International Tropical Timber Council concludes with major decisions, including its extension

EU expresses desire to join efforts on conservation of world forests

By Himanshu Nitnaware
Published: Tuesday 21 November 2023
Delegates of the producer caucus on day 5 of the 59th session of the International Tropical Timber Council. Photo: ITTO

The 59th International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC), a group that meets at least once a year to discuss a wide-ranging agenda aimed at promoting sustainable tropical forest management and the trade of sustainably produced tropical timber, concluded on November 17, 2023. 

The IITC is the governing body of the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO), which aims to promote sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests.

The council concluded with five decisions, with the European Union expressing concern about the state of the world’s forests in the backdrop of climate change and biodiversity. The session, which began November 13, 2023, was held in Thailand to decide the future of IITO, whether it should continue and how to proceed. 

The countries agreed to endorse eight projects related to sustainable forest management and related objectives. The session also approved and adopted a budget of $7.1 million for the coming financial year 2024-25.

The work programme for 2024-25 was also adopted, which included a request to the executive director to collaborate closely with members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other partners on implementation, said a press statement by think tank International Institute for Sustainable Development. 

The council also approved a trial measure that will allow ineligible members to submit project proposals and concept notes. Members who have fallen behind on their financial contributions and are thus ineligible will be allowed to submit one project and concept note for every two years of arrears paid. 

The decisions will be published on ITTO on its website in December 2023. The council is expected to make a decision by June 1, 2024, on its extension for three years, until 2029. 

The EU also gave a statement sharing concerns on the forests and biodiversity: “As an important consumer of timber and timber products, the EU will make sure that its consumption does not drive further decline in the EU or beyond our borders.”

The EU expressed its willingness for any cooperation and engagement with other countries and supply chains for its contributions. 

Chairperson Mohammed Nurudeen Iddrisu called the session “very productive”.

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