The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have renewed their longstanding collaboration for another five years, with the aim of supporting CBD Parties and ITTO member countries in the tropics in their efforts to conserve biodiversity, implement sustainable forest management (SFM), restore degraded forest landscapes and encourage the sustainable use of forest resources.
The collaboration to 2025 was formalised with a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
ITTO and CBD have been collaborating closely for a decade. The first MOU between the two bodies, signed in 2010 in the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity, gave birth to the ITTO/CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity. A second MOU spanning 2015–2020 was signed at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, in October 2014.
To date, the Collaborative Initiative has encompassed 16 projects in 23 tropical countries, all of which had experienced biodiversity losses and declines in forest area, and have large numbers of forest-dependent people. At US$13 million, the total budget of the 16 projects is modest, but a recent technical review found that they have achieved extraordinary success in improving local livelihoods and forest management, restoring degraded forest landscapes and conserving biodiversity.
Examples of some achievements include increasing the size of a mangrove protected area in Peru by more than 700,000 ha; providing more than 400 foresters and technicians in Central Africa with education and training on SFM; enabling previously difficult transboundary cooperation on the management of the Emerald Triangle between Cambodia and Thailand; and restoring 130 ha of mangroves in Fiji.
The renewed collaboration between the CBD and ITTO will include:
- assisting countries to recognise and enhance the values of forest landscapes, including their biodiversity and ecosystem services;
- assisting countries to collect and use ecological and biological data that contribute to sustainable management and use and the restoration of tropical forests;
- promoting innovative practices, technologies and approaches, and developing technical expertise, to enhance tropical biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services in forest landscapes;
- building capacity for implementing the ITTO/IUCN Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Tropical Timber Production Forests and other relevant guidelines and policies of the CBD and ITTO;
- cooperating with other international organisations and partners to strengthen capacity for achieving global biodiversity goals, including the conservation and sustainable use of tropical tree species listed in the Appendixes of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; and
- identifying, developing and implementing targeted joint activities on tropical forests and tropical forest biodiversity.
The new MOU will also help facilitate collaboration with, and access to, bilateral and multilateral funding sources such as the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund on emerging issues related to biodiversity conservation, climate-change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable development.
Innovative aspects of the collaboration between ITTO and the CBD include exploring opportunities for harmonised reporting on the sustainable use, restoration and conservation of tropical forests in the context of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which is being developed under the CBD, and supporting regional and South–South cooperation, thus contributing to and leveraging the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030).
The collaboration between ITTO and the CBD has contributed to several Aichi Biodiversity Targets, specifically Target 1, on awareness-raising, Target 5, on reducing habitat loss, Target 7, on SFM, Target 11, on protected area management, Target 12, on the protection of endangered species, and Target 14, on restoring and safeguarding ecosystem services, as well as to many of the Sustainable Development Goals.