Global Timber Forum to move forward and establish legal status

The GTF advisory board agreed to set up a legal structure for the Global Timber Forum on occasion of last week’s GTF Summit in Shanghai. The not-for-profit company is to be UK-based and formal set-up is expected to be completed during the course of the summer.

The Global Timber Forum, which was launched as an informal cooperation in Rome two years ago, will thus enter into a more permanent form of existence. Legal status will enable the organisation to set up structures and secure long-term funding.

A formal advisory board will replace the currently informal GTF advisory panel as a part of this process. Moreover, a secretariat managed by GTF Facilitator Rachel Butler has already been set up. The secretariat’s primary role is to manage funds, develop projects and increase and maintain a database of global federation and association contacts.

The GTF’s interactive website, with its core news and forum sections as well as the “Knowledgebase” information section has been live since April. All trade and industry organisations are welcome to contribute opinions and topics. Forum contributions can be made directly, by logging in to the website and ideas for news stories or full news contributions can be sent to GTF.

In addition, the GTF has also launched market research and capacity building projects in Africa, Myanmar, China and Malaysia. Germain Yene, based in Cameroon, co-ordinates the African work supported by George White, who has considerable experience working internationally as lead Technical Advisor on projects. Ms Chen Min, based in Beijing, with considerable international experience having once worked for the State Forestry Association supports the GTF with China liaison.

In a next step, the secretariat will put forward a proposal to determine the future scope, strategy and activities of the GTF, which will be sent out for consultation.

The GTF has come a long way since the idea for an international communications and networking hub was unveiled during the 2012 Global Wood Mart in Kuala Lumpur. And the Shanghai Summit once more underlined the need for international networking and for sharing and exchanging information, ideas, and best practice as well as concerns.