FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Inclusive independent forest monitoring bolsters good forest governance


The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported Indonesian CSOs to strengthen Independent Forest Monitoring (IFM), by training and mentoring the next generation of independent forest monitors, with a view to include and empower traditionally underrepresented groups such as women and youth.

IFM is a process by which civil society and communities living in and around forest have the opportunity to monitor, document and report suspected illegalities in the timber sector. Monitoring plays an essential role in ensuring that timber entering Indonesia’s supply chains complies with the legal requirements of the Indonesia Timber Legality Verification System (System Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu, SVLK), as established within the EU-Indonesia Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). The IFM organisations are officially recognised by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and IFM reports are acted upon through an official feedback mechanism.

Engaging women, youth, and indigenous peoples in the fight against illegal logging

Since 2017, the Programme has supported six national partners working on IFM in Indonesia across eight projects: the Independent Forest Monitoring Fund, the Independent Forest Monitoring Network, Jurnal Celebes, PPLH Mangkubumi, World Resource Institute Indonesia, and Komunitas Konservasi Indonesia Warsi.  These partners were able to extend the reach of IFM by equipping 800 independent monitors with the knowledge and tools to monitor resource use in and around the areas where they live. Trained independent forest monitors have applied their newly acquired legal and investigative skills to report on activities of logging companies across Indonesia.

Women’s social networks and role in forest communities, and their inconspicuous presence in the field whilst undertaking household chores such as collecting wood fuels and non-wood food products, means they are well placed to monitor on-the-ground logging operations. Recognising this, Programme partners provide targeted workshops for women and women’s community groups. Overall, trainings have equipped a total of 223 women with the necessary skills to prepare monitoring plans, conduct independent forest monitoring activities, and report to relevant authorities.

This training was my first exposure to the important role that Independent Forest Monitors play in monitoring the activities of timber companies. I’ve gained new skills on how to identify and report violations carried out by companies extracting forest resources’, said Nurul Astutik, a female independent monitor from East Java.

Meanwhile, trainings reached 98 members of indigenous communities in provinces across the islands of Java, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Papua, South Sulawesi, and Kalimantan. Many of FAO’s partners use mentorship programme as part of the training process, allowing the newly trained monitors to work confidently alongside experienced monitors from the early planning stages through to formulating joint campaigns and advocacy strategies to communicate the findings.

Improving ownership and strengthening forest governance

Through close monitoring of the effective application of SLVK, IFM enables forest-dependent communities to understand their rights and to actively participate in forest governance processes. In Bengkulu Province, support helped one such community to advocate for the protection of their forests, which were threatened by illegal encroachment by companies clearing land for oil palm plantations. Monitors joined forces with the media to amplify their findings, bringing the issue to the attention of law enforcement agencies, which led to the arrest of illegal loggers responsible.

Community members from another village on a remote island in North Maluku reported, ‘We are proud to be able to take part in national scale activities and to feel as though we are part of something very big. We will use this knowledge and networking for the monitoring process in our area and control the exploitation of natural resources in our village’.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, where the reduced presence of on-the-ground monitoring and law enforcement activities by authorities could lead to illegal logging, processing and trade, support to IFM is increasingly important. By upholding legality commitments, IFM not only helps address immediate livelihood needs, but it also helps safeguard advances in sustainable forest management and progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Based on previous achievements, the Programme is currently supporting three partners working on IFM to build on previous advances, with a particular focus on strengthening the effective implementation of the SVLK.

Since 2017 the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported 17 projects in Indonesia, committing over $1 850 000 (USD), with a focus on VPA monitoring structures and efforts, institutional strengthening and capacity building, and transparency commitments.

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations is a global demand-driven initiative that provides technical support and resources for activities that further the goals of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan. The Programme is funded by the European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom.

For more information on our partners:

Independent Forest Monitoring Fund

Independent Forest Monitoring Network

Jurnal Celebes

PPLH Mangkubumi

WRI Indonesia

Komunitas Konservasi Indonesia Warsi

For further information:

FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Ministry of Environment and Forestry