UN conference on tropical timber breaks up without accord
GENEVA (AFP) Jul 30, 2004
Delegates from 59 states involved in the trade in tropical timber have failed in a week of talks to reach a deal on a new international agreement to protect rapidly disappearing forests, a United Nations spokesman said in Geneva on Friday.

They agreed to meet again in February to review International Tropical Timber Agreement (AIBT), adopted in 1994, and which expires at the end of 2005.

Tropical forests are estimated to be disappearing at the rate of 12 million to 15 million hectares (46,000 to 59,000 square miles) a year. The aim of the agreement, to which 33 producer countries and their 26 major customers plus several dozen conservationist bodies are party, is to strengthen international rules protecting the forests.

The tropical woods industry is estimated to be worth 10 billion dollars (8.3 billion euros) a year and support 500 million people.