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Joint ITTO – CBD Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity

Background

In the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 and the International Year of Forests 2011, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen collaboration in the pursuit of their common objectives of conserving and sustainably managing tropical forest resources. In October and December 2010, respectively, the governing bodies of CBD and ITTC adopted Decisions welcoming the ITTO/CBD collaboration (Decision X/36 and ITTC Decision 6 (XLVI). The programme document that is the basis for concrete project activities under this collaboration is available here in English, French and Spanish.

Objectives and outputs

The overall objective of the Joint ITTO/CBD Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity is to enhance biodiversity conservation in tropical forests with the direct participation of local stakeholders, addressing the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical forests: deforestation and forest degradation. More specifically, the Initiative will provide support to ITTO producer member countries to reduce losses of biodiversity through the implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Forest Biodiversity, focusing on the common objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the ITTO Action Plan.

This Initiative aims to achieve four key outputs, with the assistance of donors and with the close collaboration of partners in producer member countries:

1. Enhanced local capacity for biodiversity conservation in production forests and for the rehabilitation of degraded and secondary forests;

2. Improved conservation and management of protected areas, especially in association with buffering protected areas, and transboundary conservation;

3. Safeguarding tropical forest biodiversity in forestry interventions, including in REDD+ related projects; and

4. Improved welfare of local communities and indigenous groups through biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.

These expected outputs of the Initiative are to be achieved though the promotion of sustainable forest management (SFM), with a particular emphasis on biodiversity protection; forest monitoring and adaptive management to generate multiple benefits on a sustainable basis; protection against invasive species; and enhancing the value of natural tropical forests to avoid land use change.

Focus on production and protection forests

The Initiative focuses both on production and protection forests. Scientists estimate that tropical forests host about two thirds of all terrestrial species. Promoting the establishment of protected areas, especially in forests of high conservation value including transboundary areas, is still required to meet the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 global target for 17% of terrestrial areas protected. Considering that only 13% of the world’s forests are currently located in protected areas, it is essential to also promote the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity outside of protected areas. The conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests in general, protected areas and their buffer zones in particular, are necessary for improving livelihoods of local communities and avoid encroachment of the core conservation areas. The consumption of main timber products (roundwood, sawnwood, pulp, paper) is expected to increase over the next 30 years. The use of solid biofuels for electricity production could be three times larger by 2030 than current levels (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/13/3). Globally, by 2050, the demand for industrial roundwood is expected to increase by 50 to 75%4. The ITTO/IUCN Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Tropical Timber Production Forests (2009) reflect the clear importance in promoting biodiversity conservation outside protected areas, through the long-term sustainable use of forest resources for the sustainable livelihoods of local communities. Also, the ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests (2002) provides the policy elements to recover the biodiversity conservation capacity of degraded forests in the tropics. These ITTO guidelines are complementary to, and entirely support the CBD forest programme of work, providing the guidance elements for the field implementation of the Initiative. Operational Procedures ITTO will lead the implementation of the proposed Initiative in close consultation with the CBD Secretariat, donors, other partners and especially the beneficiary countries. Interested countries may submit a concept note to the ITTO Secretariat indicating their intention to develop a project or specific activity in the framework of this Initiative. The CBD and ITTO Secretariat will assess the pertinence of the request together with the relevant stakeholders of the proposing country and will support the formulation of a full project proposal (if required), and fund raising. Donors may allocate funds to a specific project of the Initiative, or as an unearmarked contribution to the Initiative. The development of project proposals will follow the ITTO rules and procedures as per its regular project cycle, including the submission of project proposals to the screening of ITTO’s Expert Panel.

Monitoring of the project activities follows ITTO’s standard operating procedures, as well as the production and dissemination of progress reports and financial statements on the use of project funds. Mid-term and ex-post evaluations of the overall Initiative and of selected projects will be carried out to guide implementation and any follow-up.

Budget

The proposed Collaborative Initiative has an estimated budget of $US15 million for the initial period of 4 years, covering the three tropical regions. The implementation of the Initiative will benefit from the experience ITTO has gained in implementing projects and programs in the tropics (over 700 projects in the last 25 years, amounting to ca. US$400,000,000). Specifically addressing forest biodiversity conservation, ITTO has implemented 56 projects for an investment of US$30,825,000 (43% in Asia, 25% in Africa, 25% in Latin America and the remaining 4% at global level). Seventeen of these projects supported transboundary conservation areas (TBCA) in the tree tropical regions, for an investment of about US$ 16.8 million. Also, the ITTO/CBD Initiative will benefit from the experience gained in ITTO Programme development, including the CITES/ITTO Programme since 2007; and the ITTO Thematic Programs being currently implemented on a pilot basis. The Initiative will also build on the experiences implementing the Programme of Work on Protected Areas.

Funded projects

To date, two projects under this Initiative are being piloted for a total investment of US$ 7.12 million, funded by the Governments of Japan, Belgium, Thailand, Gabon, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Cambodia. The two projects are:

RIFFEAC – a five-year project (2012-2017) to build capacity for sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation in Central Africa (Project document)

Emerald Triangle Transboundary Protected Area – a three-year project (2011-2014) to establish a transboundary protected area between Thailand, Cambodia and Laos (Project document)

Further projects, including for the Amazon region, are currently under development and under consideration for funding. Please consult this website periodically for updates.

Project applications

Government agencies in countries that are members of the International Tropical Timber Organization should direct inquiries to rfm@itto.int

More information is also available at http://www.itto.int

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme