Illegal Logging in Summit Spotlight

Selasa, 30 April 2013 | 09:47

Law enforcement officials from Indonesia and six other countries have gathered in Jakarta to discuss greater transnational cooperation to tackle illegal logging and other forestry crimes.Brig. Gen. Muhammad Taufik, a spokesman for the National Police, said on Monday that officials from five Southeast Asian countries, along with Papua New Guinea and Japan, were looking at ways to crack down on illegal practices targeting the region’s valuable timber resources.

“Our hope is that with greater exchange of information, we can ramp up our efforts to prevent illegal logging and forestry crimes,” he said.
He added that the meeting, which runs until Friday, was organized by global law cooperation body Interpol.

Davyth Stewart, a criminal intelligence officer with Interpol’s environmental crime program, argued that an open flow of information between timber-producing countries, such as Indonesia, and timber-consuming countries, such as Japan, was important in the fight against illegal logging and the smuggling of illegally felled timber.

“Many environmental crimes are transnational, which is why the exchange of intelligence and management of investigative information is crucial,” he said.

Indra Exploitasia Semiawan, the Forestry Ministry’s director of investigations and forest protection, said Indonesian officials had adopted a barcode system to trace the provenance of all timber exported out of the country in a bid to more easily identify illegally logged wood.

“Any timber bound for export must have a special barcode. If it doesn’t, then it can’t be exported,” he said.

Timber-exporting companies in Indonesia must also obtain certification under the Timber Legality Verification System (SVLK).

Indonesia developed the SVLK as part of its commitment to curbing the trade in illegally harvested wood. The verification system, which went into effect for timber exports at the start of this year, has already been recognized by the European Union, one of the main destinations for Indonesian timber.

To date, more than 200 companies across Indonesia have sought certification of their goods for export.

Diah Raharjo, director of the Multistakeholder Forestry Program, an initiative by the Forestry Ministry and the British Department for International Development, previously said that the SVLK system needed to be “perfected” by being made mandatory for companies selling timber and timber products domestically as well as internationally.

Herry Purnomo, a lecturer in forestry management at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) School of Forestry, noted last December that 80 percent of wood furniture produced in the country was for the domestic market, which he said highlighted the importance of “eco-labeling” for such products.

By Farouk Arnaz