EU and Indonesia hail milestone in partnership against illegal logging
Representatives of the EU and Indonesia last week celebrated the start of Indonesia’s FLEGT licensing scheme for exports of verified legal timber.
The FLEGT licensing scheme, which began operation on 15 November, is the result of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Indonesia and the EU. It is expected to boost confidence in the legality of Indonesian timber exports to the EU and contribute to a better protection of Indonesian tropical forests, the third largest in the world.
VPAs are one of several measures in the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan of 2003. Fifteen countries are negotiating or implementing VPAs with the EU, and Indonesia is the first to begin issuing FLEGT licences to export timber products that have been verified legal.
To mark the milestone, Retno L.P. Marsudi, Indonesia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs presented a symbolic gift made from verified legal timber to Karmenu Vella, the EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, in the presence of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
"Today we celebrate a turning point in the global fight to end illegal logging,” said Vella. “By tackling illegality at both the supply and demand sides of the trade we have closed the EU market to illegal timber from one of the world’s biggest producers.”
All timber products of types listed in the EU-Indonesia VPA must now be accompanied by FLEGT licences that attest to the legality of the products. Authorities in EU member states will deny entry to such products if they lack FLEGT licences.
FLEGT licensed products are automatically deemed to comply with the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits EU operators from placing illegally-harvested wood on the market and requires them to use due diligence to avoid doing so.
Source: European Commission