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International Tropical Timber Council: Thirty-Fifth Session

Yokohama, Japan | 3 - 8 November 2003

                                  Versión en español         Version Française


ENB Summary








Highlights from Saturday, 8 November

On Saturday, ITTC-35 held its closing Plenary, in which the Council heard reports from Committees, elected new chairs and listened to closing statements. In his closing statement, Chair Bin Che Freezailah (above) expressed hope and optimism for the future of the ITTO, noting that the organization is on the right rack for the future. He underlined that despite the ITTO's successes in terms of, among other things, implementing SFM and establishing C&I, there is still considerable work to be done, noting the issues of tropical deforestation, low levels of certification of tropical forests, poverty, and trade barriers. Freezailah emphasized the needs to balance the rights and responsibilities of consumer and producer country members, to improve the flow of administrative budget and voluntary contributions, and for countries to work together to address illegal logging and trade issues. He said the ITTO has demonstrated its ability and resilience like a deep-rooted tree that can withstand the weather. (Listen to Chair Bin Che Bin Che Freezailah). Photo: ITTC-35 Vice-Chair and ITTC-36 Chair Jan McAlpine and ITTC-35 Chair Bin Che Freezailah after being presented with a gavel made of tropical timber

Closing Council Session
Manoel Sobral Filho, ITTO Executive Director, and ITTC-35 Chair Bin Che Freezailah.
Jan McAlpine presents a gavel made of tropical timber to Chair Freezailah (Listen to her statement).
Jan McAlpine (US) and Alhassan Attah (Ghana) were elected Chair and Vice-Chair of ITTC-36, respectively.



Chair Kaya (left) and CFI Vice-Chair Bergquist presented, and delegates noted, the CEM/CFI's report on its thirty-third session (CEM-CFI(XXXIII)/7). Chair Kaya announced that Renzo Siliva (Venezuela) was the elected Vice-Chair of the CEM for 2004.

CFA Chair Ellis (right) presented, and delegates noted, the CFA's report on its fourteenth session (CFA (XIV)/6) and announced that Shaharuddin Mohamad Ismail (Malaysia) was the elected Vice-Chair of the CFA for 2004 . Chris Ellis and David Brooks of the US delegation (right)


Closing Statements

Yati Bun, Foundation for People and Community Development, on behalf of the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG), underscored the group's aim to provide an opportunity for local voices and experiences to be heard and to encourage the Council to take steps to better reflect the interests and aspirations of civil society. Bun outlined two key shifts in the tropical forest landscape since the negotiation of the 1994 agreement: a significant transfer in forest ownership to indigenous and other communities; and a shift in trade and finance to community-controlled ecosystem services and non-timber forest products. Regarding the negotiations of a successor agreement, he recommended: the shaping of forest trade so that it contributes to producer country goals of economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable development; the increasing of the roles of indigenous and other communities; the tracking of changes in tropical forest tenure arrangements; the assessment of economic efficiency of community producers and the obstacles they face; and the development of mechanisms to facilitate information exchange and capacity building of community entrepreneurs.

Producer Group Spokesperson Luiz Cesar Gasser noted that it had been an intense meeting and thanked the Chair for his able leadership. Consumer Group Spokesperson Aulikki Kauppila (Finland) said ITTC-35 had been very constructive, notably through agreeing on the Biennial Work Programme. She suggested avoiding simultaneous meetings of committees at subsequent ITTC sessions, and called for emphasis on: the establishment of regional offices; forest law enforcement; market access issues; capacity building; timely assessments of financial matters; and data collection.

As the youngest ITTO member, Nigeria expressed its gratitude for being admitted this year.
Indonesia highlighted the importance of addressing illegal trade and logging through collaborative efforts and noted its government's efforts to combat these issues. Japan commended the ITTO for its contribution to timber trade development. Stressing the importance of cooperation between consumers and producers, he encouraged member countries to work cooperatively and flexibly at the PrepCom and next year's formal negotiations. Japan also extended its continued support to ITTO.

Anselme Enerunga, Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation, Water and Forests, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), outlined the extent of natural forests in his country, noting, however, that the forestry sector makes only a minor contribution to the economy. He said that the DRC is committed to improving its forestry sector and that significant reforms in forest governance are underway, focusing on: equitable land distribution based on development, conservation and forestry objectives; a moratorium on new allocations of forest concessions until reforms are completed; tax reforms; and revision of existing forestry contracts to comply with the DRC's new forestry code. He also noted that the DRC plans to increase the amount of its forest-protected areas to 15% of the total national area. Enerunga recommended, inter alia, the use of remote sensing tools to support the conservation of protected areas, encouragement of SFM, and international support.

Malaysia (left) emphasized cooperation and partnership; The EU (right) highlighted the adoption of the Biennial Work Programme and expressed confidence in cooperative development of guidelines for its implementation. He stressed the importance of implementing forestry laws, and said that initiatives such as certification will serve to improve the ITTO's image and stimulate constructive action.

David Drake, Canada (left) and Papua New Guinea (right).

Links |

ITTO website, with provisional program, documents for the meeting, and information about the ITTO.
ENB summary from ITTC-34: (HTML, PDF, TEXT).
ENB summary from ITTC-33: (HTML, PDF, TEXT).
ENB summary from ITTC-32: (HTML, PDF, TEXT).
Linkages forests, desertification and land issues page, including a brief introduction to global forest policy.