Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 24 No. 33
Wednesday, 12 November 2003
PREPCOM II HIGHLIGHTS:
TUESDAY, 11 NOVEMBER 2003
On Tuesday, delegates to the Second Session of the
Preparatory Committee (PrepCom II) for the Negotiation of a
Successor Agreement to the 1994 International Tropical Timber
Agreement (ITTA, 1994) convened in both Plenary and in working group
sessions. In the morning, Plenary reviewed and deliberated elements
contained in the draft working document, and Working Group I
convened to consider preliminary proposals on the financial
arrangement of the successor agreement. In the afternoon, delegates
continued their work on the working document in Plenary. Working
Group II convened to discuss administrative issues, the duration of
the agreement and the frequency of Council sessions.
MORNING PLENARY SESSION
PrepCom II Chair Jürgen Blaser (Switzerland)
suggested that delegates discuss article by article the draft
working document set out in Annex 6 to the Report of the Inter-Sessional
Working Group on Preparations for Negotiating a Successor Agreement
to the ITTA, 1994 (ITTC(XXXV)/7).
On headquarters and structure of ITTO, the REPUBLIC
OF KOREA and NIGERIA suggested that the name of the organization be
changed to International Tropical Forest Organization. SWITZERLAND
suggested it be changed to International Tropical Forest Products
Organization. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC), INDONESIA, MALAYSIA,
PERU, the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO and the REPUBLIC OF CONGO
urged that the present name be retained. BRAZIL, the PHILLIPINES and
NEW ZEALAND said the name of the organization should be decided upon
after the scope of the agreement is determined. SWITZERLAND,
NIGERIA, NORWAY and NEW ZEALAND, opposed by MALAYSIA, the DEMOCRATIC
REPUBLIC OF CONGO and COTE D’IVOIRE, suggested that the name of the
head of the organization should be changed from Executive Director
The US, opposed by the EC and PERU, proposed that
reference to a special vote be deleted. BRAZIL, on behalf of the
Producer Group, with COTE D’IVOIRE, the REPUBLIC OF CONGO and PERU,
requested the insertion of a reference to regional offices.
On membership of the organization, INDONESIA
proposed the insertion of a provision on the admission of new
On membership of intergovernmental organizations,
BRAZIL, supported by INDONESIA, proposed that membership in the
organization be set out in the articles relating to definitions and
voting procedure of the Council.
On the composition of the Council, SWITZERLAND
proposed that the Executive Board or Committee be included.
On the powers and functions of the Council, the US
suggested functions include approval of the work programmes.
Regarding the adoption of rules and regulations by the Council, the
US, supported by INDONESIA and opposed by the EC, recommended
deleting "by consensus or by special vote." United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) supported the US
proposal, but noted, with FRANCE and CANADA, that UNCTAD’s legal
advisors should first review the issue. SWITZERLAND recommended
using more general language to discuss Council voting procedures.
On provisions pertaining to the Chairman and
Vice-Chairman of the Council, the EC suggested making the text more
gender neutral. The US and NORWAY said the reference to voting
procedures should be deleted. On the election of the Chair and
Vice-Chair, INDONESIA suggested adding that the election of Chair
and Vice-Chair should be by consensus or special vote, and
recommended a paragraph on re-election procedures. NORWAY stipulated
that re-election should occur only in extraordinary circumstances.
SWITZERLAND said there should be a special vote for the re-election
of the Chair or Vice-Chair, but not for their election. CANADA and
UNCTAD said the issue of the election and re-election of the Chair
and Vice-Chair should be deferred until legal advice is obtained.
WORKING GROUP I
Delegates in Working Group I convened to consider
proposals on the financial arrangement under the successor agreement
to the ITTA, 1994. A full Chair’s report on four models proposed in
the Working Group was presented to Plenary during the afternoon
AFTERNOON PLENARY SESSION
In the afternoon, delegates continued discussing
articles in the working document.
On policy work of the organization, NORWAY suggested
adding reference to illegal logging and certification. The US
suggested strengthening language on the integration of policy work
and project activities. VENEZUELA requested reference to community
management of forests. SWITZERLAND, supported by CHINA, said
specific actions to be undertaken should be defined in five-year
action plans. PERU supported reference to a general strategic plan
in addition to a short-term action plan.
On project activities of the organization,
SWITZERLAND requested reference to equity issues. VENEZUELA
suggested defining the role of the Secretariat on formulation and
submission of projects. The US underscored the importance of
implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The EC supported maintaining reference to the
Council setting priorities for project proposals. The US, supported
by SWITZERLAND, suggested text authorizing the Council to limit the
number of projects eligible for funding within a certain timeframe.
PERU and the US discussed whether the Council should be given the
discretionary power to make decisions on project termination. The EC
inquired about whether decisions on project termination should be
subject to special or majority vote.
