Indonesia, EU pact to stop illegal timber exports

Sep 30, 2013
In this photograph taken on August 5, 2010 during an aerial survey organized by Greenpeace, stacks of timber in Sumatra island awaits boat transport.

Indonesia, Asia's leading exporter of timber to Europe, on Monday signed a long-awaited pact with the European Union to fight the trade in illegal timber, a driver of environmentally damaging deforestation.

The deal, negotiated over six years, aims to ensure that all Indonesian timber entering the EU is produced legally, and makes Indonesia the first Asian nation to enter such an agreement.

"This agreement is good for the environment and good for responsible business," said the EU's Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, who joined Indonesia's Minister for Forestry Hassan Zulkifli at the signing ceremony in Brussels.

Illegally harvested wood represents about 50 percent of timber exported from Indonesia and 20 percent of timber products imported into the EU.

Main destinations in Europe are Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy.

But an EU law introduced in March prohibits the sale of illegally harvested timber, meaning businesses must ask for evidence that products comply with the rules.

The deal has yet to be formally ratified by both sides, but once it is fully implemented, Indonesian timber products will be systematically checked for their traceability with the help of the EU.

It will boost the EU's Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade plan, part of global efforts to stop the illegal logging practices that are destroying the world's tropical forests.

Indonesia is home to the world's third-largest expanse of rainforests, after the Amazon and the Congo basin, and is often cited as the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, mainly caused by deforestation.

It has said demand for cheap timber products is one of the main reasons it struggles to control what is known locally as the "forest mafia".

The EU imported $1.2 billion-worth of and paper from Indonesia in 2010, about 15 percent of the country's total exports in the forestry sector.

Brussels first signed a similar accords with Ghana, followed by Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Liberia and Central African Republic.

Explore further: Indonesia extends logging ban to protect rainforest

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU cracks down on illegal timber trade

Mar 01, 2013

The European Union is cracking down on the timber trade in an effort to curb illegal logging, blamed for a host of ills from social upheaval to environmental and economic damage.

Indonesia extends logging ban to protect rainforest

May 15, 2013

Indonesia has extended a logging ban to protect rainforests despite fierce industry pressure, the government said Wednesday, but green groups slammed it as inadequate to safeguard threatened habitats.

China demand fuels illegal logging, report says

Nov 29, 2012

The preservation of the world's forests "is in China's hands", a top environmental campaign group said Thursday, accusing the biggest wood importer and consumer of fuelling the illegal timber trade.

Lilliput forests, global certification

Feb 08, 2013

As global demand for timber certified as being sustainable is growing, European small forest owners are still reluctant to gain certification. But increasing economic advantages may shift their position.

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.