Ghana delegation visits Indonesia to exchange views about the FLEGT licensing process

August 2017 – From the 6th to the 11th of August 2017, James Parker, BVRio’s Regional Director, participated in a Ghanaian learning & sharing mission to Indonesia to prepare for the issuance of the FLEGT licensing for Ghanaian timber. The mission was organized and facilitated by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources of Ghana and Civic Response, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia.

During the Ghanaian delegation’s visit to Indonesia, BVRio organized a meeting on Friday, 11th August 2017 in Jakarta, to bring awareness about the Responsible Timber Exchange Platform as a tool to help promote FLEGT-licensed and certified timber products from Indonesia in the International Market. The meeting was attended by 10 representatives of the timber industry and certification bodies.

In 2016, Indonesia became the first country in the world to export timber products to the European Union (EU) with FLEGT-license. Indonesia, one of the world’s largest timber exporters, started addressing illegal timber logging in 2001. Through a multi-stakeholder process, the country developed in 2009 a robust and credible Legality Assurance System (SVLK) to verify the legality of timber and timber products. This and other processes enabled the country to fulfil its obligation under FLEGT-VPA and to become the first country to export FLEGT-licensed timber to the EU.

With the coming of the FLEGT licensing system, there was hope that trade in timber products from Indonesia to the EU would double to the tune of $2bn a year. Records available indicate that although the FLEGT licensing system has given credibility to the SVLK, and non-EU countries such as the US, Japan, Australia and Canada receive timber covered by SVLK without many questions, there has not been a significant change in demand for FLEGT-licensed timber from Indonesia by consumers in the EU. European consumers still prefer certified timber to FLEGT-licensed timber. In most cases, they know little about FLEGT-licensed timber products. It was under this background that BVRio organized the awareness meeting.

As a result of the meeting, it was concluded that the Responsible Timber Exchange Platform can be used as an effective tool to promote Indonesian FLEGT-licensed timber. The platform is interesting for Indonesian timber exporters as it brings them the opportunity to access international markets (including non-EU markets) and to promote timber products from Indonesia.