ITTO and Government of Japan to Fund Forest Rehabilitation in Côte d’Ivoire

ITTO logo16 May 2013: The Government of Japan and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) have jointly signed an agreement to fund implementation of a large forest land rehabilitation project in Côte d'Ivoire. The financing, at the level of US$1.8 million, will support a project to rehabilitate Côte d'Ivoire's forest lands degraded during civil warfare in 2002-2005 and 2010-2011.

According to ITTO, two forests that together span over 140,000 ha in western Côte d'Ivoire, the Duékoué and Scio forests, were plundered during the periods of civil war, as refugees and internally displaced people fled to refugee camps in forest reserves, and as local communities harvested wood. ITTO describes a pressing need to recover degraded forest land.

The project will be implemented by Côte d'Ivoire's Forest Development Corporation (Société de Développement des Forêts, or SODEFOR). The project, which ITTO states will involve both local communities and displaced persons in the process, has four main components: rehabilitation of degraded forest lands through agroforestry; production and dissemination of high quality seeds and seedlings; the subcontract of forest rehabilitation work with local communities; and distribution of equipment to facilitate food product marketing from agroforestry plantations.

Both Emmanuel Ze Meka, ITTO Executive Director,  and Her Excellency Toshiko Abe, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of Japan, expressed a sense that the project would contribute to rehabilitation not just of forest biodiversity, but also of the livelihoods of community members, including displaced persons.

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) is an intergovernmental organization promoting the conservation and sustainable management, use and trade of tropical forest resources. [ITTO Press Release]