An ATIBT mission was held in China and Japan between May 19th and May 25th. Messrs. Robert Hunink, president, and Benoit Jobbé-Duval, general manager, traveled to Shanghai, Huzhou, Beijing and Yokohama to meet the Chinese organizations GGSC (Global Green Supply Chain) and CTWPDA (China Timber and Wood Products Distribution Association), WWF China, FSC China, GIZ and ITTO.
The objective of this mission was to visit the hotels able to host our event, and to exchange with the Chinese partners GGSC and CTWPDA, with whom ATIBT wishes to coorganize this meeting. As a reminder, at our Think-Tank meeting last January, it was decided that ATIBT would strive to work with GGSC and CTWPDA to share our experiences and know-how, as well as learn from our Chinese colleagues, to improve the sustainable management of tropical forests in the Congo Basin.
Finally, this trip was also intended to meet ITTO, which provides support for the GGSC initiative, which also wants to co-organize the event and make a contribution to the forum in October.
The forum itself will be held in Shanghai on October 22 and 23, and will be followed on October 24 and 25 by various visits to Chinese companies in Huzhou and possible participation in the CTWPDA Hardwood Commission conference (for the part concerning tropical timber). These post-forum meetings will take place in this city of Huzhou, located 2 hours from Shanghai. Forum participants who wish to do so will be able to devote time to deepening commercial and technical exchanges with Chinese companies.
As a reminder, this forum in China aims to interact with Chinese players importing African wood, but also with operators working in the Congo Basin countries (we hope they can go to Shanghai), to reflect together on the future of sustainable management in the region. The Congo Basin, and in particular Gabon, where more than 75% of the surface area is managed by Asian operators, is currently under tension due to the action of certain industrialists who caused the « Kévazingogate » in Gabon. The solution, which must be rapid, will come from the will of the authorities in the region, but certainly also from the capital influence of the Chinese industry concerned with a legal and sustainable supply. The timber resources of the Congo Basin are not inexhaustible, and they must be more than ever managed sustainably.
The GGSC initiative, which is very important for the entire sub-region, receives the full support of ATIBT, ITTO and its partners. The Shanghai Forum will certainly be a unique opportunity to address these issues and a platform for dialogue and networking.
The forum will be preceded, on October 21st, by the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of ATIBT.
The formal invitation will be launched as soon as the choice of the hotel is definitive.