The EU and Indonesia embarked on an ambitious journey to improve forest governance and promote trade in legal timber over a decade ago. This month, the two parties celebrated the third anniversary of a key result in that work, the launch of the world’s first ‘FLEGT’ licensing scheme, guaranteeing the legality of timber products exported from Indonesia to the EU.
Indonesian civil society groups that act as independent forest monitors have called for action to further improve the credibility and accountability of the country’s timber legality assurance system (SVLK), which Indonesia developed under its Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU.
Indonesia has been stepping up action against illegal logging and other forest crimes, with an increase in law enforcement operations and hundreds of court cases in the past three years. However, improving monitoring and law enforcement remains a challenging task.
Indonesia’s Independent Forest Monitoring Network (JPIK) says the country’s timber legality assurance system (SVLK) has led to “significant changes in improving good forest governance” but still has weaknesses and must be continuously improved to ensure its credibility and accountability.
In this exclusive interview with the ETTF, European Commission Director General for the Environment Daniel Calleja Crespo describes the first year of FLEGT licensing by Indonesia as a great start. Now, he says, it’s the responsibility of all stakeholders to capitalise on the opportunities presented by this unique timber legality initiative and to take the wider EU FLEGT Action Plan forward.
Indonesia was not the only one to celebrate its FLEGT licensing launch last year. Other tropical timber exporters engaged in the FLEGT VPA process en route to licensing welcomed the news too. They see Indonesia’s success not just as inspirational, but providing lessons from which they can learn. Mike Jeffree reports
FLEGT VPAs are not just about delivering legal timber to the EU, but ensuring greater stakeholder participation in timber sector decision-making in supplier countries to the benefit of ordinary people. Mike Jeffree reports on progress in Ghana, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Liberia and Vietnam.
Mechanisms to ensure wood is legally sourced are essential to conserve forests, and can also help small businesses expand exports, thereby increasing income. CIFOR scientist Herry Purnomo discusses the importance of this pioneering certification system for small industry, livelihoods and forests in Indonesia.
After playing a key role in implementing their country’s FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU, Indonesian civil society groups are sharing experiences with counterparts in other countries engaged in the initiative.