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Tuesday
Dec212010

Non-timber forest products discussed at ITTO meeting

Yokohama, Japan, 21st December 2010—The application of sustainable harvesting standards for wild forest biodiversity should be promoted, a key timber meeting in Japan this week was told. Such standards should comply with those discussed at October’s meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD CoP 10).

The comments came in a statement made to members of the International Tropical Timber Trade Organization (ITTO) by the organization’s Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG).

CSAG also recommended that ITTO “consider expanding its annual market situation analysis to include important non-wood resources from the forest: non-timber forest products (NTFPs) like charcoal production, fuel wood, bushmeat, medicinal and aromatic plants...present expanding trade and market opportunities with multiple environmental and social benefits.”

The statement also stressed that the views of indigenous peoples and community-based organizations are an essential element of forestry and climate change debates, and their opinions are vital in shaping policies and decisions in the forestry sector.

According to the statement, there is “a growing trend in a rebalancing of the voices shaping policies and decisions in the forest sector. Indigenous peoples and community-based organizations…are increasingly shaping decisions in the forest sector, extending to forest management, trade and market decision-making, and to promotion of SFM [Sustainable Forest Management] and equitable and just conservation models that respect rights and tenure of communities, indigenous peoples and vulnerable minorities and women.”

Indonesia has already signalled an interest in hosting an international conference on tenure and governance in forestry and timber trade, in 2011.

According to Chen Hin Keong, TRAFFIC’s Global Forest Trade Programme Leader and Co-chair of ITTO’s Civil Society Advisory Group, such a conference “would enable ITTO and its member countries to engage actively with civil society and forest communities in Asia and share lessons on tenure and governance reforms.”

The CSAG identified a number of further opportunities for ITTO to engage with civil society actors, community enterprises and their organizations, including by expanding the range of proposals reaching the ITTO and national focal points to include NTFPs.

Finally, the CSAG also called for strengthened collaboration between ITTO and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), on both threatened timber species and other non-timber forest products that may be at risk of over-exploitation.
The full statement made by the CSAG to ITTO (PDF, 50 KB).