Indonesia and EU celebrate one year of certified legal timber trade

Indonesia and the EU have held a conference to celebrate the first anniversary of the scheme licensing certified legal timber products that Indonesia exports to the EU. Since the start of FLEGT licensing, named after the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Action Plan, Indonesia has shipped certified legal timber products worth more than EUR 1 billion to the EU to operators in all 28 EU Member States.

Vincent Guérend (fifth from left) and Siti Nurbaya Bakar (sixth from left) with other participants by Edelman

The half-day event in Jakarta on 30 November focused on Indonesia’s achievements, on challenges the EU and Indonesia have encountered, and on opportunities to build upon the progress made through FLEGT licensing to date.

The FLEGT licensing scheme is the result of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement, which Indonesia and the EU negotiated to address illegal logging, improve forest governance and promote trade in legal timber products.

“Indonesia is committed to improve forest law enforcement and governance through responsible trade of legal and certified timber,” said Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Indonesia’s Minister of Environment and Forestry. “This contributes to Indonesia’s economic development, and broader socio-environmental benefits, including climate action.”

Indonesia is the first country in the world to issue FLEGT licences for timber products it exports to the EU, automatically meeting the EU’s strict legality requirements. 

"The FLEGT partnerships aim to benefit both people and the planet,” said Vincent Guérend, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia. “They strengthen rights, increase prosperity and help Indonesia in its efforts to manage its forests sustainably and use them to limit climate change.”

In parallel to Indonesia’s issuance of FLEGT licences, the EU Member States have increased enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR), which prohibits operators from placing illegally-harvested timber and timber products on the EU market.

Between March 2015 and February 2017, authorities in EU countries conducted 2,704 checks on operators related to imported timber, leading to 525 notices of remedial actions and 139 penalties. In addition, six court cases were concluded. This demonstrates that the EU is very serious in ensuring that only legal timber is entering its market.