Jakarta, November 15, 2016. The full implementation of the timber trade cooperation agreement between Indonesia and the European Union officially began today, which was marked by the enactment of the FLEGT license.
This shows that the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK) used as a guarantee system for Indonesian timber legality has been recognized by countries in the European Union. Recognition of the SVLK is a success and a challenge for Indonesia to be able to consistently implement SVLK in a credible and accountable manner.
After going through a 14-year process in developing the system and the 9-year voluntary cooperation agreement (VPA) process with the European Union, Indonesia finally became the first country in the world to receive a FLEGT license. Through this scheme, Indonesian timber products that are SVLK-certified do not need to go through due diligence processes and will automatically enter through the green lane of customs destination countries in the European Union.
However, Indonesia must continue to work hard to maintain the credibility of the system by showing the seriousness in following up the findings of violations in the implementation of the SVLK. Various reports of violations submitted by independent monitors such as the findings of forms of mal-administration, the mode of counterfeiting licenses and fraud through the practice of borrowing flags must be followed up through effective law enforcement. In addition, strengthening SVLK standards through the improvement of various regulations is also important to be ensured to achieve sustainable and equitable forest management.
Muhamad Kosar, JPIK National Dynamics stated, “The current development should be appreciated and read as the seriousness of all parties in Indonesia towards efforts to reform the forestry sector which is full of illegality and corruption. Although this system is not yet perfect, this initiative has forced various parties to make improvements and show accountability, which in the long run will have an impact on improving forest governance. “
“At present the SVLK is the only system that is implemented in a mandatory manner to handle the circulation and trade of illegal timber and forest destruction, where this system is built by involving stakeholders. Through this scheme, all timber and trade business actors are audited to ensure compliance with applicable rules and regulations. “Firmly Kosar
Faith Doherty, EIA Forest Campaign Leader said, “The European Union should bear the same burden as the Indonesian Government. European Union countries must only accept legal timber. In addition, the European Union must continue to strengthen the implementation of the EU Timber Regulation and ensure supervision and law enforcement as well as follow up on information on trade in illegal timber to the European Union, including those reported by independent monitors. “
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- JPIK is an Independent Forest Monitoring Network that was agreed and declared on 23 September 2010, consisting of 51 NGOs and NGO Networks from Aceh to Papua. The establishment of JPIK is a manifestation of commitment to contribute actively in promoting good forestry governance by ensuring credibility and accountability of SVLK implementation
- The EIA (Environmental Investigation Agency) is an independent institution formed in 1984, an international campaign organization committed to investigating and publishing environmental crimes. EIA has been investigating illegal logging in Indonesia since 1999.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On September 15, 2016, JPIK issued a Statement of Position entitled “Enforcement of the FLEGT License must be a cornerstone of sustainability in improving forest governance.” The full statement of attitude can be downloaded at the following link: http://jpik.or.id/pemberlakuan-lisensi-flegt-harus-menjadi-tonggak-keberlanjutan-perbaikan-berkelanjutan-tata-kelola-kehutanan-secara-terus-menerus/