The timber legality verification system and the voluntary partnership agreement (VPA) in Indonesia: Challenges for the small-scale forestry sector

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Indonesia is at the forefront of countries implementing voluntary partnership agreements (VPA) with the EU in order to meet legal requirements under the EU Timber Regulation. Since 2009, the forestry authorities have been working to establish a timber legality verification system called SVLK. This system became mandatory for large-scale forestry enterprises on 1 January 2013, while small-scale operators had until 1 January 2014 to comply. While the progress with SVLK certification among large-scale timber enterprises has been considerable, timber legality verification in the small-scale sector lags behind. There continues to be a significant degree of illegality in small-scale forestry operations and stakeholders' understanding of SVLK and the VPA is limited. Many small-scale timber businesses are reluctant to pursue certification and formalize their operations because of concerns about additional costs and uncertainty about the benefits.Achieving timber legality compliance in the Indonesian forestry sector will not be easy. However, by applying a phased approach, providing more information to stakeholders, expanding verification bodies' capacity, simplifying the SVLK process and making it more financially attractive it is possible to make progress

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