Jakarta: On the occasion of Climate Diplomacy Week 2020, and following the ASEAN Ministerial on Agriculture and Forestry, the European Union (EU) announced a new €5 million project “Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade in ASEAN".
Over the next three years, the project will support ASEAN Member States to reduce illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance and promoting trade in legally produced timber.
The project will be implemented by the European Forest Institute. It supports and complements on-going initiatives in ASEAN, such as the Strategic Plan of Action for ASEAN Co-operation on Forestry (2016-2025), adopted in 2016, and the Work Plan for Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in ASEAN for the same period.
This Work Plan constitutes the basis for deepening co-operation and implementing joint actions among ASEAN Member States, addressing illegal logging and deforestation through an approach in line with the EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan.
“The EU is proud to work with ASEAN to strengthen forest governance across the region, in line with the EU Green deal. Legal timber export enhances fair trade, sustainable forest management and the protection of biodiversity to the benefit of all people in Southeast Asia,” said EU Ambassador to ASEAN Igor Driesmans in a press release issued on Sunday.
Southeast Asia contains 15 percent of the world’s tropical forests, and includes at least four of the 25 globally important biodiversity hotspots. Forests are a major source of livelihoods, food security and material production for a significant percentage of the 650 million people in Southeast Asia.
The region however is among the world’s major deforestation hotspots, and ranks among the highest in terms of severe biodiversity loss. Between 2005 and 2015, Southeast Asia lost about 80 million hectares of forest, such deforestation could result in over 40% of the region's biodiversity disappearing by 2100.
The EU-FLEGT Action Plan is the EU’s response to the global problem of illegal logging and trade in associated timber products. Implementation of this EU flagship initiative has generated a positive momentum, particularly in Southeast Asia where eight ASEAN Member States are currently involved, at different levels, in FLEGT related dialogues.
Organised around the main objective of the programme, to enhance and demonstrate good forest governance, monitoring and sustainable forest management across ASEAN Member States and in the Asia region, three interlinked components of this action will aim at: Enhancing sustainability and legality of forest sector activities in FLEGT Voluntary Partnerships Agreements’ countries; Strengthening regional dialogue on implementation of the EU FLEGT Action Plan; Strengthening awareness on sustainable landscapes and best practices