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New Era for Indonesia’s Timber Governance

Launch of Timber Legality Verification Information System to Reform Timber Governance and Bureaucracy and to Stop the Trade of Illegal Timber.

The Timber Legality Verification Information System (LIU-License Information Unit) is launched today, August 1, 2012, in the Auditorium of the Manggala Wanabakti Building. This launch marks the government's further efforts to improve the country's timber governance and bureaucratic reform and ensure that the system is credible, transparent, accountable and businessfriendly. Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan and Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Hatta Radjasa are scheduled to attend this event. 

The brainchild of six ministries (Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs), this Timber Legality Verification Information System (or SVLK for short) also affirms the seriousness of the Government of Indonesia to combat illegal logging practices and promote the country's legal timber to the world.

Diah Raharjo, Director of the Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme (MFP-Kehati), explains, "For export purposes, industries that have already obtained SVLK certificates will need verified legal (VLegal) documents stating that the timber products they are exporting have already met timber legality verification standards compliant with the provisions of the relevant laws and regulations, as well as ensuring that their timber and timber products come from raw materials sources of legal origin. "The V-Legal documents and SVLK certificates are an important instrument in restructuring the country's forests governance including the governance of forests "encumbered with rights" (hutan hak) and those under the control of small and medium enterprises," she added.

To start with the government (Ministry of Forestry) established the Standards and Guidelines for Assessing the Sustainable Production Forest Management and Timber Legality Verification Performance of License Holders and Owners of Forests Encumbered with Rights, as stated under the Regulation of Minister of Forestry No. P.38/ Menhut-II/ 2009 jo. No. P.68/ Menhut-II/ 2011 and its implementing guidelines.

In response to the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK), the Ministry of Trade is also amending the Regulation of the Minister of Trade No 20/ 2008 which regulates the country's timber export licensing policies. The revision process is entering the final stages of consultation and the amendment to the regulation will soon be adopted to provide certainty to the government's policies on the export of legal timber.

As with Timber Legality Certificates, V-Legal Documents shall also be published by Verification Bodies that have been accredited by the National Accreditation Committee (KAN). Timber product exporters will need to make an application for V-Legal documents to the Timber Legality Verification Bodies (LVLK) which will, after carrying out a verification and inspection process, issue V-Legal documents to exporters that meet standard. The V-Legal documents contain information about the type and volume of timber products to be exported, the country of destination and additional information.

With the assistance of MFP-KEHATI and support by UKAID, the Ministry of Forestry is developing an online management information system for the issuance of V-Legal documents that will be ready for operation in late 2012. This system will be run by the Timber Legality Verification Information Management Unit or the License Information Unit (LIU) which is based at the Directorate General for the Development of Forestry Businesses of the Ministry of Forestry. This online system will replace the timber products endorsement mechanism run by the Forestry Industry Revitalization Body (BRIK).

This Timber Legality Verification Information System is also directly connected to INATRADE, a system at the Directorate General of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Trade that connects, for export registration to the portal of the Indonesian National Single Window (INSW) System at the Directorate General of Customs and Excise of the Ministry of Finance for export registration. This system would also allow the customs departments of export destination countries to obtain certainty or clarification of the legality of timber from Indonesia.

"The existence of LIU proves the seriousness of the Government of Indonesia to reform the country's timber governance, to reduce illegal logging and to facilitate the industry including small industries," says MS. Sembiring, Executive Director of the KEHATI Foundation. He added, "we will continue to support the efforts of the Government of Indonesia through our future programmes."

As part of the launch of the Timber Legality Verification Information System, there will be a variety of related events under the theme of the Governance of Indonesian Timber and Timber Products through the implementation of SVLK, including a photo exhibition on the sequence of events leading to the preparation and eventual implementation of SVLK, negotiation for cooperation on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union, and the introduction of SVLK to businesses, sub-national forest services and local governments.