Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 24 No. 25
Monday, 3 November 2003

THIRTY-FIFTH SESSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL TROPICAL TIMBER COUNCIL AND RELATED COMMITTEE MEETINGS:

3-8 NOVEMBER 2003

The thirty-fifth session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-35) will meet from 3-8 November 2003 in Yokohama, Japan. The session will discuss, inter alia: listing proposals for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); elements relating to the negotiation of a successor agreement to the 1994 International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA, 1994), including a report on a study on internationally traded and potentially tradable environmental services provided by tropical forests; the report of the Expert Panel on Management of Project Implementation; progress on achieving the Year 2000 Objective; guidelines for the restoration, management and rehabilitation of degraded and secondary tropical forests; the promotion of sustainable forest management (SFM) in the Congo Basin; forest law enforcement in the context of sustainable timber production and trade; implementation of the work programme for the year 2003; review of, and contributions to, the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund; and the Fellowship Programme.

The 33rd sessions of the ITTC’s Committees on Economic Information and Market Intelligence (CEM), Forest Industry (CFI) and Reforestation and Forest Management (CRF) will also meet to, inter alia: consider the report of the Expert Panel for Technical Appraisal of Project Proposals; consider reports on completed projects and pre-projects; conduct ex-post evaluations; review projects, pre-projects and activities in progress; consider project and pre-project proposals; and discuss policy work. The ITTC’s Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) will convene its 14th session to review, inter alia: the draft biennial budget and work programme for 2004-2005; the status of the Administrative Account; resources of the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund; and the appointment of an external auditor for the 2003 financial year.

The Second Session of the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom II) for the negotiation of a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994, established by ITTC Decision 8 (XXXII), will convene immediately following ITTC-35 from 10-12 November 2003 also in Yokohama.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ITTA

The International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA) was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The negotiation sought 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 to improve forest management and wood utilization; and encourage the development of national policies for the sustainable utilization and conservation of tropical forests and their genetic resources, and maintaining the ecological balance in the regions concerned.

The ITTA was adopted on 18 November 1983, and entered into force on 1 April 1985. It remained in force for an initial period of five years and was extended twice for three-year periods. The Agreement was renegotiated in 1993-1994. The successor agreement to the ITTA (ITTA, 1994) was adopted on 26 January 1994, and entered into force on 1 January 1997. The ITTA, 1994 contains broader provisions for information sharing, including non-tropical timber trade data, allows for consideration of non-tropical timber issues as they relate to tropical timber, and includes the Year 2000 Objective to enhance members’ capacity to implement a strategy for achieving exports of tropical timber and timber products from sustainably managed sources by the year 2000. The ITTA, 1994 also established the Bali Partnership Fund to assist producing members in achieving the Year 2000 Objective. Initially concluded for three years, the ITTA, 1994 was extended twice for three-year periods, and which will end on 31 December 2006.

The ITTA established the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), headquartered in Yokohama, Japan, which provides a framework for tropical timber producer and consumer countries to discuss, exchange information and develop policies on issues relating to international trade in, and utilization of, tropical timber and the sustainable management of its resource base. The ITTO has 58 members divided into two caucuses: producer countries (32 members) and consumer countries (26 members, including European Community member states). The ITTO membership represents 95 percent of world trade in tropical timber and 75 percent of the world’s tropical forests.

ITTC-32: The ITTC held its 32nd session in Bali, Indonesia, from 13-18 May 2002. The Council provided funds to facilitate input from, and participation of, a civil society advisory group (CSAG) in projects and during Council sessions. The Council also adopted decisions on: the ITTO’s contribution to the World Summit on Sustainable Development; a revised Mangrove Workplan; guidelines for the restoration and management of degraded and secondary tropical forests; forest law enforcement in Africa; SFM in the Congo Basin; certification; and preparations for negotiating a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994. Member States pledged US$8.129 million to fund selected projects and pre-projects, and the Council approved 19 projects and 10 pre-projects.

ITTC-33: The 33rd session of the ITTC met from 4-9 November 2002, in Yokohama, Japan. The Council adopted the ITTO’s 2003 Work Programme, and decisions on: public relations, education and outreach; partnerships for SFM; prevention and management of forest fires; measures to reduce costs and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization; extension of the ITTA, 1994; and preparations for negotiating a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994. The Council approved 12 projects and 15 pre-projects. No pledges were made to fund selected projects and pre-projects. At the session, the CSAG held a panel discussion on the certified forest products marketplace.

ITTC-34: The 34th session of the ITTC met from 12-17 May 2003, in Panama City, Panama. The Council adopted 11 decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; the management of the administrative budget; the Asia Forest Partnership; C&I for SFM; matters related to Article 16 of the ITTA, 1994 related to the Executive Director of the ITTO and staff; negotiations for a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994; cooperation between ITTO and CITES on broad-leaf mahogany; the management of project implementation; the biennial work programme and administrative budget; phased approaches to certification; and the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber. At the session, delegates approved nine projects and eight pre-projects.

INTERSESSIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

PREPCOM I: The First Session for the Preparatory Committee for the negotiation of a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994 was held from 20-21 May 2003, in Panama City, Panama. Delegates engaged in preliminary discussions on the scope of, and issues pertaining to, a new agreement. There was general consensus that: the successor agreement should remain a commodity agreement; the ITTA, 1994 should be the basis for the negotiations; and relevant new and emerging issues need to be included in the new agreement. However, the nature of the issues and the extent to which they should be addressed remained contentious. The proposals made during the session were consolidated by an inter-sessional working group and will be presented to ITTC-35.

UNFF-3: The third session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF-3) took place from 26 May - 6 June 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates addressed progress in implementation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests proposals for action related to three substantive items: economic aspects of forests; forest health and productivity; and maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs. UNFF-3 adopted six resolutions on: enhanced cooperation and policy and programme coordination; forest health and productivity; economic aspects of forests; maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs; the UNFF Trust Fund; and strengthening the Secretariat. UNFF-3 approved decisions on the voluntary reporting format, and the terms of reference for the three ad hoc expert groups.

ITTC INTER-SESSIONAL WORKING GROUP: The Inter-Sessional Working Group on preparations for negotiating a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994 convened in Curitiba, Brazil, from 25-29 August 2003. The working group, inter alia: assessed the distribution and role of conifers in international trade; reviewed ITTO work on non-timber forest products (NFTP) and other non-timber forest values (NTFV); assessed the extent to which NFTP, environmental services and other NFTV are covered in the ITTA, 1994 with a view to recommending how these could be strengthened in the successor agreement; proposed preambular language for the successor agreement, a short list of overarching objectives and definitions; and prepared a work plan for PrepCom II.

WORLD PARKS CONGRESS: The Vth World Parks Congress (WPC) convened in Durban, South Africa, from 8-17 September 2003. WPC outcomes include: the Durban Accord and Action Plan on protected areas (PAs), and an outline of implementation mechanisms; 32 recommendations; a Message to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); a Protected Areas Learning Network (PALNet); and a recommendation on Africa’s PAs and the Durban Consensus on African Protected Areas for the New Millennium.

WORLD FORESTRY CONGRESS: The XII World Forestry Congress (WFC) took place from 21-28 September 2003 in Quebec City, Canada. More than 4,000 participants from over 140 countries attended the Congress. Participants represented the scientific community, governments, international organizations, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations and the private sector. Thirty-eight Theme Sessions convened to address the following topics: forests for people; forests for the planet; and forests and people in harmony. In the Special Sessions, the conclusions of side events were presented, including the Youth Forum and the Indigenous Peoples’ Forest Forum. In the Open Fora, participants engaged in discussions on emerging issues. In the final General Session, participants adopted "Forests, Source of Life," a collective vision statement on the future of forests.

AFLEG: The Africa Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (AFLEG) Ministerial Conference took place from 13-16 October 2003, in Yaounde, Cameroon. The objectives of the conference were to: discuss ideas on forest governance; consider priority issues; identify ways for stakeholder engagement; and adopt a Ministerial Declaration. The Declaration asserts the Ministers� intention to, inter alia: mobilize financial resources; strengthen capacities; raise awareness of the impacts of illegal logging and associated trade; address the re-establishment of good governance in post-conflict situations; explore means of demonstrating the legality and sustainability of forest products; and establish and strengthen laws for hunting and bushmeat trade.

THIRTEENTH MEETING OF THE IAG: The Thirteenth Meeting of the Informal Advisory Group (IAG) convened on Sunday 2 November 2003 in advance of ITTC-35. Participants discussed, inter alia: Decision 5(XXVI), which created the IAG; the report of the 12th IAG meeting; Decision 8(XXXIII) on preparations for negotiating a successor agreement to the ITTA, 1994, in particular the outcome of the working group held in Curitiba, Brazil in August 2003; and the council decision-making process. The IAG also proposed that the Council consider four decisions on: projects, pre-projects and activities; the ITTO Biennial Work Programme for the Years 2004-2005; disbursement of Executing Agencies Fund; and the management of the administrative budget for 2003.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

PRODUCER AND CONSUMER GROUP MEETINGS: The Producer Group will meet in the Plenary Hall from 2:00�3:00 pm. The Consumer Group will convene at the same time in the Committee Room, Room 303 of the Pacifico-Yokohama International Conference Centre.

JOINT COMMITTEE SESSION: A joint committee session will convene from 3:00�4:00 pm in the Plenary Hall.

COMMITTEE SESSIONS: From 4:00�6:30 pm, the CEM and CFI will hold a joint session in the Committee Room, and the CRF will convene in the Plenary Hall.     

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Andrew Baldwin andrew@iisd.org; Nienke Beintema nienke@iisd.org; Rado Dimitrov, Ph.D. rado@iisd.org; Lauren Flejzor lauren@iisd.org; Kaori Kawarabayashi kaori@iisd.org; and Hugh Wilkins hugh@iisd.org. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead leila@iisd.org. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. pam@iisd.org and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI kimo@iisd.org. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA, DFAIT and Environment Canada), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs - DEFRA), the European Commission (DG-ENV), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ). General Support for the Bulletin during 2003 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, Swan International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), and the Ministry for Environment of Iceland. Specific funding for the coverage of this meeting has been provided by the International Tropical Timber Organization. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at kimo@iisd.org, +1-212-644-0217 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.

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