Representatives from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry have voiced concerns about being sidelined in the European Union’s decision-making process regarding the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). The EUDR, a policy aimed at curbing deforestation linked to specific commodities, has been a point of contention for Indonesia, the world’s leading palm oil producer.
During a focus group discussion organized by the Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef), Emilia H Elisa, a representative of the Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated, “The EUDR policy is an internal decision of the European Union without formally involving producing countries, including Indonesia.” This exclusion has led to Indonesia’s firm stance of non-compliance with the EU deforestation policy, signaling a disconnect between the EU’s environmental goals and the realities of palm oil producing nations.
The Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) has aligned itself with the government’s position. Azis Hidayat, GAPKI Plantation Division Chairman, affirmed, “If the government refuses, GAPKI also refuses,” reflecting a united front against policies perceived as unfair.
Indef’s Executive Director, Tauhid Ahmad, echoed this sentiment, noting the government’s firm stance is a response to EU proposals that tend to disadvantage Indonesian palm oil. He pointed out the long-term impacts of the EUDR policy on palm oil products from various countries, with a short-term decrease in Indonesia’s market share in Europe.
Despite Indonesia’s rejection of the regulation, Ahmad stressed the need for the country to accelerate preparations to meet EUDR provisions. This includes strengthening the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm Oil Plantations (RAN-KSB) and the implementation of Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification system. Emilia emphasized, “The strengthening of RAN-KSB including the ISPO certification system is vital in promoting sustainable palm oil production and ensuring industry alignment with environmental and social standards.”
In addition to policy support, Tauhid Ahmad highlighted the urgency of deciding on a traceability methodology appropriate for Indonesia. While rejecting EUDR, he suggested continuing to prepare and accelerate ISPO improvements, acknowledging the complexity of the certification process which encompasses economic, social, and environmental aspects.
The impacts of the EUDR are expected to impact the palm oil industry and smallholders in Indonesia significantly. This situation underscores the need for more inclusive global policy-making processes that consider the perspectives and realities of all stakeholders involved.