Kamis, 23 Mei 2024

Indonesia Embarks on Diplomatic Mission to Rectify EU Forest Map Reference

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The Republic of Indonesia’s government is set to embark on a diplomatic mission to correct the global forest map (GFM) released on the European Union Forest Observatory (GFM EUFO) platform, which serves as a reference for the European Union’s Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR) implementation. Scrutiny has revealed accuracy issues with the GFM EUFO.

Acting Director General of Sustainable Forest Management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Agus Justianto, explained that Indonesia’s diplomatic steps will be carried out through the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. “Other diplomatic steps will also be taken through both bilateral and multilateral channels,” he said on Monday, April 29, 2024.

Based on scrutiny comparing the thematic maps of GFM EUFO with the thematic map of SIMONTANA (National Forest Monitoring System) owned by the Ministry, accuracy issues with GFM EUFO have been uncovered. For instance, there are overestimations of forest cover.

Objects identified as forests by the EU’s GFM are found to be not entirely forested but include shrublands, agriculture, plantations, other land covers, and bodies of water.

For example, the GFM EUFO map indicates forest cover over the body of water of Lake Rawa Pening in Central Java. Another example is the forest cover shown on road sections in DKI Jakarta.

Moreover, the GFM EUFO map also depicts forest cover where the land is actually oil palm plantations, as in Aceh Tamiang. There are also areas that are raw agricultural land. Even smallholder coffee farms in Bali are categorized as forest cover in the GFM EUFO.

Diplomatic efforts to establish a common understanding of forest cover and deforestation have been made by the Indonesian government through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI), the publisher of the Global Forest Watch (GFW) map. The GFW map is also one of the reference maps for the GFM EUFO.

To strengthen Indonesia’s diplomatic modalities in facing the challenges of EUDR, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, through the Directorate General of Sustainable Forest Management, has requested all Forest Utilization Business Permits (PBPH) to overlay the EU’s GFM map with their PBPH maps and PBPH Operational maps.

Subsequently, PBPH is asked to conduct ground checks, documentation, and analysis in areas where inconsistencies between the GFM EUFO map and the actual field conditions and facts are found. The results of this analysis and ground check will be used for further negotiations with the European Union.

This step is crucial considering PBPH produces timber, which is one of the commodities regulated under EUDR.

Agus Justianto further explained that for timber and its derivative products, Indonesia already has the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK), which has been equated to the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade) license and recognized in EUDR. SVLK-certified timber products comply with FLEGT licenses and meet EUDR provisions as stipulated in Article 10 paragraph 3 of the regulation.

“The SVLK has been updated and supplemented with geolocation information, thus strengthening timber traceability to the logging points. Geolocation information is provided in the form of QR codes listed on the SVLK certificate accompanying traded timber products,” Agus Justianto clarified.

To enhance traceability, an integration of information systems for timber utilization is also carried out, starting from the Forest Utilization Business Control Information System (SIPASHUT), the Forest Products Administration Information System (SIPUHH), the Planning Information System for Raw Material Utilization of Forest Products (SIRPBBPHH), to the Timber Legality Information System (SILK).

Besides timber commodities, EUDR also regulates livestock meat, palm oil, cocoa, coffee, soybeans, rubber, and their derivative products. ***

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