Govt to cancel relaxation on timber certification policy
The Jakarta Post
The government is set to cancel its plan to relax certification requirements for downstream timber products.
Previously, the Trade Ministry stated that small and medium enterprises should be allowed to export their timber products without meeting the criteria of the timber legality verification system (SVLK) as part of the ministry's new policies on deregulation. According to Trade Minister Thomas Lembong, among the 32 rules that were supposed to be deregulated, one of them included the mandatory SVLK for downstream timber products such as furniture.
"We must realize that the deregulation has boundaries as well. There are also positive regulations that are very worthy and should be maintained," Thomas told thejakartapost.com after the opening ceremony of the 2015 Trade Expo Indonesia (TEI) in Jakarta on Wednesday.
According to Thomas, the plan was canceled after the ministry received feedback from the European Union, the Environment and Forestry Minister and NGOs.
"I learned that SVLK is a very sophisticated and good system and it will add value to Indonesia's timber product exports," said Thomas.
SVLK aims to reduce illegal logging and timber trading as well as improve the management of industrial timber products and allow better timber legality assurance. It will also help prevent the emergence of black markets.
Thomas said the mandatory SVLK for downstream timber products would be fully enforced next year. All uncertified timber products will not be allowed to be exported due to their unverified origins.
Earlier, Eyes on the Forest (EoF) activist Ian Hilman said that the government's plan to relax the certification policy meant that it had forgotten the long history of illegal logging in Indonesia and only accommodated the interests of certain groups.
Likewise, Zainuri Hasyim from the Indonesian Independent Forest Monitoring Network (JPIK) said that all forest governance efforts that had been conducted would have zero results if the plan was executed.
"SVLK should be maintained as it is an attempt to improve forest governance," said Zainuri. (kes)(++++)