WWF Welcomes first shipment of legally licensed wood product from Indonesia to the EU
Today the first shipment of wood products licensed under Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) was sent from Indonesia to the European Union. WWF welcomes this momentum and calls on Indonesia to firmly pursue its commitment to combat illegal logging and trade and serve as an example for other countries engaged in global forest protection.
“We strongly welcome the first shipment of Indonesia’s licensed forest products to the European Union,” says Benja V. Mambai, acting CEO at WWF-Indonesia. “This is an achievement of 10 years of hard work by stakeholders in developing the tracking system SVLK to ensure that Indonesia’s timber products being exported to the EU market and around the world are from legal sources.”
Indonesia is the first country in the world to export FLEGT-licensed wood products that will enter the EU without any further due diligence and in full compliance with the current EU Regulation on illegal timber. According to recent data, in 2015 Indonesia’s timber product export to Europe reached USD $882 million.
The FLEGT- Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is a legally binding bilateral trade agreement aiming to improve forest governance and promote trade in legal timber from Indonesia to the EU market. The country is one of the world’s largest exporters of tropical timber products, ranging from plywood, pulp and paper to furniture and handicrafts. In addition to the EU, China, Japan and Korea are the main export destinations for Indonesia’s forest products.
““We need now to make sure that this new system lives up to the expectation in tackling illegal logging and deforestation. The EU and the Indonesian government must now properly enforce the system, support independent monitoring, and develop it further so that all timber products are not only legal but also sustainably sourced.” said Anke Schulmeister, Senior Forest Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office.
Currently, there are 2,322 companies in Indonesia that have been certified allowing them to export directly to the EU. Indonesia’s forests are the second largest natural tropical forests in the world but illegal logging represents a major threat.
WWF calls on the European Commission to increase collaboration with 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.