Forest Biodiversity

Joint ITTO – CBD Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity


In the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 and the International Year of Forests 2011, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen collaboration in the pursuit of their common objectives of conserving and sustainably managing tropical forest resources. In October and December 2010, respectively, the governing bodies of CBD and ITTC adopted Decisions welcoming the ITTO/CBD collaboration (Decision X/36 and ITTC Decision 6 (XLVI).

The following pamphlets summarize the Joint ITTO/CBD Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity.

Objectives and Outputs

The overall objective of the Joint ITTO/CBD Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity is to enhance biodiversity conservation in tropical forests with the direct participation of local stakeholders, addressing the main drivers of biodiversity loss in tropical forests: deforestation and forest degradation. More specifically, the Initiative will provide support to ITTO producer member countries to reduce losses of biodiversity through the implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Forest Biodiversity, focusing on the common objectives of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the ITTO Action Plan.

This Initiative aims to achieve four key outputs, with the assistance of donors and with the close collaboration of partners in producer member countries:
  1. Enhanced local capacity for biodiversity conservation in production forests and for the rehabilitation of degraded and secondary forests;

  2. Improved conservation and management of protected areas, especially in association with buffering protected areas, and transboundary conservation;

  3. Safeguarding tropical forest biodiversity in forestry interventions, including in REDD+ related projects; and

  4. Improved welfare of local communities and indigenous groups through biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
These expected outputs of the Initiative are to be achieved though the promotion of sustainable forest management (SFM), with a particular emphasis on biodiversity protection; forest monitoring and adaptive management to generate multiple benefits on a sustainable basis; protection against invasive species; and enhancing the value of natural tropical forests to avoid land use change.

Operational Procedures

ITTO will lead the implementation of the proposed Initiative in close consultation with the CBD Secretariat, donors, other partners and especially the beneficiary countries. Interested countries may submit a concept note to the ITTO Secretariat indicating their intention to develop a project or specific activity in the framework of this Initiative. The programme document that is the basis for concrete project activities under this collaboration is available here in English, French and Spanish.

The CBD and ITTO Secretariat will assess the pertinence of the request together with the relevant stakeholders of the proposing country and will support the formulation of a full project proposal (if required), and fund raising. Donors may allocate funds to a specific project of the Initiative, or as an unearmarked contribution to the Initiative. The development of project proposals will follow the ITTO rules and procedures as per its regular project cycle, including the submission of project proposals to the screening of ITTO’s Expert Panel.

Monitoring of the project activities follows ITTO’s standard operating procedures, as well as the production and dissemination of progress reports and financial statements on the use of project funds. Mid-term and ex-post evaluations of the overall Initiative and of selected projects will be carried out to guide implementation and any follow-up.

The ITTO Guidelines for the Restoration, Management and Rehabilitation of Degraded and Secondary Tropical Forests (2002) provides the policy elements to recover the biodiversity conservation capacity of degraded forests in the tropics. These ITTO guidelines are complementary to, and entirely support the CBD forest programme of work, providing the guidance elements for the field implementation of the Initiative.

Summary of Achievements to Date

In its first four years (2010–2014), the Joint ITTO-CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity has funded eleven projects covering 26 countries in the three tropical regions. Financial contributions have been made by the governments of Japan, Switzerland and the USA, among others, for a total investment of about US$15 million.

The document Joint ITTO – CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity Achievements to Date, which was submitted to the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, provides further information.

Renewing Partnership

At a high-level event during the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the CBD and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) renewed the Joint ITTO-CBD Collaborative Initiative for Tropical Forest Biodiversity through another Memorandum of Understanding for an extended six year period of 2015-2020.

The press release for the event can be found here.

MOU Ceremony


Government agencies in countries that are members of the International Tropical Timber Organization should direct inquiries to

More information is also available at