Source: International Tropical Timber Organization

The most recent session of the International Tropical Timber Council concluded in early December 2021. Most crucially at the session, Ms Sheam Satkuru, a Malaysian national and the first woman to win the position, was appointed by consensus as ITTO’s next Executive Director.

Sheam Satkuru, ITTO’s newly appointed Executive Director. Photo credit: CTWPDA

Sheam Satkuru, ITTO’s newly appointed Executive Director. Photo credit: CTWPDA

Ms Satkuru is a lawyer by training and has considerable experience in international negotiations and the tropical timber trade.

The Council made several other decisions at the session, including on a new strategic action plan that will guide policy and project work for the next five years.

The 2021 Annual Market Discussion, which was held during the Council session, addressed the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the international tropical timber trade and its stakeholders. The pandemic has caused considerable disruption to timber supply chains, and most experts expect this to continue for some time yet. Nevertheless, the sector should ultimately recover, with demand for timber likely to rise in coming years as consumers look for renewable, sustainable materials.

In part, increasing wood demand could be met by a corresponding surge in forest restoration while also restoring lost ecosystem services and increasing land productivity. Indeed, much has been said in recent years about the need for such restoration to repair the damage done to forests, landscapes and communities by a multitude of forces, such as low-quality logging, poorly conceived agriculture, fire, cattle-grazing, invasive species and mining.

In many communities in many countries, the talk is being matched by action.