FLEGT: EU and Indonesia to start first-ever licensing scheme for legal timber exports

EU and Indonesia are ready to move towards the start of the first ever Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing scheme on legally produced tropical timber.

On 21 April 2016, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Council President Donald Tusk agreed to move swiftly towards reducing illegal logging and promoting trade in legally produced timber between the EU and Indonesia through the start of the first-ever Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing scheme.

The announcement is based on the joint assessment that Indonesia is fully ready to implement the Indonesia-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), based on the inclusion of all relevant product groups in the scope of the Agreement. With this breakthrough the two Parties are now in a position to move swiftly towards a fully operational licencing system making Indonesia the first country to pass this final hurdle.

Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries said: “Indonesia and its partners in the EU have shown that trade can provide incentives towards ending the scourge of illegal logging. Such practices cost developing nations billions in lost revenues, lead to destruction of unique ecosystems and exacerbate povertyToday’s announcement is a signal to markets that it is possible to promote sustainable forest management by buying verified legally produced timber.”

Benefitting from significant support from the European Commission and EU Member States, particularly the UK, the FLEGT VPA has strengthened forest governance by increasing transparency, accountability and stakeholder participation in decisions about forests. It has boosted legal trade, modernised and formalised Indonesia’s forest sector, and improved business practices, enabling many thousands of businesses to meet market demand for legal timber.

In 2002, just 20% of Indonesia’s timber was legal. Today, over 90% of Indonesia’s timber exports are from independently audited factories and forests. These audits cover more than 20 million hectares of forests and more than 1700 forest industries, an unprecedented level of scrutiny.

Source: European Commission