1946 : the beginning

After the second World War, when it was time to start thinking about reconstruction, the European forests – which were particularly affected – were insufficient to satisfy the continent’s timber needs. In 1946, the FAO* and the OECD** convened an international conference to identify agriculture, forestry and fishing resources. The forest experts from both the public and private sectors that were present expressed the wish that an association be created in order to:

  • promoting tropical timber,
  • publish statistics, by species, between producer and consumer countries,
  • obtain commercial information on weights, measurements, sea freight and contracts,
  • explore all means of increasing the production, sale and rational use of species.

*Food and Agriculture Organization – a United Nations agency

** Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

1951 : Launch of ATIBT

Six years later, in September 1951, the OECD organised an international conference at its headquarters (the La Muette château). It was attended by government officials and professional organisations (producers, manufacturers, importers, traders and end users). They decided to create the ATIBT (Association  Technique Internationale des Bois Tropicaux). Initially, six working committees were established:

  • technical documentation and propaganda,
  • production and consumption statistics,
  • transport and handling,
  • codification of commercial practices and contracts,
  • classification and packaging of logs and lumber,


1954 : First edition of the Tropical Timber Nomenclature.

It will be regularly updated, through its latest edition in 2016.

1982 : first ATIBT forum in Rome

Based on a 2-day format that features debates and speeches, this forum is an opportunity to bring together and allow for discussion between members and players of the tropical timber industry. This was the beginning of a long series, with forums organised every two years, and then every year, with a different theme each time that is linked to sector developments and issues. The ATIBT forum has been held in various cities throughout the world: Manaus, Marrakech, Washington, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Valencia, Libreville, Istanbul, Rome, Brussels, Athens, Shanghai, Belém, Bologna, Ho Chi Min City, Brazzaville, Amsterdam, Milan, etc. The next edition will be held in Dubai in 2017.

1996 : International recognition

Integration of the FAO and support from donors to finance ATIBT’s various projects.

1998 : First collegiate efforts dedicated to the sustainable management of tropical forests


2012 : Signing of the ATIBT agreement by the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo, followed by the Ivory Coast in 2013