International Hardwood Agreement

The political debate on forests under multilateral environmental agreements, UNFF and other important political processes, such as COFO and FLEG initiatives in Asia and Africa, has influenced international trade processes, including regional trade agreements. However, there was not enough coordination between international trade dialogue and forest dialogue, and delegations of WTO trade agreements and regional trade agreements generally lacked forest expertise (Bass, 2003). Special sessions of the ETC and meetings of the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee are exceptions. However, important work in the Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Committee and the Market Access Negotiation Group is not helpful to the expertise of the forest sector in developing countries. ITTA2 (1994) was developed to ensure that tropical timber exports come from sustainably managed sources by the year 2000 and to create a fund to help tropical timber producers obtain the resources needed to achieve this goal. The mandate of the International Tropical Timber Organization has also been defined. The agreement was opened for signature on 26 January 1994 and came into force on 1 January 1997. ITTO provides this list of international forest-related events as a public service, but is not responsible for changes in date or location or other errors The ad hoc Intergovernmental Committee on Forests (ECOSOC, 1997) and the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (CSD, 1998) have found that trade can have positive and negative effects on sustainable forest management , and recommended that countries monitor the impact of trade policy more closely. The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is tasked with pursuing trade-related issues and ITTO has taken the lead in the Forest Cooperation Partnership (CPF) – an innovative partnership between major international forest organizations. However, trade issues and their implications for sustainable forest management have not been systematically and comprehensively addressed in international forest processes, such as the UNF, the CBD and the FAO Forestry Committee (COFO) and regional forest commissions; Indeed, it is doubtful that they will be adapted to such a discussion. While consultations at these sites can and have yielded interesting analyses and recommendations, the development of practical and consistent policies in the area of trade and the forestry industry must be based on national experience and needs.

Despite the rapid expansion of international trade, forest production, including timber, is destined for consumption in the domestic markets of producing countries. This puts into perspective the impact that international trade could have on sustainable forest management, particularly in developing countries. With the exception of Europe and North America, most domestic and intra-regional markets are generally unsensed to the environmental and social impact of logging operations. There are also international agreements on the use of tropical hardwoods and logging. The International Tropical Woods Agreement was established in 2006 to “promote the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests and promote the sustainable management of tropical timber-producing forests.” 71 countries have signed the UN-sponsored agreement. International trade in non-wood forest products (NWFP) is very limited, but it is likely that these products will continue to play an important role in rural income through trade in established local markets. While it is estimated that more than 80% of the rural poor depend on NPNEs to support themselves (FAO, 2004b) and that trade in PNPs is an important trade factor at the national level, reliable data on international and national trade are available only for a small number of countries and some products such as paran nuts. , vanilla, natural rubber and shea nuts.

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