Deforestation and social conflict continue to occur, the government must strengthen the forest management sustainability system

Deforestation and social conflict continue to occur, the government must strengthen the forest management sustainability system

Photo Source: JPIK Book

Jakarta, February 28, 2018. FWI explained in three periods, natural forests in North Sumatra, East Kalimantan and North Maluku, had lost 718 thousand hectares. Every hour, 42 times the soccer field, natural forest is lost in the three provinces. The JPIK study of 296 certificates of Sustainable Production Forest Management (PHPL) of IUIPHHK-HA and HT found 197 permit holders to have poor value on aspects of production. These findings are a big question for the practice of sustainable forest management, and will have an impact on the slow resolution of current forest management problems, especially on social and ecological aspects.

Today, FWI and JPIK are launching the book ‘Non-stop Deforestation’ and ‘SVLK: The Process Towards Responsible Governance’. Since the last three years, FWI has conducted studies in North Sumatra, East Kalimantan and North Maluku to see trends and direct causes of deforestation. The deforestation rate in the three provinces of the 2013-2016 period increased compared to the previous monitoring period (2009-2013), which was from 146 thousand hectares / year to almost 240 thousand hectares / year. North Maluku, the rate of deforestation has even more than doubled the increase from 25 thousand hectares / year to 52 thousand hectares / year. Likewise, East Kalimantan has almost doubled, from 84 thousand hectares / year to 157 thousand hectares / year. While in North Sumatra the deforestation rate slightly decreased from 37 thousand hectares / year to 29 thousand hectares / year.

Agung Ady, FWI Campaigner, said that deforestation that is currently occurring has begun to target areas that still have good natural forests, especially in eastern Indonesia. “This is a warning to us that the rest of the natural forests which are mostly found in eastern Indonesia are very threatened. Given the significant increase in pace and investment permits that continue to move to areas that are still heavily forested, “said Agung. Almost 50% or 11.2 million hectares of land in North Sumatra, East Kalimantan, and North Maluku are controlled by corporations. corporate permit holders (HPH, HTI, oil palm plantations, and mining). Only 4% or 812 thousand hectares of land are allocated to communities in various forms of social forestry (Community Forestry, Community Plantation Forestry, Forestry Partnership, Village Forests and Customary Forests). “In addition to being a direct cause of deforestation, the imbalance of land tenure in the three provinces also has an impact on social conflicts that occur between companies and communities,” continued Agung.

Delima Silalahi, Coordinator of KSPPM’s Study and Advocacy Division added, “Logging of forests which are also included there are still incense plants in the concession area of ​​PT. Toba Pulp Lestari (TPL) in Pollung District, Humbang Hasundutan Regency. PT. Concession TPL has overlapped with indigenous peoples’ territories. Even though they were rejected by the indigenous people at the location, the company still tried to enter their customary territory. “

The same thing was expressed by Fathur Roziqin, Executive Director of Walhi East Kalimantan. “Tenurial conflict between the people of Lebak Cilong Village and PT. ITCI Hutani Manunggal (IHM) occurred after the claim of PT. IHM that they have the right to manage the land that has been managed by the community, because they have obtained a concession permit from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Even though the land has been handed down for generations by the community. “

The problem of deforestation that has never been completed raises the existence of forest management certification initiatives, also known as the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK). This system is expected to reduce the rate of deforestation that has occurred in Indonesia. But in practice the SVLK still needs improvement in order to create good forest governance.

In the 2014-2017 period, JPIK still found several weaknesses in the implementation of the SVLK, especially in the aspects of supervision and law enforcement. In addition, independent monitoring by civil society still has to be continuously promoted, through ensuring the continuity of monitoring and availability of data and information. This is stated in the SVLK regulations and the voluntary cooperation agreement between the Governments of Indonesia and the European Union through the FLEGT-VPA agreement.

Dhio Teguh Ferdyan, JPIK Campaigner stated, “The development, achievement and implementation of SVLK as an effort to reform forest governance should be appreciated. Although it is not yet perfect, this document has forced various parties to make improvements. “

The results of JPIK’s monitoring of 54 permit holders who have SVLK certificates (PHPL and VLK) still find problems related to boundary conflicts, low recognition of the basic rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and weak efforts to protect forests for holders of IUPHHK-HA and HT. While the owners of industrial licenses, there are still problems regarding legality and incompatibility of licenses, implementation of Occupational Safety and Health (K3), and unclear sources of fulfillment of raw materials for the industry.