On the distribution of votes, BRAZIL supported a
study on the definition of "tropical forest resources." SWITZERLAND
and PAPUA NEW GUINEA suggested changes to the definition. CANADA
raised concerns about altering the definition used by FAO and
opening this issue to debate.
On cooperation and coordination with other
organizations, NORWAY proposed the inclusion of the Convention on
Biological Diversity. NEW ZEALAND, supported by the US and AUSTRALIA
and opposed by SWITZERLAND, objected to listing specific
organizations. INDONESIA, supported by SWITZERLAND, requested that
the objectives of cooperating with the private sector and civil
society be elaborated. SWITZERLAND suggested
that the title of the article mention civil society and the private
PrepCom Co-Chair Carlos Antonio da Rocha Paranhos
(Brazil) presented the report of the working group on the financial
arrangement. He reviewed four proposed finance models for the
successor agreement, which include: retaining the present
arrangement; keeping the Administrative Account and using a new
account to fund all policies and projects; maintaining discrete
accounts for administrative activities, policy activities in the
biennial work programme, earmarked project funds and ITTO Objective
2000 projects; and having accounts for administrative activities,
policy activities and unearmarked funds for project work. Co-Chair
Paranhos stressed the idea of assessed contributions to work
programme activities and noted that some models base contributions
on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). CHINA said that contributions for
accounts for work programme activities should be tied to GDP, per
capita GDP or the UN scale of assessments. FRANCE stressed the need
for long-term financing.
Following the report on financial arrangements,
delegates resumed discussion on the working document. On an annual
report and review, CANADA suggested clarifying language to make the
annual report a biennial report, to coincide with the biennial
budget cycle. The EC distinguished between the annual report of the
Council and an annual report intended for public use. SWITZERLAND requested text on a comprehensive
five-year review on the management of tropical timber producing
On project activities, the US, supported by
AUSTRALIA, said that it wanted to give the Council discretion over
the number of projects to be implemented. NIGERIA said that this is
already implicit in the agreement’s language, and SWITZERLAND said
this would not require a special vote.
On differential and remedial measures, Co-Chair
Paranhos drew attention to an UNCTAD resolution exempting least
developed countries from contributions.
On non-discrimination, CANADA advised against
changing the article. Some countries discussed ways to include a
reference to legal trade, given its significance in the ITTA, 1994.
Regarding the timeframe for which the agreement will
remain open for signature, UNCTAD agreed with CANADA to retain the
existing language. Delegates reached consensus on articles related
to entry into force, amendments and withdrawal.
On members’ exclusion, UNCTAD said that provisions
regarding the re-entry of excluded members is now under legal
On duration, extension and termination, SWITZERLAND
proposed a ten-year duration for the agreement, but CANADA argued
that the four year period of the ITTA, 1994 is no longer
WORKING GROUP II
In the afternoon, delegates convened in another
working group to work on, inter alia, the composition of the
Council, Council sessions, project activities, and functions and
establishment of the committees. On the composition of the Council,
one consumer country requested reference to the functions, rules and
composition of the Executive Board or Committee.
On the sessions of the Council, participants debated
whether to hold one or two Council sessions per year. Several
consumer countries said the relationship between frequency of
sessions and project funding arrangements must be addressed. A
producer country expressed concerns regarding equitable
representation on the proposed Executive Board or Committee. A
consumer country noted that present levels of funding for meetings
cannot be maintained by current donors.
Participants reviewed a non-paper on the ITTO
Executive Board or Committee. A few consumer countries suggested
deleting language on the election of the Chair and Vice-Chair. One
producer country noted that the proposed Executive Board or
Committee’s membership is too large and that the Board or
Committee’s functions appear too similar to those of the Council. On
project activities of the organization, a producer country stressed
the need for a strategy for project approval. A consumer country
underscored the need to take into account the expert panels’
recommendations on project implementation.
One producer country said limits to the number of
projects presented would be difficult to enforce. One consumer
country said that projects should integrate the interests of project
proposal submitters, donors and ITTO.
Regarding the establishment and functions of the
Committees, several consumer countries suggested, and several
producer countries opposed, merging the technical committees and
maintaining the CFA.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Some delegates have expressed their satisfaction
with the steady progress being made on the working document for the
successor agreement. Others have cautioned, however, that progress
may be too slow and that another inter-sessional meeting may be
needed before the UN Conference. One observer noted that those
calling for the renaming of the agreement may not realize the legal
complications this may entail.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: From 10:30 am ï¿½ 1:00 pm, PrepCom II is
scheduled to resume its deliberation of proposals on, inter alia,
objectives and definitions for a successor agreement to the ITTA,
1994 in the Conference Hall of the Sangyoboeki Centre, Yokohama.
PrepCom II will convene a final Plenary session from 2:00 pm ï¿½ 8:00
pm to hear general statements, consider its recommendations to
ITTC-36 and finalize its report to the Council.