25 Jan 2012

BirdLife and ITTO agree to pursue common goals on tropical forests

By Martin Fowlie

BirdLife International and The International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation between ITTO and BirdLife International through activities relating to the conservation and sustainable use of tropical forest biodiversity in accordance with the work programmes of both organisations. Several areas for cooperation are identified in the agreement, including collaborative efforts to:

  • identify, develop and support implementation of joint site-based projects (e.g. forest restoration, biodiversity safeguards in REDD+, improving local livelihoods);
  • develop and support implementation of projects and best practices addressing global and regional drivers of deforestation;
  • facilitate involvement of other relevant organisations and agencies in programme and project implementation;
  • identify and mobilise relevant expertise for joint activities;
  • develop and test monitoring approaches and indicators for deforestation, forest degradation and forest restoration; and
  • organise awareness raising and educational activities to  mobilise public support for  forest conservation, restoration and sustainable management.

The signing ceremony took place in Tokyo and was witnessed by BirdLife International’s Honorary President, HIH Princess Takamado. Marco Lambertini, Chief Executive of BirdLife International, said “Working together ITTO and BirdLife International can deliver a future for tropical forests, and the people that depend on the services they provide.” Emmanuel Ze Meka, ITTO Executive Director, stated after the signing that, “We all recognise the importance of conserving and sustainably using tropical forest resources, and their important role in the overall sustainable development of the countries in the tropics. This MoU will be an important tool in helping both ITTO and BirdLife International to attain their shared objectives of promoting conservation and sustainable management of tropical forests and the vast biodiversity contained in them.” Joint activities proposed for the next biennium (subject to funding availability) include:

  • The development and implementation of site based and/or demonstration projects in preventing deforestation and promoting forest restoration as part of both ITTO’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Enhancing Environmental Services (REDDES) thematic programme and BirdLife International’s Forest of Hope Program.
  • The development and implementation of joint awareness raising activities on the conservation of forest biodiversity.
  • The development of a project for enhancing appropriate and robust biodiversity indicators for deforestation, forest degradation, and forest restoration.
  • An international workshop on forest restoration.

The two organisations will liaise closely to raise funds for such joint activities. The MoU will be in force until December 31 2015, and can be extended if mutually agreed. Find out more about BirdLife's Forest of Hope Programme