Indonesia and EU launch FLEGT licensing for legal timber to combat illegal logging

Indonesia and the EU launch are hailing “a major milestone” in the global fight to end illegal logging, with the launch today of Indonesia’s FLEGT licensing scheme for exports to the EU of verified legal timber products.

by MFP3

The FLEGT licensing scheme is the first of its kind in the world, and is the result of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Indonesia and the EU. The VPA parties expect FLEGT licensing to increase trade in legal, licensed timber while closing the EU market to unlicensed products.

From 15 November 2016, all timber product types listed in the VPA and directly exported to the EU must be accompanied by a FLEGT licence. Competent Authorities in EU Member States will deny entry to any such products exported from Indonesia to the EU without a valid FLEGT licence.

The FLEGT licence automatically meets the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits operators in the EU from placing illegally harvested timber and products derived from illegal timber on the EU market. Importers of FLEGT-licensed timber products can place their imports on the EU market without the need to conduct further due diligence.

Indonesia’s FLEGT-licensing scheme is based on a mandatory timber legality assurance system called the SVLK that was developed by representatives of Indonesian forestry stakeholders. The SVLK assures that all timber products harvested or imported, transported, traded, processed and exported comply with national laws on environmental, social and economic aspects as identified by stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society.

“By addressing legality and meeting the EU’s high standards, we can not only trade responsibly but also ensure our forests support sustainable development, improve livelihoods and help address climate change,” said Putera Parthama, Director General of Sustainable Management of Production Forest at Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry. “Today, all of Indonesia’s timber exports are from independently audited factories and forests. Our timber legality assurance system and FLEGT licensing scheme will continue to improve thanks to in-built mechanisms for addressing concerns as they arise.”

The Indonesia-EU Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) oversees implementation of the VPA and the FLEGT licensing scheme.

“The EU congratulates Indonesia on the great progress it has made in bringing its forest sector under control and improving forest governance,” said Vincent Guérend, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia. “The FLEGT licensing scheme has come about through constructive dialogue among Indonesia’s government, private sector and civil society.

 

“Indonesia has shown true leadership and now sets a high standard for other countries to emulate,” said Guérend. “We look forward to receiving the first shipments of verified legal, FLEGT-licensed timber, which Indonesia exported today. We also congratulate Indonesia for applying its timber legality assurance system to exports to all markets, and not just to the EU.”

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