Satyadeow Sawh, Minister of Fisheries, Crops,
Livestock and Forestry of Guyana, underscored the importance of
using best practices in tropical timber production, and introduced
the newly formed Guyana Forest Commission.
Jorge Viana, Governor of the State of Acre,
Brazil, stressed the importance of SFM in the State of Acre and said
that his government wanted to use Acre’s forests to benefit the
people of Brazil, while adhering to the objectives of SFM.
Ricardo Anguizola, National Environment Authority
of Panama, drew attention to the reduced availability of forest
goods and services resulting from deforestation and forest
degradation. He noted that many forest inhabitants experience
poverty, stressed that indigenous knowledge is being lost, and
commended the ITTO for its work on mangrove forests.
Thanking the ITTO for the opportunity to host
ITTC-34, Arturo Vallarino, First Vice-President of Panama, stressed
the importance of conservation, management and sustainable
development of forests and forest resources, and outlined Panama’s
recent policy work in this regard.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates adopted the
meeting’s agenda (ITTC(XXXIV)/1) without amendment. ITTO Executive
Director Sobral announced that the quorum was reached for this
session, and that no changes in membership had been registered since
ITTC-33. Delegates adopted the proposed distribution of votes for
2003 and admitted all States and organizations seeking observer
REPORTS: ITTC-34 Chair Freezailah introduced
the report of the Informal Advisory Group (IAG) (ITTC (XXXIV)/2),
highlighting proposed ITTC-34 decisions. CANADA objected that these
decisions had not been circulated prior to the Council session.
Noting that the ITTA is in a transition period, Chair Freezailah and
SWITZERLAND called for flexibility in this regard.
PHASED APPROACHES TO CERTIFICATION: Markku
Simula, ITTO Consultant, presented the results of regional workshops
on the potential role of phased approaches to certification in
tropical timber producer countries as a tool to promote SFM. He
stressed the need for phased approaches to address practical
constraints to implementing certification, and noted the widespread
interest in phased approaches to certification among all
stakeholders. He suggested that ITTC: endorse the use of phased
approaches; carry out a cost-benefit analysis of certification;
raise awareness among governments on the merits of phased
approaches; and provide support for regional initiatives,
particularly in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Simula also
recommended, inter alia, that governments, where appropriate,
use incentives to promote the implementation of phased approaches
and that the private sector recognize the potential of phased
approaches and actively participate in developing voluntary
standards. BRAZIL stressed that the legal requirements of phased
approaches should be based on domestic legislation. JAPAN said that
certification can play a role in combatting illegal logging and that
mutual recognition of certification schemes is important. CANADA
asked how a country’s level of development would affect the role of
government in implementing phased approaches. SWITZERLAND stressed
the need for action to increase producer access to certification.
JOINT COMMITTEE SESSION
Patrick Hardcastle, Chair of the Expert Panel for
Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals, presented the Expert
Panel’s report (CEM, CRF, CFI (XXXII)/1), highlighting, inter
alia, poor problem analysis and translation into logical
frameworks for action, missing background information, and the large
number of project and pre-project proposals. Delegates did not
discuss the report.
COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC INFORMATION AND MARKET
INTELLIGENCE AND COMMITTEE ON FOREST INDUSTRY
Fidel Reyes Lee (Guatemala) chaired the 32nd
session of the CEM/CFI. Delegates adopted the meeting’s agenda
COMPLETED PROJECTS AND PRE-PROJECTS:
Delegates heard reports on two completed pre-projects and one
completed project (CEM, CFI (XXXII)/2).
Under CEM projects, the Secretariat outlined the
completed pre-projects on the economic valuation of production
forests and agroforestry system in the Peruvian Amazon and on
assessing the feasibility of, and support for, a tropical timber
Under CFI projects, BRAZIL outlined a completed
project on information and technical assistance for production and
trade of tropical timber in Brazil. The Secretariat took note of the
projects and pre-projects and declared them complete.
EX-POST EVALUATION: On selecting projects for
ex-post evaluation, delegates agreed to postpone
consideration of the completed Brazilian project on information and
technical assistance until the 33rd session of the CEM/CFI.
Peter Kanowski, Australian National University,
presented the ex-post evaluation of a project on the
utilization, collection and trade of tropical non-wood forest
products in the Philippines (CEM, CFI (XXXII)/4). He said the
project focused on providing local forest communities with
information and technologies to promote their income and livelihood.
