Thursday, January 28, 2016

International Tropical Timber Organization

By Anton Antonio
January 29, 2016

One of the underlying messages at the Earth Summit in 1992 was the concept of sustainable development.  The World Bank defines “sustainable development” as “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.”  Sustainable development contains two key concepts: (1) the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and, (2) the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.

The concept of “sustainable forest management”, on the other hand, is also anchored on the same sustainable development concept as popularized at the Earth Summit.  Popularizing and promoting sustainable forest management is the primary objective of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).

“The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) is an intergovernmental organization that promotes conservation of tropical forest resources and their sustainable management, use and trade.  The organization was established under the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), which was sponsored by the Unites Nations Conference on Trade and Development and was ratified in 1985.  Its mandate was renewed by the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 1994 and again by the International Tropical Timber Agreement, 2006, which aims to promote sustainable management and legal harvesting of forests that produce tropical timber, and to promote expansion and diversification of international trade in timber from these forests.  The governing body is the International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC).  Half the votes on the ITTC are assigned to producing countries and half to consumers.  Within each block, votes are assigned based on market share.  The ITTO was at first primarily a commodity organization, regulating the international trade in tropical timber.  The original mandate mentioned conservation but did not give any details.  In 1990 the ITTC proposed that by 2000 all exports of tropical timber would come from sustainably managed sources, and this goal was adopted.  In 1987 the ITTO commissioned the Harvard Institute for International Development to prepare a review of current knowledge of multiple-use management of tropical forests.  Of interest was the potential for non-timber forest products and services that could assist in sustaining the forest.  HIID compiled the study in 1988 and issued updated versions in 1990 and 1992.  The ITTO publishes a quarterly newsletter, Tropical Forest Update (ISSN 1022-5439), available also online.” (Wikipedia)

Although the ITTO is an intergovernmental organization and international in scope, the success of sustainable forest management largely depends on the individual country’s institutions and systems that protect the forest.  Weak systems and institutional structures, however, will most likely result to poor implementation of the goals and objectives of the International Tropical Timber Organization.

Thoughts to promote positive action…

(Please visit, like and share Pro-EARTH Crusaders on Facebook or follow me at and


Wikipedia, (2016). “International Tropical Timber Organization”.  Retrieved on January 29, 2016 from

No comments:

Post a Comment