The logo of FAO (Source: en.antaranews.com)

Jakarta (VNA)
- Indonesia and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) renewed cooperation in support of forest governance and timber legality, according to a recently-released press statement quoted by ANTARA News.

According to the statement, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry is teaming up with the FAO to support local stakeholders to strengthen implementation of the national timber legality assurance system (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu-SVLK), which forms the backbone of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Indonesia and the European Union (EU).

The SVLK is Indonesia`s national system providing assurance that timber harvested from natural production forests, industrial plantations, household-managed small-scale plantations or imported was legal.

A collaboration agreement for the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) programme was re-signed on May 24 by the Director of Forest Product Processing and Marketing, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Rufi`ie, and the FAO Representative in Indonesia, Stephen Rudgard.

The agreement outlined how grants would be made available to finance initiatives from government institutions, private sector associations and civil society organisations that would support and further strengthen the implementation of the SVLK.

"The agreement will provide a legal basis for cooperation in strengthening the capacity of respective stakeholders in the implementation of the Indonesian Timber Legality Assurance System (SVLK) and the FLEGT VPA between Indonesia and the European Union," said Rufi`ie.

He also stated that it would ensure capacity building for all stakeholders, especially the small and medium enterprises.

Indonesia is one of the world`s largest exporters of a wide variety of tropical wood products ranging from plywood, pulp and paper to furniture and handicrafts with 10.935 billion USD worth of trade in 2017.

Indonesia was the first country in the world to operationalise its VPA and had issued more than 61,000 FLEGT licences since November 2016 for shipments to the 28 EU member states, with a total value of more than 1.8 billion USD.

EU operators importing FLEGT-licensed timber automatically comply with the EU Timber Regulation creating a "green lane" for Indonesian timber entering the European Union.

"With EU support, the FAO is working with national authorities in timber-producing countries such as Indonesia, as well as with international and local partners, to demonstrate the legality of timber and develop the legal trade in timber with EU and other consumer countries," said Rugard.

The FLEGT Action Plan was approved by the European Commission in 2003, with the main objective of encouraging sustainable forest management.-VNA