Timber with labels Indonesia

First shipment of licensed legal timber from Indonesia

Indonesia, one of the world’s largest timber exporters, has become the first country to issue FLEGT (Forest, Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade) licences. This marks a significant step in the fight towards preventing trade in illegally harvested timber and timber products.

Indonesian timber products covered by the FLEGT licensing scheme must now have a FLEGT licence to access the EU market, and EU companies buying timber with a valid FLEGT licence can consider it legal for the sake of compliance with the EU Timber Regulation.

 

First Indonesian timber shipment in trucks people smiling

First shipment ceremony FLEGT Licence Indonesia, Indonesian Legal Wood (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu) Twitter account

 

FLEGT licences are a key component of Indonesia’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU, which encourages governance and legal reforms so that the legality of timber can be guaranteed.

Emily Unwin, Head of ClientEarth’s Climate and Forests Programme, said:

“This is a major step forward. By agreeing to issue FLEGT licences to all timber product exports, not just those going to the EU, Indonesia has committed to improving forest governance in a significant way. The scheme should help preserve forests, protect community rights and ensure illegal timber harvesting is prevented.

“As the first country to reach this stage of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement, Indonesian FLEGT licensed timber will be welcomed by the EU – but it will obviously, rightly, come under scrutiny.”

Attention will now turn from the creation of the FLEGT licensing system (which in Indonesia is called the SVLK) to how it actually works. All eyes will be on how well the government meets ongoing commitments to make relevant information public, maintains improvements to forest governance reforms, and how the FLEGT licensing system responds to questions that are raised about timber legality.

The SVLK has a built-in role for Indonesian civil society to monitor the operation of the system, and to file complaints if problems are detected. Civil society’s use of this oversight role, and the response of the licensing system to complaints raised, will be key to the SVLK’s increasing credibility.

On the EU side, the focus will now turn to how well EU Member States oversee the arrival of timber products from Indonesia to ensure that valid FLEGT licences are in place.

Beyond Indonesia, five other countries are implementing VPAs (including Ghana, Liberia and the Republic of Congo) and nine others are in negotiations with the EU (including Gabon and Ivory Coast).

The arrival of Indonesian FLEGT licences is an important step for the south east Asian country’s trade, and for work to support stronger forest governance more broadly. As such, it merits support and ongoing attention.

Share this...
Share on Facebook! Tweet this! Share on LinkedIn! Email!

EU FLEGT and REDD facilities

Related articles

More from

  • hands holding cocoa beans

    Helping create a model of community forestry in the Republic of Congo

    Our Forests Law and Policy Advisor, Tanja Venisnik, talks about our current work in Congo, including community forestry and a field mission to the Sangha region.

  • EUTR News – September to November 2017

    This issue of the EUTR News provides an update on the operation of the EU’s law to address illegal logging, from September to November 2017.

  • sunset with logs

    How laws shape forest conversion to agriculture in Congo Basin

    ClientEarth law and policy advisor Clotilde Henriot has contributed to a legal paper describing how laws shape forest conversion to agriculture in some countries of the Congo Basin.

  • tree in forest in shadow against sunset dusk sky

    Legal frameworks on community-based forest management in five Congo Basin countries

    ClientEarth has developed a table of legal frameworks to compare models of community-based forestry in five Congo Basin countries.

  • Follow us

    You can help

    Your support helps us use the law to protect your environment.