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) licenses. 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  license to access the EU market, and EU companies buying timber with a valid FLEGT license 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 License Indonesia, Indonesian Legal Wood (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu) Twitter account.

 

FLEGT licenses 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 licenses 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 licenses 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 licenses 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

  • bialowieza-forest-mushrooms

    EU Court imposes emergency ban on logging in Białowieża Forest

    The Court of Justice of the EU has issued a ban on logging in Białowieża Forest, saying all chainsaws and harvesters must be stopped immediately.

  • The EU Timber Regulation implementation and enforcement updates

    ClientEarth is looking at how the EUTR is being implemented and enforced, and has compiled info-briefings on selected Member States.

  • sunlight through trees

    Victory for Bialowieza as UN body calls for halt to illegal logging

    UNESCO’s renewed call to halt logging in Bialowieza Forest is yet another stop sign for Poland’s Minister of Environment.

  • painted planks for analysis saying Dutch court has ruled on a company breaking EU Timber Regulation

    Dutch court clarifies industry responsibility under EU illegal logging law

    A Dutch court has ruled against a company which broke the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).

  • Follow us

    Newsletters

    Get our regular email newsletters, they contain the latest updates on our work as well as features and articles about environmental issues, science and politics.