The Ministry of Forestry and Research has made a very important breakthrough joining the 54th International Tropical Timber Council (ITTC) meeting recently held in Yokohama, Japan from the 5th – 8th of November 2018 as an observer.
A delegation of three led by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Forestry and Research (MoFR) Dr Vaeno Vigulu, Undersecretary Technical (supervising) and the Commissioner of Forests attended on behalf of Solomon Islands Government.
ITTC is the executive body to International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) an intergovernmental organization; and an action and field-oriented organization with more than 30 years of experience.
Its functions mainly on promoting the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests, the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests.
Permanent Secretary, Dr Vaeno Vigulu says despite the observer’s status of Solomon Islands to this ITTO Council Meeting, there is great interest shown from the bigger countries who are consumers of forest products.
“The ITTO Executive have also shown support for Solomon Islands to join and be a
full member; an encouraging notion from the organisation’s heads.
“With the knowledge that Solomon Islands is the second highest in the world on round logs exports apart from Papua New Guinea, it even bolsters ITTC wanting to help and assist the country.”
He adds there are lots of potential Solomon Islands can benefit from ITTO in the many areas it provides support for its members through its key focus areas.
Noting ITTO’s six major focus areas include Sustainable Forest Management – Managing and conserving tropical forests, Economics, Statistics and Markets – Improving the transparency of and expanding international markets for tropical timber, Sustainable Forest Industries – Developing efficient and value-adding tropical forest-based industries, Climate-change mitigation and adaptation – Addressing climate change, Capacity building through awarding of Fellowships – Raising the capacity of forest stakeholders to manage and benefit from their resources, Empowering women in Forestry sector – increasing involvement of women in the industry with equal opportunities and Contributions to Sustainable Development Goals.
Solomon Islands as a country can find means tapping into these for assistance as soon as it becomes a full member, says the Permanent Secretary.
Dr Vigulu also highlight one interesting thing during the meetings was to see every known producers/exporters and consumers/importers around the world are members.
“Seeing almost every consumer of our forest products are members of ITTO, it is indeed an encouraging bit and an opportunity to engage and discuss issues of interest at such level platform.”
He says his delegation is optimistic that such an eye opener will pave the way forward
to a holistic approach to proper managing of the country’s available forest resources.
It is also an opportunity that Solomon Islands must not miss out on being one of the highest producers and exporters of forest products, he adds.
The Permanent Secretary then acknowledges the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for facilitating and encouraging Solomon Islands to attend this 54th International Tropical Timber Council meeting followed up after a trip to ITTO Headquarters on February 2018 as a gesture of true friendship.
A compiled report from the delegation’s attendance and deliberations will be
forwarded to cabinet for discussion. – MOFR Press