Indonesia has shipped the first licensed timber products to the European Union this week, marking a milestone for decade of efforts the country's put in to turn its degrading forestry into a sustainable business. (Antara Photo/Zabur Karuru)

Indonesia Sends First FLEGT Timber to EU

BY :RATRI M. SINIWI

NOVEMBER 17, 2016

Jakarta. Indonesia has shipped its first licensed timber products to the European Union this week, marking a milestone after a decade of efforts to turn the country's forestry industry around into a sustainable business.

The shipment, sent on Tuesday (15/11), is the first under the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) license, which allows timber exports to the EU without additional certification. It is the first export from any country to economic bloc satisfying the licensing standard.

World Wildlife Fund Indonesia, which has long advocated the implementation of sustainable forestry practices, said Indonesia has set a global examples in forest protection and sustainable management.

“This is an achievement of 10 years of hard work by multi-stakeholders in developing the timber legality assurance system [SVLK], and making this system a key instrument to ensure that Indonesia’s timber products being exported to EU market and around the world are from legal sources,” said Benja V. Mambai, WWF Indonesia’s acting chief executive, in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 2,322 industries in Indonesia have passed SVLK, allowing direct exports of various tropical timber products, including plywood, furniture and pulp and paper, to the EU.

However, WWF Indonesia believes that enforcement and around-the-clock monitoring by independent groups are necessary to ensure sustainable practices from both parties.

“The Indonesian government must ensure civil society organizations be granted full access to information, including relevant data and planning documents,” WWF Indonesia’s forest commodity market transformation leader Aditya Bayunanda said.

“Holding up such information would greatly decrease the credibility and transparency of the system.”

FLEGT-VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) was signed by Indonesia and EU to combat poor forest management practices through forest governance and boost trade for legal timber from Indonesia to the EU.

Data from the Indonesian Wood Panel Producers (APKINDO) indicated that Indonesia exported up to $882 million worth of timber products to Europe in 2015, with timber exports also heading to China, Japan and South Korea.

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