Mr. Olman Serrano was nominated, at the last General Assembly of the ATIBT, as the new President of the ATIBT. He replaces Mr. Robert Hunink, who has served two terms in this position, and whom the members of the ATIBT warmly thanked for all the work accomplished.
Mr. Serrano is well acquainted with our association, of which he was already a member of the Board of Directors for 15 years and interim President between 2014 and 2015. He finds us convinced of the complementarity between the conservation of tropical forests and the use of forest resources in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and regrets that forest activity is still often perceived as a driving force for deforestation and forest degradation, independently of the use of sustainable or unsustainable management practices.
He said he would devote his efforts to defending the responsible tropical forest industry, which requires greater recognition of its key role in protecting natural resources, improving livelihoods and sustainable development in tropical countries.
Mr. Serrano grew up in Costa Rica in a family business manufacturing tropical wooden furniture. As a teenager he moved to Germany to study wood science at university. His professional career began in 1982 in the private sector, always linked in various ways to the processing and marketing of tropical wood products and continues to this day. It is proud to be able to count on a global network committed to the sustainable use and fair trade of tropical timber products.
His almost 40-year career therefore includes a career with the private sector and then with the United Nations organization responsible for forestry and natural resources, FAO. During his 25 years of experience in this organization, he has been the link between it and the forest products industry, including tropical forestry. He was also Secretary of the FAO Advisory Committee on Paper and Wood Products (now the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forestry).