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Saturday, January 18, 2020
Illegal Agarwood

ITTO is an intergovernmental organization promoting the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources. Its members represent about 80% of the world’s tropical forests and 90% of the global tropical timber trade.

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) was established under the auspices of the United Nations in 1986 amidst increasing worldwide concern for the fate of tropical forests. While almost everyone was alarmed at the rate of deforestation occurring in many tropical countries, there was also considerable agreement that the tropical timber trade was one of the keys to economic development in those same countries. The reconciliation of these two seemingly disparate phenomena is ITTO’s story.

A Unique Organisation

ITTO occupies an unusual position in the family of intergovernmental organizations. Like all commodity organizations it is concerned with trade and industry, but like an environmental agreement it also pays considerable attention to the sustainable management of natural resources. It manages its own program of projects and other activities, enabling it to quickly test and operationalize its policy work. Other features include:

  • an equal partnership in decision-making, policy formulation and project development between producing members (tropical developing countries) and tropical timber consuming members (mostly temperate developed countries);
  • the active participation of civil society and trade organizations in meetings and project work;
  • the formulation and implementation of projects in producing member countries, using mostly local expertise;
  • frequent meetings of its governing body (the International Tropical Timber Council), meaning a comparatively rapid pace of debate, decisions and action.
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