Kaoem Telapak and 44 CSOs, the Civil Society Movement Coalition members, held a media briefing on Thursday, October 12 2023, in Cikini, Jakarta.
The Coalition consists of various elements, for example, Indigenous Peoples, Palm Oil Farmers, and stakeholders, who are affected by the implementation of the European Deforestation Regulation (EUDR).
In the media briefing, three speakers will start a discussion. The resource persons were Olvy Octavianita Tumbelaka, Kaoem Telapak Campaigner, Sri Palupi from the Ecosoc Institute, and Wahyu from Pantau Gambut. Meanwhile, Sapariah Saturi, from Mongabay Indonesia, was the moderator in this discussion with the media.
In the discussion, Olvy explained that the civil societies built a Coalition in response to the EUDR proposal in 2021. In April 2022, this Coalition issued a joint statement regarding the contents of the EUDR proposal. In this statement, the Coalition provided input ranging from those related to the definition of deforestation to those related to the cut-off date.
Olvy also explained that in 2022, the Coalition would have a chance to chat with the Expert Staff of Members of the European Union Parliament and Members of the European Union Parliament. The Coalition provided a lot of input, including the importance of consent forms to guarantee the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities living around forests, the need for an international human rights instrument framework in due diligence, and input on the definition of smallholders or independent small farmers which, according to the Coalition, the EU defines too narrow.
According to Olvy, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the European Union, they formed the Joint Task Force (JTF) in May 2023. The Coalition has sent a letter to the JTF to get involved. However, until the day of the media briefing, the Coalition had yet to reach their answer. In fact, on August 4 2023, the JTF held a meeting that seemed closed and not inclusive. “Before August 4 2023, the Coalition had sent a letter asking to get involved. So that they can hear the interests of the affected groups, but until now, they did not respond to our letter,” said Olvy.
Meanwhile, Sri Palupi said that the Coalition welcomed the formation of this JTF. According to Palupi, Indonesia has often questioned the EUDR because, in its preparation, the European Union did not open dialogue with producing countries. For Palupi, this JTF will strengthen the dialogue between Indonesia and the European Union regarding the implementation of EUDR. Even so, Palupi regretted that they organized the first JTF meeting behind closed doors. Even though the European Union stated firmly that the JTF would involve all stakeholders, including civil society organizations and affected groups.
“Unfortunately, the first meeting was held behind closed doors. We don’t know what they discussed or whether the affected groups were also involved. If this task force wants to achieve its goals, it must implement the principles of transparency, inclusiveness and accountability. “If they do not implement these principles, it will negatively impact what the task force wants to achieve,” said Palupi.
The JTF will hold its second meeting in November 2023 in Malaysia. Olvy, on behalf of the Coalition, admitted that he still believed the government had good intentions, inviting civil society groups and affected groups to come together for consultation. “We will wait 14 days from now. If our letter is still not responded to, we will determine our next steps,” said Olvy.