Indonesia: Flegt License Shows Indonesia Is Serious in Combating Illegal Logging -- WWF

Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 16 Sep 16;

Jakarta. Indonesia will soon send its first timber export to Europe which meets the European Union's Forest Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade, or Flegt, standards.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) praised Indonesia for being the first country to meet the stringent requirements, which the EU designed specifically to combat illegal logging.

"It shows Indonesia's commitment to forest conservation and improving forest governance. It is now the only country in the world that sells certified timber products," WWF Indonesia acting chief executive Victor Benja Mambai said in a statement on Friday (16/09).

Indonesia's timber products are being verified through the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK), which means all Indonesian timber legally exported to Europe comes from responsibly managed forests.

The European Union and Indonesia have agreed the first licensed timber export under Flegt will start before Nov. 15.

"The SVLK took more than 10 years to process and it already yields very encouraging results. This could not have happened without a strong commitment from the Indonesian government," Aditya Bayunanda, WWF Indonesia forest commodity market and transformation leader, said.

WWF Indonesia, Forest Rescue Network Riau and Friends of the Earth Indonesia will join forces as "Eyes on the Forest" to monitor SVLK's implementation and ensure no illegal timber enters the system.

FAO Praises Indonesia for Flegt Timber License, Commits to Monitoring System
Ratri M. Siniwi Jakarta Globe 16 Sep 16;

Jakarta. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has welcomed an agreement between Indonesia and the European Union to issue the world's first Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade, or Flegt, timber license.

The FAO has called it a major achievement in the fight against the global illegal logging and timber trade.

"Indonesia has taken important steps to strengthen forest governance, combat illegal logging, modernize its forest sector, and improve business practices," Robert Simpson of the FAO's Flegt Program, which supports tropical timber-producing countries engaged in these initiatives, said in a statement on Thursday (15/09).

As of Nov. 15, all timber shipments exported from Indonesia to EU member states will be accompanied by a Flegt license to certify that it has been harvested, transported, processed and traded in accordance with Indonesian law.

"In addition to helping limit the environmental damage caused by illegal logging, demonstrating timber legality opens the door to promoting the sustainable livelihoods of forest communities and increasing access to international wood markets," Simpson said.

The region established in 2013 the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits the sale of illegal timber products in European countries.

As Indonesia supplies a third of the EU's tropical timber imports, the Flegt license will automatically allow the country's timber exports to enter that market.

According to the FAO, forest crimes, including the illegal logging and timber trade, account for between 10 percent and 30 percent of the total global trade, and contributes to a loss of forests and biodiversity, accelerating climate change.

"They also rob developing nations of revenue and can fuel cycles of corruption, poverty and conflict," Simpson added.

The FAO will continue to support the process by providing assistance for projects to strengthen the development and implementation of the national timber legality assurance system.

As corruption is the biggest threat to the agreement, the FAO will also assist by empowering independent forest networks to monitor the sector.

Indonesia is the first country to obtain the license, with Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia, and the Republic of Congo working towards the same goal.

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