International Tropical Timber OrganizationThe International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) was established in 1985 to provide a forum for consultation regarding tropical timber (excluding conifers and wood products) among timber producing and consuming countries. It has 46 member countries (25 producers and 21 consumers). ITTO assists member countries to manage tropical forests for the enhancement of all forest values, and to improve the efficiency of utilization and market structural conditions for tropical timber exports from sustainable sources.
The ITTO secretariat is based in Yokohama, Japan and comprises four divisions: reforestation and forest management, economic information and market intelligence, forest industry, and management services. The ITTO budget is financed by all members according to formulae based on trade participation levels and forest area. Its main donors are sovereign nations and the Common Fund for Commodities, but private companies, trade associations, and service groups have often made substantial donations.
Priorities related to the forestry sector
By 1997, the ITTO had funded 319 projects and pre-projects (excluding counterpart contributions) totalling US$130 million. In general, a typical ITTO project has a budget below US$1 million. All are funded on a grant basis. Some of the major projects however, are multiphase activities reaching US$2 to US$4 million. Of these projects 72% focused on reforestation and forest management, 19% on forest industry and 9% on economic information and market intelligence.
Projects cover a wide area of forestry issues, perhaps the most important being integrated field projects demonstrating sustainable forest management. There has been a strong shift in this direction with a movement away from industrial and commodity funding. The four ITTO projects cofinanced by the Common Fund for Commodities also have a strong environmental component. The ITTO also has two major national park projects.
The ITTO also has a fellowship programme of up to 60 awards per year with open application (i.e. not limited to those working in ITTO projects).
Member countries must submit proposals in the format laid out in the ITTO manual on project formulation which is available upon request. ITTO funds training courses to help build up a group of formulators in producer member countries. Project proposals are appraised by an expert panel composed of 12 members. The panel makes recommendations for revisions or reformulations (or rejections) based on conformity with ITTO objectives, its action plan and guidelines. Proposals which are deemed as needing modest revisions are submitted in revised form by the member countries to the subsectoral committees. The committees make recommendations to the council approving or rejecting projects.
After approval and funding, the secretariat and the executing agency in the recipient country draw up a project agreement, normally signed within a few months of the session. Implementation begins, with financial disbursements made by ITTO, according to the schedules set out in the agreement, using funds deposited in ITTO's special account by the donors. Monitoring and reviews are undertaken by the secretariat or by consultants. All projects over US$400 000 with a duration exceeding two years, must have a steering committee, on which ITTO, the executing agency, local government and local communities, and sometimes also the donors, are represented.
International Tropical Timber Organization
International Organizations Center, 5th Floor
Nishi-ku, Yokohama 220-0012