The 50th session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-50) came to a close with delegates authorizing US$8.3 million in financing for International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) activities such as capacity building for transboundary biodiversity conservation and continued implementation of thematic programmes focused on trade and market transparency, forest governance and reducing deforestation.
The Council also undertook lengthy discussions on the appointment of the next ITTO Executive Director.
8 November 2014: The 50th session of the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC-50) came to a close with delegates authorizing US$8.3 million in financing for International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) activities such as capacity building for transboundary biodiversity conservation, and continued implementation of thematic programmes focused on trade and market transparency, forest governance and reducing deforestation. The Council also undertook lengthy discussions on the appointment of the next ITTO Executive Director.
On the occasion of the meeting, the Government of the Central African Republic acceded to the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006 (ITTA, 2006), bringing total membership of ITTO to 70.
ITTC-50 and the Associated Sessions of its four Committees were held in Yokohama, Japan, from 3-8 November 2014. ITTO members used the occasion of their 50th Council session to reflect on the evolution of the ITTO’s role and purpose, and heard an expert panel on ‘ITTO: Past, Present and Future.’ As consensus could not be reached on the appointment of an Executive Director within the time allotted, the Council agreed to take up the issue again at ITTC-51, to be held from 16-21 November 2014, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
While the election of an Executive Director to succeed current Executive Director, Emmanuel Ze Meka, dominated the discussion, the Council also considered, inter alia: enhanced cooperation between ITTO and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); developments regarding forests under the UNFCCC; the ITTO / Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Collaborative Initiative; and regional ITTO presence and representation, which was referred to the Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA).
The Council approved activities to be funded under the Biennial Work Programme (BWP) 2015-2016 and requested a background paper, working group and recommendations for updating the process for admission and activities of observers.
During the meeting, the Committee on Economics, Statistics and Markets and the Committee on Forest Industry (CEM-CFI) and the Committee on Reforestation and Forest Management (CRF) convened to approve projects and pre-projects, review projects and pre-projects under implementation and ex-post evaluations, and conduct policy work. The Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) met to discuss, inter alia, the biennial administrative budget for 2014-2015, the current status of the Administrative Account, resources of the Special Account and the Bali Partnership Fund, and ITTO staff regulations and rules.
On staff regulations and rules, CFA asked the Secretariat to prepare its recommendations for changes, accompanied by: justifications for the proposed changes; estimated financial implications in the near- and long-term; comparable cost containment measures to ensure that the overall biennial budget is equal to or lower than the biennial budget 2014-2015; and a comparison with relevant text from the 2015 Staff Regulations and Rules of the UN or other relevant international organizations such as the International Cocoa Organization or International Coffee Organization.
Also during the meeting, the Trade Advisory Group (TAG) organized the ITTO Annual Market Discussion to explore the theme ‘Domestic and Emerging International Markets – A Changing Market Landscape.’ The panel noted the shifting demand for timber products with economic growth in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa.
The ITTO was established in 1986 subsequent to the entry into force, on 1 April 1985, of ITTA, 1983, which was negotiated under the auspices of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). ITTA, 1994 later became the governing force of the Organization when it entered into force on 31 December 1996; it was then superseded by ITTA, 2006. The ITTO promotes responsible tropical timber trade and industry, with a focus on sustainable forest management (SFM). [IISD RS Coverage of ITTC-50] [ITTO Press Release, US$8.3 Million] [ITTO Press Release, Central African Republic] [ITTO Press Release, Annual Market Discussion] [ITTO Press Release, Meeting Opening] [IISD RS Story on Opening of ITTC-50] [IISD RS Stories on ITTO] [ITTC-49 Report] [ITTC-50 Provisional Agenda] [CEM-CFI Provisional Agenda] [CRF Provisional Agenda] [CFA Provisional Agenda] [Provisional Programme of Meetings and Activities]