The 53rd session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-53) and the associated sessions of its four Committees met from 27 November – 2 December 2017, in Lima, Peru.
The meeting adopted, among other decisions, the biennial work programme and budget, and policy guidelines on gender equality and empowering women.
It further reviewed projects and activities, such as on the Emerald Triangle Protected Forests Complex and a microcredit pilot scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises in Indonesia.
5 December 2017: The 53rd session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-53) and associated Committees sessions adopted, among other decisions, the biennial work programme and budget, and policy guidelines on gender equality. ITTC-53 also reviewed projects and activities, such as on the Emerald Triangle Protected Forests Complex and a microcredit pilot scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises.
ITTC-53 and the associated sessions of its four Committees met from 27 November – 2 December 2017, in Lima, Peru. At this session, the Council adopted the Biennial Work Programme (BWP) for 2018-2019 and the administrative budget for that biennium, as well as International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) Policy Guidelines on Gender Equality and Empowering Women. Delegates also discussed initial steps to improve ITTO’s financing infrastructure and fundraising strategies, and whether to adopt and operationalize the principle of rotation in the selection of the ITTO Executive Director.
The 51st sessions of the Committee on Economics, Statistics and Markets, the Committee on Forest Industry, and the Committee on Reforestation and Forest Management also convened, to approve projects and pre-projects, review projects and pre-projects under implementation and ex-post evaluations, conduct policy work, and indicate their priorities for the BWP 2018-2019. The 32nd session of the Committee on Finance and Administration met to discuss, inter alia, the Biennial Administrative Budget for 2018-2019, the resources of the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund, the auditor’s reports for the financial year 2016, the appointment of the auditor, transparency of ITTO documentation, and a request from the Central African Republic to consider writing off its arrears.
ITTO Executive Director Gerhard Dieterle said that the decisions made “highlight the role of productive forests and green supply chains in green growth.”
In the closing plenary, ITTO Executive Director Gerhard Dieterle said that the decisions made at the session formed “a solid package to guide us not only for the next year but towards a new future,” adding they will “highlight the role of productive forests and green supply chains in green growth.” ITTC-53 Chair Tabi Agyarko said the Council had faced a number of challenges, with delegates coming to consensus on a range of topics. He nevertheless highlighted the funding gap between projects submitted and the funding available.
The session adopted the ITTO Policy Guidelines on Gender Equality and Empowering Women, which will serve as a framework for gender integration and mainstreaming in ITTO policies, plans, programmes, projects, activities and internal functioning, with the aim of increasing the impact and effectiveness of the Organization’s operations in all areas and all levels. The Council made funds available to commence their operationalization.
The session witnessed the launch of a report on the progress made in transboundary cooperation between Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand under a long-running project conducted as part of the Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity between ITTO and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The transboundary project aims to improve the conservation and management of the Emerald Triangle Protected Forests Complex, part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Titled ‘The Bright Green Hotspot: Outcomes of the Emerald Triangle Protected Forests Complex project, 2000-2016,’ the report presents outcomes of the project, which has worked to develop a common transboundary management framework for a group of protected areas along the borders shared by the three countries. The ITTO–CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity, which has been underway since 2011, is designed to enhance biodiversity in tropical forests with the direct participation of local stakeholders and to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical forests. To date, the initiative has involved an investment of more than US$15 million in eleven field projects.
Among the several dozen projects and activities under review, a microcredit pilot scheme showed promise in boosting the efficiency and profitability of small and medium-sized forest enterprises in Indonesia. Conducted in partnership with Indonesia’s Natural Resources Development Center, the scheme issued a credit of about US$12,500 to each of three companies on Java, Indonesia, with the aim of managing the scheme as a revolving fund that provides credit for more small and medium enterprises over time. The three companies have used the microloans obtained through the ITTO activity to invest in processing equipment and as working capital, and they have now either fully repaid the loans or are in the process of doing so; the repaid funds will be invested in other enterprises. The scheme’s initial success is expected to encourage government institutions in Indonesia to implement a similar scheme at a larger scale.
The next session of the ITTC and associated sessions of the four committees will take place in Japan, in 2018. [IISD RS Coverage of the Meeting] [ITTO Press Release, 2 December] [ITTO Press Release, 1 December] [Emerald Triangle Protected Forests Complex Project] [Publication: The Bright Green Hotspot: Outcomes of the Emerald Triangle Protected Forests Complex project, 2000-2016] [ITTO Press Release, 30 November]