Sheam Satkuru

ITTO Executive Director


The World Wildlife Day provides the perfect opportunity for the International Tropical Timber Organization to reiterate our support for CITES’ focus on the improved management and conservation of threatened tropical tree species. 

ITTO and CITES have collaborated for more than 2 decades, assisting countries’ implementation of CITES-listed tropical tree species, implementing wide-ranging programs supported by donors led by the European Union and the United States of America. Our joint work has focused on improving the management of iconic CITES-listed tropical tree species, such as big-leaf mahogany, ramin, afrormosia and the ebonies and rosewoods. 

Projects under our collaborative programs have undertaken inventories of target species, developed management plans, carried out non-detriment findings (NDFs) required for CITES Appendix 2 listings, supported research and technology on wood identification, and developed tracking and traceability systems to ensure that traded specimens come from areas covered by an NDF. 

More recently, ITTO has funded sample collections and DNA/stable isotope analyses to allow the geo-location of products from the Appendix II-listed species afrormosia, African cherry, cumaru and ipe where the listings of the latter two species come into force at the end of 2024. The technologies and databases produced under these projects are a concrete digital innovation contributing to the 2024 World Wildlife Day theme, “Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation”.

This collaboration has helped countries establish sustainable export quotas and address concerns about the impacts of trade on the sustainability of tree species, which ensures that trade in these valuable species doesn’t compromise their conservation and promotes sustainable development in countries. 

The strengthened management and conservation of threatened or endangered tropical tree species is an excellent example of how international organizations and the global community can come together to ensure that iconic tree species continue to provide their myriad benefits to humanity and also perform their crucial ecological roles. 

Long live the excellent successful collaborative relationship between ITTO & the CITES Secretariat in 2024 and beyond.

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