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EUTR perspectives - The producing country view

Achmad Edi Nugroho, Indonesian Co-Director of the Multi-stakeholder Forestry Programme and Andy Roby, MFP UK Co-Director and FLEGT VPA Facilitator: "High expectations – The producing country view".

Since 2003 Indonesia has been asking Europe and other consuming nations to help address illegal logging by controlling imports of illegal timber. Indonesia had begun negotiating a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the EU but talks had slowed to a glacial pace by April 2008. The main concern for Indonesia was that there was nothing to stop illegal timber from Indonesia entering Europe via a third country – which was something VPAs were not set up to address – so Indonesia did not see much point in progressing with the VPA.

Then two things happened in a quick succession: first the Lacey Act Timber Amendment was completed in May 2008, then in September 2008 the EU announced its intentions to develop the EU Timber Regulation (then known as the Due Diligence Regulation).

Indonesia then decided that these changing international markets needed a national response, so they went ahead with their own national timber legality assurance system, known as the SVLK (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu) based on the multi-stakeholder legality standard and auditing system that had been presented to the Ministry of Forestry that year by the National Forestry Council.

By July 2009 the SVLK law was approved and implementation began. Therefore, also negotiations with the EU progressed at some speed, resulting in signing of the VPA in May 2011. After 2 years of implementation the SVLK legislation has just been revised again, based on both the first experiences on the ground, and to align the national legislation with the VPA text and annexes. The SVLK legislation is made up of two parts – the legality definition and the legality assurance system – and once the VPA is fully implemented, SVLK- licensed timber will be considered risk-free under the EU Timber Regulation.

Now Indonesia is keen to see the EUTR fully imple- mented with effective penalties and proper monitoring. To monitor this, Indonesia has high expectations that the Independent Market Monitoring (IMM) will be up and running and able to tell Indonesia and other VPA countries how their FLEGT timber is doing in the European market. The IMM was a key part of the reciprocity elements of the Indonesian VPA – "if Europe is going to monitor the Indonesian SVLK, then Indonesia should be able to monitor the European regulation".

 

This article can be found in the latest issue of EFI News, which concentrates on the countdown to the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR). The issue offers points of view from industry, an NGO, the European Commission, a producing country and a trade federation.


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