TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesian President Joko Widodo, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Council President Donald Tusk agreed on Thursday, April 21, 2016 to move swiftly towards reducing illegal logging and promoting trade in legally produced timber between the EU and Indonesia through the 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, Indonesia is the first country to pass this final hurdle.
Karmenu Vella, European commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, said that Indonesia and its partners in the EU had proven that trade could provide incentives towards ending the scourge of illegal logging.
"Today's announcement is a signal to markets that it is possible to promote sustainable forest management by buying verified legally produced timber," Vella added.
With supports from the European Commission and EU Member States, particularly the UK, the FLEGT VPA has boosted legal trade, modernized and formalized Indonesia's forest sector, and improved business practices, enabling many thousands of businesses to meet market demand for legal timber.
In 2002, just 20 percent of Indonesia's timber was legal. Presently, over 90 percent 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 1,700 forest industries, an unprecedented level of scrutiny.