Message by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi,
Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Japan
at the opening session of the 35th Session of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
November 3, 2003
(Note: This message was delivered in the opening session of the 35th session of the ITTO, which took place on November 3)
of the International Tropical Timber Organization,
Distinguished guests and participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to send a message to the opening session of the 35th Council Session of the International Tropical Timber Organization.
On behalf of the Japanese Government, I would like to express my cordial welcome to all of you who have assembled here to participate in this session.
It has been more than 16-years since the establishment of the ITTO. During this period, the ITTO has played a significant role to stabilize and promote international trade in tropical timber on one hand, and to maintain sustainable forests management on the other hand through information exchange, formulation of policy guide-lines and implementation of many important projects.
Japan highly appreciates this contribution of the ITTO and strongly supports it by means of project financing, active participation in policy deliberation, hosting of the Council Sessions and the Headquaters themselves.
We face new challenges and issues such as illegal logging which damages the sustainable forest management. In this context, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Japan's recent two initiatives. First, I and Minister Prakosa, Indonesian Minister of Forestry, signed "joint announcement" on the cooperation in combating illegal logging on the occasion of the visit of Indonesian President, Megawatti to Japan this June. In this announcement, Japan and Indonesia reiterated the importance of combating illegal logging. The second initiative is "Asia Forest Partnership" which was launched at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, WSSD last year with a view to promoting sustainable forest management in Asia. As for Asia Forest Partnership, in the past two meetings of the AFP, we have examined to take further concrete actions in the fields of combating illegal logging, preventing and fighting forest fire, and rehabilitating and reforesting degraded lands. I am happy to announce that Japan will host the 3rd meeting of Asia Forest Partnership on the 21st of this month.
The 2nd Preparatory Committee for the successor Agreement to the ITTA, 1994 is scheduled to be held immediately after this session. Japan believes that current ITTA is well balanced and reflects the purpose and function of ITTO appropriately. On the other hand, we have to admit the fact that the new and emerging issues such as illegal logging, environmental considerations, participation of civil society and private sector should be fully taken into account when we consider the new agreement.
I highly appreciate that one of the salient features of the ITTO is the implementation of concrete projects. I would like to point out that the effective and efficient implementation of projects is of the utmost importance for the ITTO when we take into account the present severe financial constraint. In this respect, I am satisfied with the fact that the member countries have started to examine the issue of the project cycle. Japan intends to extend its continued support for the efficient and effective project realization.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to pay my highest tribute to the Executive Director of the ITTO, Dr. Sobral and his staff, as well as city of Yokohama for their devoted efforts and cooperation to organize this session.
I would like to conclude my message by wishing this Council Session a great success and the ITTO's further success.
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