October 28, 2004. Washington,
DC —The International Finance Corporation’s Latin America and Caribbean
Small and Medium Enterprise Facility (LAC SME Facility), and the World
Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Latin American branch of the Global Forest and Trade
Network (GFTN) are teaming up to develop environmentally responsible
wood trade in Latin America, with a special focus on Bolivia, Honduras,
Nicaragua, and Peru.
The program, as described in the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding,
combines forest resource management and sustainable economic development
by building a strong business case for exporting responsibly-produced wood
products. The IFC and WWF will launch pilot projects linking manufacturers,
traders, and forest managers committed to the business of sustainable forestry.
The pilot projects will:
Strengthen indigenous communities and private landowner’s abilities to
engage in sustainable forest management as an alternative to illegal logging
Increase the supply of responsibly-produced wood and wood products
Stimulate demand for products made from responsibly-produced wood
Improve business management and production of project participants, and
Promote financing and investment opportunities within supply chains.
The pilots have been designed in accordance with the World Bank’s Revised
Forestry Strategy, which emphasizes integrating forests into sustainable
economic development, harnessing the potential of forests to reduce poverty,
and protecting vital environmental services and values.
WWF Central America, based out of Costa Rica, is the Latin American hub
for the GFTN. The GFTN was established by WWF to facilitate trade links
between companies committed to achieving and supporting responsible forestry—and,
in so doing, create tangible market-based incentives for forest conservation.
The GFTN currently operates in almost 30 countries worldwide including:
Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and all 7 countries in Central America.
According to Atul Mehta, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean at
the IFC, “Forging strategic local partnerships is a pivotal part of the
Facility’s technical assistance strategy. By collaborating with
key local stakeholders, the Facility is able to carry out its work program
more efficiently and effectively while building local capacity and increase
the sustainability of its projects.”
Steve Gretzinger, GFTN’s Latin American Coordinator, commented, “We welcome
the opportunity to deepen our collaboration with the IFC by taking advantage
of the complementary strengths of our respective organizations. The
IFC’s expertise in finance and business development, coupled with the
GFTN’s ability to assist companies throughout Latin America in producing
quality products from well-managed forests for the discerning global marketplace
should prove a powerful combination for the pilot project countries, and
in the future, other Latin American countries.”
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries,
helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private
sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international
financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44
billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.
ABOUT IFC LAC SME FACILITY
IFC's Latin America and Caribbean Small and Medium Enterprise Facility
headquartered in Lima, Peru, promotes private sector development by supporting
small and medium enterprises, thus contributing to job creation and poverty
reduction in the region. Its areas of focus are strengthening SME
competitiveness; making it easier for SMEs to do business by simplifying
business regulations; broadening access to finance; and connecting enterprises
and local communities.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF), known worldwide by its panda logo, leads international
efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats and to conserve
the diversity of life on Earth. Now in its fifth decade, WWF works
in more than 100 countries around the globe. Visit us on the Web at www.worldwildlife.org.
ABOUT WWF FOREST TRADE NETWORK IN LATIN AMERICA
With the support of various partners from the public and private sectors,
WWF Central America is aggressively working to make responsible forest
management and trade a wise and profitable business practice that competes
with illegal logging throughout Latin America. As the international
conservation organization with the longest on-the-ground track record in
Central America, WWF is convinced that the most effective conservation
strategy is one that provides tangible economic benefits to rural dwellers
engaged in sustainable practices such as certified forestry. To further
this goal, WWF has recently established Jagwood+, the Mesoamerican and
Caribbean Forest and Trade Network, as the regional partner of the broader
Global Forestry Trade Network. This membership based, trade association
of forest managers, processors and traders committed to strict purchasing
and production policies, provides the following services to its private
sector members: market linkages, promotion, policy development, targeted
market research, and technical assistance. To learn more about the
GFTN, visit www.panda.org/forestandtrade.org.