FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

FAO and EU reinforce support to Indonesia’s legal timber trade


7 August 2020, Jakarta - FAO has stepped up support for legal timber production and trade in Indonesia with the launch of six new projects.

The projects will help strengthen objectives established under a Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union (EU) and Indonesia as part of the EU Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). Indonesia became the first country in the world to issue FLEGT licenses for timber products exported to the EU in 2016.
Legal and sustainable timber production and trade in Indonesia rest on the application of the national timber legality assurance system, or System Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK), which tracks timber products from the forest throughout the supply chain.

Delivered through the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme, the six new projects will pilot innovative ways to enable micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to better comply with the SVLK, minimizing the burden on smaller operators, and to widen the reach and effectiveness of independent forest monitoring on the ground.

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme will also assist small-scale sawmills by developing cost-effective and commercially viable systems for tracing timber entering and exiting individual mills, in line with SVLK requirements.

“At a time of increased vulnerability due to shifting global trade patterns, continuing to support the legal and sustainable use of forest resources helps ensure that forests are well managed, and that the forestry sector provides improved livelihood opportunities in the post-COVID 19 economic recovery phase,” said Daphne Hewitt, FAO-EU FLEGT Programme Manager.

“We are pleased to continue to complement the steadfast commitment of Indonesia to legal timber production and trade by extending further support to local stakeholders at this delicate time.”

The projects, worth approximately USD 550 000, have been made possible thanks to the EU, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.

Concrete results

The application of the SVLK has brought considerable economic benefits to Indonesia while also strengthening sustainable forest management practices.

Figures show that Indonesia’s timber exports have been steadily increasing since the application of the SVLK: according to the FLEGT Independent Market Monitor (IMM), in 2013, the value of Indonesia’s timber exports was USD 6 billion; in 2019, the figure was nearly double, at USD 11.6 billion, with the EU accounting for 9 percent of the market.

A recent survey conducted by the Center for International Forest Research (CIFOR) also confirmed that the rise in the share of legal timber in export markets, as well as the increase in national timber production harvested with legally obtained permits, is directly attributable to the VPA process.

“The transparency and participative governance of the Indonesian system is already exemplary on many levels, yet it keeps improving,” said Michael Bucki, Climate Change & Environment Counselor - EU Delegation to Indonesia. “International trade partners pay attention. People and ecosystems benefit”.

To sustain improvements in forest governance, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme will continue to strengthen civil-society led independent monitoring in Indonesia: securing sustainable financing for independent forest monitoring, expanding on-the-ground monitoring activities and strengthening the role of indigenous and local communities.

Since 2016, the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported 17 projects in Indonesia, amounting to approximately USD 1.8 million, primarily focusing on supporting MSMEs, strengthening SVLK implementation, and conducting independent forest monitoring.

For more information, visit the FAO Indonesia country page, as well as the Flickr gallery.