Indo civil society’s state-of-play on legal timber plan

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Indonesia forest (c) EIA

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Last month, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk issued a joint statement that the European Union and Indonesia have agreed to move swiftly towards implementation of the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) licensing scheme, a strategy to reduce illegal logging and promote the trade of legal timber.

Implementation of the FLEGT licensing scheme is one of the main achievements of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Indonesia and the European Union on FLEGT that was signed in 2013 and ratified in 2014.

Today, Indonesian civil society organisations actively combatting illegal logging, the associated illegal trade and pushing for good forest governance have released a position paper on the current status of the implementation of the Indonesian VPA and other issues related to a FLEGT licence for Indonesia.

This paper addresses the pressing need to:
* strengthen the Indonesian Government’s accountability and effective law enforcement;
* ensure Indonesia’s Timber Legality Assurance System (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu, or SVLK in Indonesia) also applies to domestic markets providing benefits for small scale businesses;
* reform regulations and policies to protect the rights and access of forest communities as stakeholders;
* strengthen implementation of Independent Market Monitoring as part of the VPA and strengthen the implementation of the European Timber Regulation.

Faith Doherty, Team Leader of EIA’s Forest Campaign, said: “There is no doubt that challenges still remain and there is still work to be done before licencing commences, both in Indonesia and the European Union. We urge both parties to continue working toward achieving these goals.”

The Independent Forestry Monitoring Network (Jaringan Pemantauan Independen Kehutanan, or JPIK) stated: “The independent monitors in Indonesia are committed to push for better and credible implementation of the SVLK and VPA, and demand that the Government plays its role more effectively as this is key to ensure improvement in forestry governance in Indonesia.”