He noted the project’s successes, but called for enhanced
development of partnerships and communication strategies, and better
understanding of the ecological context, sustainability and market
access. The Secretariat said similar projects were ongoing in
South-East Asia and Latin America. The USA stressed the need to make
information more readily available, preferably on the Internet.
The Secretariat noted the completion of
ex-post evaluations on technology transfer and the
commercialization of selected cocowood utilization technologies in
the Philippines, and on the utilization, collection and trade of
tropical non-wood forest products, also in the Philippines.
The Secretariat also introduced a report on
lessons learned from ex-post evaluation missions carried out
by the CFI (CEM, CFI (XXXII)/5), and noted that the projects on
training development on assessment of SFM in Indonesia and on the
development and installation of a computer management system for the
control of forest production in Gabon are eligible for ex-post
COMMITTEE ON REFORESTATION AND FOREST MANAGEMENT
Henri-Félix Maître (France) chaired the CRF
session. The Secretariat presented a report on completed projects
and pre-projects (CRF(XXXII)/3), noting that several projects were
close to completion, but lacked submission of final audits,
including projects on: the establishment of Rio Preto’s national
forest in Brazil; the management of natural forests in Malaysia;
conservation and maintenance of biological diversity in tropical
forests managed primarily for timber production in the Philippines;
support for the development of a forestry and wildlife law in Peru;
development and promotion of afforestation activities in Egypt;
management and utilization of paca in Peru; the establishment of a
forestry sector Draft Development Plan for SFM in Cambodia;
and, preparatory studies to install a continuous monitoring system
for the sustainable management of Thailand’s forest resources.
Ricardo Umali, Sustainable Ecosystems
International, presented the work completed on the conservation and
maintenance of biological diversity in tropical forests managed
primarily for timber production in the Philippines, highlighting the
project’s rationale to harness the capacity of production forests to
contribute to biodiversity conservation. He concluded that forest
production and biodiversity conservation are compatible.
Pablo Mateus, CORMADERA, presented the results of
a timber development project in Ecuador, outlining its objectives to
develop a sustainable reforestation programme to rehabilitate
degraded lands and to improve the socioeconomic conditions of rural
populations. He described how: lands were identified for
reforestation; export markets were determined; financing incentives
and sales mechanisms for plantations were developed; training and
information processes were established; and technical and financial
feasibility studies to implement reforestation programmes were
conducted. Mateus stressed the need to continue developing know-how.
In the ensuing discussion, he outlined the need to study baselines
before carbon sequestration projects may be commenced and the need
for following up on projects to assess their impacts and results.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Inspired by the spectacular view of Panama Bay,
delegates wasted no time getting down to business, foreshadowing a
relatively problem-free Council session. Indeed, some delegates
noted that, as they prepare to negotiate a successor agreement to
ITTA, 1994, ITTC-34 would probably not be the best time to bring
new, potentially controversial issues onto the agenda. Some even
hinted that ITTC-34 was not their main priority, but that they were
more focussed on the upcoming preparatory committee (PrepCom)
negotiations. In this regard, one delegate opined that the successor
agreement should address the socioeconomic aspects of the tropical
timber trade, suggesting the PrepCom will not be free of
controversy. Interestingly, one delegate noted that neither ITTC-34,
nor the PrepCom were major priorities, but were networking
opportunities for developing public-private partnerships.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
ANNUAL MARKET DISCUSSION: The Annual Market
Discussion will be held from 9:30 am ï¿½ 12.00 pm in the Miramar
COUNCIL SESSION: The Council will convene
from 12:00 ï¿½ 1:30 pm to consider partnerships for SFM, measures to
improve project formulation and appraisal, preparations for
negotiating a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994, and matters
related to Article 16 of the ITTA, 1994 regarding the ITTO Executive
Director and staff.
COMMITTEES: The CRF will meet from 2:30 ï¿½ 4:
30 pm to continue its review of completed projects and pre-projects.
The Committee on Finance and Administration will meet at the same
time to review contributions to the administrative budgets for
1986-2003, the current status of the administrative account for
2003, and resources of the Special Account and Bali Partnership
Fund. The CEM/CFI will convene from 4:30 ï¿½ 7.00 pm to consider
project and pre-project proposals.
PRODUCER AND CONSUMER GROUPS: The Producer and
Consumer Groups will meet from 8.00 ï¿½ 9.30 am.