The Global Forest Review – released by the World Resources Institute (WRI) – confirms Indonesia’s deforestation rates are the lowest on record, with a 65 per cent reduction in primary forest loss since 2015 – more than any other country in the world.

Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Food, Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, Dr. Ir. Musdhalifah Machmud, released the following statement in response to the report:

“The data from WRI confirms Indonesia is a model for reducing deforestation. This is a clear, unambiguous verification that the Government of Indonesia has taken the right steps to protect forests and reduce deforestation. Indonesia has done this without sacrificing sustainable development and economic opportunity.

“It is unfortunate that the European Union has yet to acknowledge these successes. Instead, they seek to shackle Indonesia’s future with the Deforestation Regulation and are even considering labelling Indonesia ‘High Risk’. This would be counterproductive and undermine the EU’s own efforts to expand its relationship with their largest trading partner in ASEAN.”

WRI Facts about Indonesia

WRI’s report credits government and plantation sector policies and commitments for having helped Indonesia achieve the dramatic reduction in deforestation rates. The report states:

“Government policies and corrective actions have contributed to this reduction, in line with reaching Indonesia’s target of Net Sink (meaning negative CO2 emissions) from the forestry and other land use sectors by 2030. Increased fire prevention and monitoring efforts, termination of granting new licenses on primary forest or peatland (moratorium), law enforcement, and a renewed commitment not only to protect and restore peatlands but also to rehabilitate mangroves have led to fewer fires and less primary forest loss.”

Read the full report and analysis from World Resources Institute here.

Indonesia is Not ‘High Risk’; Launch of Task Force

The data from WRI will be crucial to contributing to the implementation of the EUDR over the next 18 months. Importantly, it underscores that neither Indonesia nor its exports are ‘high risk’. Moreover, support from the European Union for Indonesia’s successful domestic policies and commitments is crucial to helping developing nations ensure compliance with regulations like the EUDR.

Indonesia, Malaysia and the European Commission have also agreed to establish a task force to served as a forum for communication on EUDR. The importance of the task force, and of the Indonesian Government’s position on EUDR, was emphasized in late June when Director-General for the Environment of the European Commission, Florika Fink-Hooijer, visited Jakarta to meet with government officials and stakeholders. The Task Force, if properly implemented and transparent, can help Indonesia to communicate its opinions on EUDR directly to EU officials.

However, a recently published “FAQ”, released by the Commission, signals that the Task Force may simply be perfunctory. Buried in the document, the Commission addresses how producer countries can engage in the country benchmarking/labelling process: “The Commission is required under Art 29(5) to engage in a specific dialogue with all countries that are, or risk to be classified as, high risk, with the objective to reduce their level of risk. This dialogue will be an opportunity for partner countries to provide additional relevant information and work in close contact with the EU ahead of the finalisation of the classification.”

This raises significant red flags that the Task Force is simply a means of covertly satisfying this requirement and may signal that palm oil producers will be labelled ‘High Risk’.

The visit from DG Fink-Hooijer as well as the upcoming meeting of the Task Force will be an opportunity for the EU to demonstrate it wants Indonesia to succeed. This starts first with recognition of cold hard data, which cannot be ignored by Brussels.

Read the full report and analysis from World Resources Institute here.