Lessons learnt from the implementation of the FLEGT in Indonesia

The EU FLEGT Facility has issued a briefing note that draws lessons from three years of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing in Indonesia.

Indonesia was the first country in the world to start issuing FLEGT licences in 2016. From November 2016 to July 2019, Indonesia issued a total of 104 719 FLEGT licences for exports to all EU Member States. These were worth USD 2.87 billion in value.

The briefing note opens with a description of the nine critical steps to export FLEGT-licensed products. It then provides an overview of the systematic and operational challenges encountered in FLEGT licensing in Indonesia. This is followed by an account of the efforts made by the government to address these challenges.

On the challenges encountered in FLEGT licensing, the briefing note underlines that in Indonesia, FLEGT licensing is paper-based. Since close to 40 000 licences are issued in Indonesia annually, the amount of paper and the complexity of the paper trail that needs to operate uninterrupted in several directions at once is a challenge.

Regarding operational challenges, the briefing note highlights that they often involve exporters that are small and micro entities working in the furniture sector. Other challenges encountered during the FLEGT licence application process include incorrect: HS code determination; species identification; or specification of the volume, weight and unit numbers.

On the steps that Indonesia has taken to address FLEGT licensing issues, the briefing note mentions regulatory adjustments, communications with competent authorities in the EU, capacity building, and consideration of implementing electronic licensing with the EU.

Based on Indonesia’s experience, the briefing note captures some of the lessons that might be of relevance to other countries negotiating or implementing a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU in terms of system design, capacity and communication.