As reported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) on its website, 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 formalized with the coming into effect last Monday of 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 USD 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 the 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 :
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 harmonized 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.