European Union Fights against Illegal Logging around the World

02 October 2013, Last updated at, 10:47 EET
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author: The Council of the European Union

On 30 September, at a ceremony held at the EU Council's Justus Lipsius building in Brussels, the Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania Valentinas Mazuronis, and EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, on behalf of the European Union member states signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Indonesia on forest law enforcement, governance and trade in timber products to the European Union (FLEGT).

"I am pleased that after more than five years of negotiations, a final agreement was reached and signed by the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council. The achieved result obliges us as the Presidency to continue looking for successful solutions within the EU as well as in the wider international context," said Minister of Environment V. Mazuronis.

The signed Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the Republic of Indonesia mostly focuses on forest management and law enforcement, and the licensing scheme provided in the Agreement ensures that wood in the Republic of Indonesia will be produced legally. This is a serious commitment by this country that addresses its long-standing problem of illegal logging. Since the entry into force of this document, the admission of wood products from Indonesia to the EU will only be possible with a license certifying the legal origin of products. To prepare for the implementation of this Agreement’s requirements, Indonesia has developed a comprehensive legal compliance monitoring system including all aspects of timber production. The agreement is the result of a strong common commitment to prevent illegal deforestation and contribute to the transparency of the timber trade.

"The fact that another party to which the European Union is a major market to sell wood has joined our common fight against illegal logging is a very important event for both the EU and Indonesia," commented Minister of Environment V. Mazuronis, who signed the Agreement on behalf of the EU.

According to the Minister, who is currently Chair of the EU Environment Council, today's Agreement is highly relevant for major players of timber produced in the Indonesia market such as Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy. In addition, by using more stringent control systems Indonesia will stop illegal deforestation and continued environmental degradation, which is a significant contribution to the mitigation of global climate change.

Similar voluntary partnership agreements have already been signed with the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Ghana.

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