“The assessment / audit by the Certification Body still makes the existence of the document a reference for permit holders in obtaining SVLK certificates. The process of issuing licenses that are full of corruption, the entry of illegal timber into the supply chain, and efforts to resolve conflicts that are not comprehensive should be the main focus in conducting assessments, “continued Dhio.

M. Ichwan, JPIK East Java said that the SVLK assessment must show an improved trend in performance changes. Assessment results that are of moderate or bad quality should change to either in the surveillance period or re-certification.

Improvements in transparency in the implementation of the SVLK must also be improved, where the entire process of implementing the SVLK includes the provision of data and information for monitoring, the process of handling reports, and their actions that must be open and publicly accessible. “Although it has been regulated about the rights and obligations of independent monitoring in the SVLK regulations, Independent Monitors still experience limitations in accessing data and information for monitoring purposes, especially data and information that is under the authority of the Regional Government,” Ichwan continued.

Weak law enforcement and the application of sanctions for owners of permits that violate JPIK’s spotlight. Strict sanctions for revoking certificates for permit holders who have poor performance and refuse surveillance must be followed up by revoking business licenses. On the other hand, efforts to increase timber administration to minimize the mixing of illegal timber into the SVLK supply chain and coordination between institutions at the central and regional levels must be strengthened.

As a system, the SVLK must place social / conflict aspects, the process of obtaining permits (licensing corruption), and forest fires as the main indicators of passing the assessment. In addition, the synergy of efforts to prevent and enforce the law with applicable laws and regulations must continue to be carried out so that SVLK truly becomes a credible and accountable instrument for reforming good governance.

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Editor’s Note:

  • In the 2013-2016 period natural forests in North Sumatra, East Kalimantan and North Maluku, lost an area of ​​718 thousand hectares. Of the total 718 thousand hectares of deforestation that occurred in the three provinces, around 517 thousand hectares (72%) occurred in areas that had been burdened with management permits. Whether it’s HPH, HTI, oil palm plantations, and mining. The HPH permit area is the biggest contributor to deforestation covering 83.8 thousand hectares, followed by 83.3 thousand hectares of mining, 76 thousand hectares of oil palm plantations and 37 thousand hectares of HTI. Meanwhile, there are around 235 thousand hectares of deforestation in areas that have overlapping licenses.
  • The total land area of ​​North Sumatra, East Kalimantan and North Maluku is 22.7 million hectares.
    SVLK is a Timber Legality Verification System, a requirement to fulfill timber legality / products made based on forestry stakeholders’ agreements that contain standards, criteria, indicators, verifiers, verification methods, and assessment norms. SVLK is a timber legality guarantee system recognized in the VPA between Indonesia and the European Union.
  • VPA is a bilateral agreement within the framework of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) between timber producing countries and the European Union, which aims to eradicate illegal timber trade. VPA includes negotiations on the Timber Legality Assurance System and FLEGT export license issued for legally verified timber products. Timber shipping with a FLEGT Export license will get a “green line” to the EU market and be free from the EU Timber Regulation. FLEGT-VPA between Indonesia and the EU was signed on 30 September 2013 and ratified by both parties in 2014.
    The FLEGT license is an acknowledgment of the SVLK scheme (full VPA implementation), so that the European Union does not need to carry out due diligence anymore. The FLEGT license cannot be started until a joint assessment of the Indonesian and EU legality verification systems confirms that the system is fully operational, as outlined in the VPA. Evaluation criteria are described in Annex VIII of VPA. As of September 2016, Indonesia has more than 20 FLEGT licensing agencies.
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Contact For Interviews:

Agung Ady Setyawan, Pengkampaign FWI agung_ady@fwi.or.id  +6285334510487

Dhio Teguh Ferdyan, Pengkampaign JPIK dhio.jpik@gmail.com  +6281374139842

Ichwan, JPIK East Java ichwan.pplh@gmail.com +6281335174892

Fathur Roziqin, Executive Director of Walhi East Kalimantan fathur@walhikaltim.or.id +6281226800223