ITTO appoints Executive Director, sets new priorities to increase economic contribution of tropical forest sector while reducing deforestation and increasing resilience

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YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, 20 December 2021: The International Tropical Timber Council appointed Ms Sheam Satkuru as the new Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) at its virtual 57th session concluded in early December 2021 and also endorsed a strategic action plan to set the Organization’s path for the next five years.

 

ITTO is an intergovernmental organization promoting the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources, and its members represent the bulk of the world’s tropical forests and of the global tropical timber trade. ITTO develops internationally agreed policy documents to promote sustainable forest management and forest conservation and assists tropical member countries to adapt such policies to local circumstances and to implement them in the field through projects. In addition, ITTO collects, analyzes and disseminates data on the production and trade of tropical timber and funds projects and other actions aimed at developing sustainable forest industries.

 

Ms Satkuru, a citizen of Malaysia, was the Malaysian Timber Council’s Regional Director for Europe between 2007 and 2017, and she has been Director of Operations at ITTO since 2017. Ms Satkuru is a specialist in international trade, with strong skills and experience in legal and policy analysis related to international affairs, the timber and forest industries, communications, public affairs and outreach. She is also a skilled and experienced international negotiator; she holds a master’s degree in law from Kings College at the University of London and was called to the English Bar in 1993.

 

In accepting the appointment, Ms Satkuru referred to the principle of consensus as one of ITTO’s strongest features. “As the first woman to be appointed as the Organization’s Executive Director, I applaud all members of the International Tropical Timber Council for the consultative and collaborative spirit they have shown,” she said. “I pledge to take ITTO’s interests forward in a fair, balanced and equitable manner for all its members.” Ms Satkuru will take up her new position in early 2022.

 

Council endorses new Strategic Action Plan ITTO’s new Strategic Action Plan will guide policy and project work for the next five years. It comprises four strategic priorities, four crosscutting strategies and 38 targets to be accomplished by 2026. The strategic priorities are:

  1. Promote good governance and policy frameworks to enhance financing and investment in sustainable tropical forest management, legal and sustainable forest product supply chains and related trade.
  2. Increase the contribution of the tropical forest sector to national and local economies and resilient livelihoods, including through the further processing and trade of tropical timber and other forest products and services.
  3. Reduce tropical deforestation and forest degradation, enhance forest landscape restoration and the resilience of forest ecosystems to climate change, and conserve forest biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  4. Improve the quality, availability and timeliness of information on tropical forest product markets, supply chains and international trade, including challenges and opportunities related to market access, expansion and diversification.

 

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