The European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) will come full force in 2025. There are still many questions regarding the implementation of this regulation. It is necessary to have a meeting space for all commodity stakeholders mentioned in the EUDR to share information.
Wednesday, November 8 2023, Kaoem Telapak held a seminar and workshop entitled EUDR Implementation and Related Issues: Towards Sustainable Commodities in the Future for Indonesia in Jakarta. On this occasion, Kaoem Telapak invited representatives of the EU Delegation, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Forestry and Environment (KLHK), Sekadau Regency Regional Government, embassies of member states of the European Union, certification agencies, coffee and cacao entrepreneurs, and the Indonesian CSO Coalition.
President of Kaoem Telapak, Mardi Minangsari, said that implementing EUDR was an opportunity for Indonesia to show its leadership in mitigating the climate crisis and achieving Sustainable Development Goals. The European Union’s anti-deforestation regulations aim to reduce the European Union’s consumption of commodities that they consider the cause of forest loss and environmental damage. However, this regulation will also impact producing countries, especially smallholder groups.
Many countries are also starting to move in the same direction as the European Union. They demand sustainable commodities in their market. “Even though it is very complex, this regulation (EUDR – ed.) provides an opportunity to strengthen forest governance, land use management, traceability and sustainability in the monitored commodity sector,” said Mardi Minangsari.
Eloïse O’Carroll, who was present on behalf of the EU Delegation, said that the EUDR regulations aimed to reduce the European Union’s consumption of commodities deemed to be at risk of deforestation. European Union imports of these commodities reach 85 million Euros per year. Eloïse O’Carroll also explained that 420 million hectares of forest have vanished globally. The area of forest lost is greater than the area of the European continent. “Even though we know forests are the best mitigation tool in preventing climate change,” She said. Then, Eloïse O’Carroll added that agricultural land expansion causes 90% of deforestation.
EUDR monitor seven commodities: palm oil, soybeans, wood, livestock, cocoa, coffee and rubber. The regulation also monitors the derivative products from those commodities. Eloïse O’Carroll warns that commodity coverage may increase over time.
Then, She also emphasized that the EUDR exists to minimize the European Union’s contribution to deforestation and biodiversity loss. EUDR is not a ban on specific countries or certain commodities. “EUDR is a way for us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” She said.
In the Indonesian context, this seminar and workshop highlight two commodities from Indonesia that the EUDR will monitor. The commodities are timber and palm oil.
Krisdianto S.Hut, M.Sc PhD from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the EUDR could no longer go backwards because this regulation already had a timeline. According to Krisdianto, there will be more regulations similar to the EUDR in the future, “United States with the Lacey Act, UK with the 2021 Environmental Act,” he said.
According to Krisdianto, the key word in dealing with EUDR is traceability. Even though the European Union has recognized the legality of wood from Indonesia, there is still a task to do, namely the sustainability aspect. The challenge is how customs officers in the European Union can access geolocation data for commodities due diligence. “It is this geolocation data that takes time to reach due diligence officers,” he said.
For palm oil commodities, Dr. Prayudi Syamsuri, SP., M.Si., from the Ministry of Agriculture, explained that palm oil sent to the European Union is only around 8.8% of total production in Indonesia. The number puts the European Union in the top four positions in the ranking of Indonesian palm oil consumers. However, this figure is relatively small compared to India and China, which are 19% and 14%. “Because the amount is small, we shouldn’t need to worry about EUDR,” he said.
However, Prayudi Syamsuri reminded us that the share of the European Union has always been a trendsetter. If there are good policies, the world will follow them. “Problems will arise if we don’t prepare ourselves to face them,” he said.
Furthermore, Prayudi Syamsuri explained that if the European Union does not accept Indonesian commodities, Indonesia could sell them elsewhere. However, this solution has problems. “If we follow this solution, we will get a discount, not a premium,” he said.
Sustainable production practices are already in place in many places. One of them is Sekadau Regency. In this seminar, the Regent of Sekadau, Aron S.H., was also present to discuss sustainable palm oil production strategies. Regent Aron explained the importance of data, increasing productivity, empowering Indigenous Communities, environmental management and monitoring, and commodity certification. “We gave the smallholders about one hundred thousand high-quality seeds to increase plantation productivity,” he said.
Since it was still in proposal status, the Indonesian CSO Coalition has been monitoring this regulation. Sri Palupi, a researcher from the ECOSOC Institute, was present to represent the coalition at this event. She assessed that EUDR has the same goals as Indonesia’s intention to fight deforestation. Sri Palupi also said that Indonesia had taken several steps to realize this, starting from strengthening ISPO, issuing a moratorium on palm oil, peat restoration, social forestry, supporting SVLK, the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil, up to FOLU Net Sink 2030. “So there is no “The reason for Indonesia not to prepare itself to face the implementation of EUDR,” She said.
Furthermore, Sri Palupi explained that Indonesia already has experience in dealing with regulations from the European Union. An example is the FLEGT VPA agreement for wood commodities. “In this case, Indonesia was successful,” she said.