Tackling illegal timber trade: Indonesia first country to export licensed timber to EU | WWF

Tackling illegal timber trade: Indonesia first country to export licensed timber to EU

Posted on 15 September 2016
WWF Indonesia
© WWF Indonesia
Brussels, Belgium - As announced today by the European Commission, on 15 November Indonesia will be the first country in the world to export FLEGT-licensed legal timber and timber products to the EU. WWF believes the EU-Indonesia Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) represents an important progress in the global fight against illegal timber trade.
Commenting on the announcement, WWF’s Senior Forest Policy Officer, Anke Schulmeister said:
“The Indonesia- EU Agreement is a crucial step towards protecting our world’s forests and the communities depending on them. Indonesia has proved that by working together with all stakeholders, it is possible to put in place a nation-wide system to stop the export of illegal timber. Now they have to ensure that the system works and develop it further so that all timber products are not only legal but also sustainably sourced to tackle deforestation.”
After almost 10 years of work in collaboration with civil society organisations, the private sector and the EU institutions, Indonesia has managed to develop a system for assuring that all timber products harvested or imported, transported, traded, processed and exported are legal. In addition to this, all FLEGT-licensed products will automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, making it easier for EU importers to place Indonesian timber onto the EU market.
Indonesia is one of the world's largest exporters of tropical timber and exports a wide variety of timber products, ranging from plywood, pulp and paper to furniture and handicrafts. The main export destinations for its forest products are China, the EU, Japan and Korea.
WWF calls on the European Commission to ensure that the Indonesian timber licensing scheme is properly enforced and monitored by independent groups and includes also sustainability requirements.  Its development process should be used as an example for other countries in Africa and Asia that are exporting timber to the EU and that are still negotiating similar agreements. Five countries – Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Liberia and Democratic Republic of Congo - are currently developing the systems needed to control, verify and license legal timber.
Stefania Campogianni, Senior Media and Communications Officer at WWF European Policy Office, email: scampogianni@wwf.eu, Mob: +32 (0)499 53 97 36
Anke Schulmeister, Senior Forest Policy Officer, aschulmeister@wwf.eu