Proposals for a major new initiative to tackle illegal deforestation and strengthen legal governance frameworks in tropical forest producer countries and within international timber supply chains are being launched at COP26.

Image credit: Roberto Nickson | Unsplash

Image credit: Roberto Nickson | Unsplash

Billed as a ‘Call to Action’ from the global private sector involved in forest management and timber production globally, the Tropical Timber Accord – “Global Forests need Global Governance” – highlights that strong, inclusive legal frameworks are essential for the sustainable management of tropical forests and underpin all other climate policy ambitions relating to tropical forests.

The paper proposes a new governance approach for the global tropical forest sector based on national standards within an international framework. Crucially, it also proposes supporting an international secretariat to administer and oversee the development of this framework.

The Accord has been produced from a series of workshops with trade associations and businesses throughout the tropical production belt and facilitated and led by the UK Timber Trade Federation. It is also supported by associations in consumer nations including China, Europe and the UK. It is the first time that the global private sector of the forestry management and timber production industry has come together to speak with one united voice to advocate for greater global governance and enforceable legal frameworks in supply chains and within producer forest countries.

Tropical forests are in danger as never before. Global forest cover is falling worldwide while greenhouse gas emissions as a direct result of deforestation increase. At least twelve percent of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to tropical forest deforestation and degradation (World Bank, 2021) largely caused by agricultural expansion. Global strategies to halt deforestation or forest degradation to date have had significant ambitions for climate mitigation but have fallen short of their ambitions.

The tropical timber sector has a key role in achieving the forest management and conservation goals of COP26. However, the private sector, Governments and civil society in producer and consumer countries must come together to establish relationships promoting governance and sustainable management to achieve this.

David Hopkins, CEO of the UK Timber Trade Federation, launched the Tropical Timber Accord at COP at the UK Pavilion in the Blue Zone immediately after the World Leaders Summit Forest and Land Use session on Tuesday 2nd November. The timing of the launch highlights the importance of governance for tropical forests and the urgent need to put governance and our forests on the climate agenda.

David was joined by Sheam Satkuru, Director of Operations for the International Tropical Timber Organisation; Vel Gnanendran, Climate and Environment Director of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; Ghislain Moussavou, Director General of Forests, Gabon; Minister Matondo, Minister of the Forest Economy, Republic of Congo. The session included a pre-recorded message from Lord Zac Goldsmith.

Panelists highlighted the importance of tropical forests for COP26 climate mitigation objectives and the need to strengthen legality, sustainability and governance across supply chains in the tropical belt. Governments can and must play a critical role in establishing governance conditions in-country reforms, as well as working with international parties and the private sector.

The Accord will be presented and discussed at further events in the Blue Zone during the COP.

“Global Forests need Global Governance” was discussed at the Nature Zone Pavilion, on Wednesday 3 November to provide more detail on the needs, challenges, issues, and answers for the global governance of tropical forests. David Hopkins was joined by ministers and private sector representatives.

On Saturday 6th November 12:00 – 13:30 in the COMIFAC Pavilion will be the final COP presentation of the Tropical Timber Accord. Private associations of the Congo Basin have been fundamentally involved with the Tropical Timber Accord and workshop sessions.

To launch the Tropical Timber Accord at COP is a huge success for the facilitative work and process that trade associations across the tropical belt have contributed to. The Accord will be available for download from 1:45 GMT from the World of Wood website: