EU-Indonesia cooperation: Protecting forest ecosystems from illegal logging
The 24-26 May Andris Piebalgs is doing his first visit to Indonesia as EU Commissioner for Development. One of the projects that the Commission finances within its EU-Indonesia cooperation is the Aceh Forest and Environment Project (AFEP). AFEP seeks to establish an appropriate balance between forest protection and economic benefits and livelihood opportunities to local communities. The objective is to help protect 3.3 million hectares of the Leuser and Ulu Masen forest ecosystems from illegal logging.
The European Commission has contributed € 5,02 million (37.5% of the total project cost) to the realisation of the project. Since the start in 2006, 17 law enforcement operations have been completed by the local authorities in the region, resulting in criminal convictions and seizure of illegal timber and equipment. At the community level, the environmental sustainability is further promoted by supporting village spatial planning processes, and initiating community nurseries to improve sustainable tree-crop based livelihoods.
This project is a direct contribution to the FLEGT Action Plan (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade), adopted by the EU in 2003. The Action Plan blends measures in producer and consumer countries to facilitate trade in legal timber, and eliminate illegal timber from trade with the EU. Indonesia and the EU are presently negotiating a voluntary partnership agreement, which aims to use the influence of the EU market to help governments fight against illegal logging and improve forest governance.