The Forest Scribe

Indonesia Wants to Push for More Even FLEGT Acceptance Within EU Member Countries

illustration of FLEGT action plan for forestry industry

Even though the European Union already recognized Indonesia’s Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) as meeting its timber standards and Indonesian timber products can now easily enter its market, the level of awareness and application of legal timber procurements among members of this regional organization was still uneven and therefore Indonesia wanted to push for all these EU members to have the same policies in timber procurements, a number of experts in timber legality said here on Tuesday (11/2).

The European Union has a Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) action plan which also issues FLEGT licenses for timber and timber products exported to its market. The European Union also recognizes SVLK as meeting all EU Timber regulations and therefore Indonesian export of timber and timber products to the European Union do not have to undergo further testing when entering the EU market.

“We want to advocate, to push all EU member countries to apply a government timber procurement policy based on FLEGT,” said Iwan Wibisono, a program manager of the Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Program (MFP).

He said that despite having the FLEGT, its application by each member countries was still different and uneven.

“Their implementation capacity differs, not all member countries of the European Union have the same capacity and awareness level regarding this, and they are still applying different standards… the conditions are not yet ideal, not yet the same for all,” Wibisono said.

Therefore, he said that Indonesia was planning actions to push for all EU member states to at least have the same government timber procurement policies.

“State procurements may not be too big (in terms of volume), but it would be good as a symbol of compliance and application,” he said.

Tri Nugroho, an MFP team leader, said that Indonesia wanted to discuss the matter with governments in a number of EU countries, especially which had significant purchase potentials, to promote timber that met FLEGT requirements and also to push them to require FLEGT adherence in their timber procurement policies.

“We are ready to discuss with governments in EU member states to promote the use of FLEGT timber,” he said. He added that among the countries targeted for these discussions were Germany, Denmark, Belgium and France, EU member countries with still low level of FLEGT acceptance but which have high timber purchase potentials.

Nugroho also added that Indonesia was in the process of probing to jointly work with Ghana, another major producer of tropical timber, in lobbying EU member states in this matter.

“We and Ghana, want to push for this to become policies,” Wibisono said, adding that the hope was for the countries lobbied to later adopt policies that are more in favour of FLEGT.

Nugroho however, said that the joint effort with Ghana was still at the initial stage and was still on the design table.

“If we do come together, it would be cool,” Nugroho said, adding however, that if the two countries did not join forces, they could still each work to lobby the EU member countries to raise their acceptance of FLEGT.

He said that more details and certainty of the cooperation between Indonesia and Ghana would only be available towards the end of this year.

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