EU, RI to strengthen green cooperation
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The European Union (EU) will prioritize low-carbon economic development to strengthen cooperation with Indonesia, a senior official says.
The head of the delegation of the EU to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN, Julian Wilson, said that investing in low-carbon economic development would give Indonesia benefits that could spur higher economic growth rates.
“People sometimes think that investing in the environment will cost money, which is not true,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the launch of the “Blue Book 2012 EU-Indonesia Development Cooperation 2010/2011” on Thursday.
As an example, Wilson said that Indonesian forest products continued to attract consumers in EU member countries as they were quite sure that the products they bought came from legal sources.
Setting up a certification system for timber products could allow Indonesia to expand its market share in the Europe.
“Indonesia is the country with best quality timber in the world. Certifying the legality of the timber is a necessity, however, as our consumers are more aware of the need of sustainable forest management. They won’t buy the products if they aren’t sure that they will come not from legal sources,” Wilson said, referring to the Voluntary Partnership Agreement on Forest Law, Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) that the EU and Indonesia inked after negotiations in 2011.
The FLEGT agreement aims to achieve sustainable forest management by dealing with illegal logging and promoting the export of legally harvested timber products to European markets.
“We work together with our Indonesian stakeholders, ensuring that the certification of forest products made here can been accepted in the European countries,” Wilson said.
Removing questions on the legality of the sources of forest products would help to rebrand Indonesia in European markets, he added.
“What we are doing together is setting out bilateral cooperation where a low-carbon economy will not only help saving the planet, but also help farmers and timber producers, as certified forest products will draw higher prices,” Wilson said, adding that with the certification, consumers would enjoy better quality forest products.
The EU now stands among the three top importers of Indonesian forest products.
The EU’s annual report gave an overview of development assistance that the EU delivered to support Indonesia in achieving its development targets in various sectors, including diversity, healthcare, education, trade, investment and environment.
In 2010, the amount of EU collective Official Development Assistance (ODA) channeled to countries including Indonesia reached ¤53.5 billion, up from more than ¤4.2 billion in the previous year.
Globally, over the last three years, 9 million children have been enrolled in primary schools with the help of the EU. Moreover, 31 million households now have access to clean water and 36,000 kilometers of roads were constructed using the funds.
Of a total ¤500 million coming from EU member states to Indonesia in 2010, nearly a half of that amount went to environmental initiatives.
“The environment has become quite a big area of development cooperation between Indonesia and its European counterparts,” Wilson said.
The deputy head of finance and development at the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), Adi Suryabrata, said the verification of the legality of timber products exported to EU countries could support Indonesia in ensuring that forests in the country were managed in a sustainable way.