The International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA) is an international treaty established to promote the sustainable management of tropical forests and the trade of tropical timber. The first ITTA was signed in 1983 and since then, it has been revised three times – in 1994, 2006, and 2010.
The objective of the ITTA is to ensure that the production and trade of tropical timber is responsible, sustainable and legal. The agreement is designed to protect tropical forests and the livelihoods of the approximately 1.6 billion people who depend on them. It also aims to support the development of the tropical timber trade, ensuring that it is balanced and that producers in developing countries receive fair prices for their products.
The ITTA provides a framework for international cooperation on tropical timber issues, including the development of sustainable forest management practices, responsible trade practices, and measures to combat illegal logging. It establishes an International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) to oversee the implementation of the agreement and to promote the sustainable management of tropical forests through technical assistance, research, and capacity building.
The ITTA also contains provisions on the trade of tropical timber, including rules that require importing countries to ensure that the timber they import is legal and comes from sustainable sources. It encourages countries to enter into agreements that promote the trade of certified sustainable timber, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme.
The ITTA has been successful in promoting sustainable forest management practices and responsible trade practices for tropical timber. As of 2021, 55 countries have become members of the ITTO, representing 90% of the world`s tropical forests. The ITTO has provided technical assistance and capacity building to its members, improving forest management practices and increasing the use of certified sustainable timber.
In conclusion, the ITTA is a crucial international agreement that promotes the sustainable management of tropical forests and the responsible trade of tropical timber. It has played an essential role in protecting the world`s tropical forests, ensuring that they can continue to provide crucial ecosystem services and support the livelihoods of millions of people. By working together through the ITTA, countries can continue to develop and improve sustainable forest management practices, promote responsible trade practices, and combat illegal logging.