Indonesia becomes first country to implement pioneering EU timber licensing scheme
Oxford Policy Management-led project paves the way for improved forestry management and sustainable trade of timber and tropical forest products.
The Government of Indonesia has taken a monumental step towards eradicating illegal logging with the announcement that the country is embarking on the first-ever Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Licensing (FLEGT) scheme in partnership with the EU, through the country's Timber Legality Assurance Scheme, Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (widely-known as the SVLK licence).
Timber products licensed under the EU’s FLEGT scheme are subject to a control system that assures their legality, opening up a key market for trade and helping safeguard sustainable, community-based forestry practices. The announcement is a significant milestone in Indonesia’s move towards conserving biodiversity, strengthening local livelihoods and improving climate protection and marks a key output of the three year, DFID-funded Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Project (MFP3).
Led by Oxford Policy Management (OPM), MFP3 promotes activities that help strengthen governance across Indonesia’s forestry sector. Currently in its second year, the project helps facilitate partnerships between central and local government, civil society and private sector actors, supporting – among other things – the industry-wide adoption of SVLK.
Specifically, the project has helped the Indonesian-European Commission’s Joint Implementation Committee (“JIC”) to support the adoption of the Indonesia-EU Voluntary Partnership Agreement that sees qualifying Indonesian timber products verified as ‘legal timber’ through SVLK license for export to EU markets. The recent FLEGT announcement builds on the progress made under this scheme.
Eka Melisa – Consultant at OPM and Programme Manager for MFP3, said: ‘This is a real step forward. This announcement demonstrates the Indonesian Government’s commitment to sustainable forestry and a recognition that greater stakeholder participation can help improve accountability, transparency and inclusive decision-making across the sector. The scheme will help community-level manufacturers gain access to important markets for their products, strengthening livelihoods and ultimately supporting the conservation of Indonesia’s critical forest ecosystems.’
According to the European Commission, Indonesia currently supplies around a third of the EU’s tropical timber imports by value.