Joint Press Release The 2nd Meeting of the Ad Hoc Joint Task Force on the EUDR
- Created Date: 02 February 2024
The 2nd meeting of Ad Hoc Joint Task Force (JTF) on the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) was convened on 2 February 2024 in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The meeting was attended by the official representatives and stakeholders of relevant five commodities identified in the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) namely palm oil, rubber, cocoa, timber, and coffee.
The meeting was co-chaired by Dato' Zailani Bin Haji Hashim, Deputy Secretary General (Plantation & Commodities), Ministry of Plantation and Commodities of Malaysia, Dr. Musdhalifah Machmud, Senior Advisor for Connectivity, Service Sector and Natural Resources Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, the Republic of Indonesia, and Ms. Astrid Schomaker, Director for Green Diplomacy and Multilateralism, European Commission (EC). The meeting was facilitated by the Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC).
Dato’ Zailani Bin Haji Hashim highlighted that while Malaysian leaders have repeatedly acknowledged the EU's right to implement the EUDR, aligning these regulations with Malaysia's existing legal, administrative, and supply chain systems presents significant challenges. Smallholders, particularly those in remote areas, are likely to be most impacted by the EUDR. Leniency towards them is crucial, considering deferring implementation and providing targeted technical and capacity-building support. This will ensure a smoother transition and empower them to comply with the EUDR in the long run. Musdhalifah Machmud reiterated that by fostering mutual understanding and respect, the Government of Indonesia (GoI) hoped the EU can comprehend and consider the efforts made by the GoI to date. The GoI would take to highlight that they adhere to sustainability principles based on their own regulations, citing the principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabiltities (CBDR-RC). They reaffirmed their hope for a concrete solution from the Ad Hoc JTF such as the possible postponement of EUDR implementation for smallholders. Astrid Schomaker reaffirmed that the EU’s commitment to work closely with Indonesia and Malaysia to ensure smooth implementation of the EUDR, in particular on ensuring that smallholders in all relevant commodity sectors remain included in legal and deforestation free supply chains to the European Union. She welcomed Malaysia’s and Indonesia’s commitment to developing strict traceability and to further strengthening their respective certification systems based on a shared analysis of discrepancies with EUDR requirements, and looked forward to discussions on forest mapping with a view to developing national forest maps using the FAO forest definition. In his opening remarks, Secretary General of CPOPC, Rizal A. Lukman, thanked all relevant parties of the Ad Hoc JTF for their strong commitment to continue putting efforts on the 2nd meeting which is held six months after its first meeting on 4 August 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The meeting focused on discussing the five work streams aim to build common understanding on the implementation of the regulation and its core aspects. In the Workstream 1: Inclusivity of smallholders in the supply chain, the challenges faced by the smallholders and the proposed solutions were deliberated. The EU representatives acknowledged that deadlines in the EUDR are challenging and took good note of the call for a delay of entry into application of the EUDR. The parties agreed that particular attention needs to be paid to smallholders in relevant commodity sectors. The EU committed to further support the inclusion of smallholders in legal and deforestation-free supply chains The EU will support Indonesia in the development and accelerated roll out of its STDB smallholder registration scheme for all relevant commodities, as well as Malaysia on smallholders inclusion in legal and traceable supply chains in the palm oil and rubber sectors.
For Workstream 2: Relevant certification schemes (mandatory implementation), the discussion focused on the gap analysis of Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification and means to address these gaps to enable compliance with the regulations of the EUDR. Building on two joint gap assessments by EU-funded studies analysing the information provided by the MSPO and ISPO certification schemes in comparison to EUDR requirements, the EU, Indonesia and Malaysia agreed on the finalisation of these assessments and committed to work together to address key gaps identified.
In the Workstream 3: Traceability, Malaysia’s Sawit Intelligent Management System (SIMS) developed by Malaysian Palm Oil Board, and e-MSPO by Malaysian Palm Oil Certification Council was presented to showcase Malaysia’s national tool to improve supply chain management, enhance transparency, and ensure compliance with environmental and regulatory standards in the palm oil industry. Followed with Indonesian National Dashboard for Commodities, Indonesia's initiative focuses on creating an integrated system to track commodities that involving data from various stakeholders across relevant commodities subject to the EUDR. The EU will engage in supporting Indonesia’s National Dashboard Initiative for five different commodities to ensure accurate, reliable, and immutable traceability and geolocation. The EU supports the setting up of a regional dialogue for knowledge sharing for Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, focusing on relevant commodities including rubber, palm oil and cocoa. The EU will support traceability developments in Indonesia’s timber sector building on Indonesia´s timber legality assurance system (SVLK). If desired: trilateral workshop Malaysia/Indonesia/Thailand on rubber supply chain traceability in cross-border context. The EU will support legality assessment studies for Malaysia (timber and rubber) and Indonesia (cocoa, coffee and rubber) in the context of the EUDR implementation.
Workstream 4: Scientific data on deforestation and forest degradation, the meeting focused on the progress made by the EU on the Observatory on deforestation and forest degradation. The Indonesian and Malaysian side explain their respective policies and actions on geospatial data and discuss potential cooperation in developing a comprehensive and accurate map.
Workstream 5: Protection of Privacy Data deliberated the concerns of Indonesia and Malaysia in particular on geolocation data. It was emphasized that both countries prohibited the sharing of the data particularly on land ownership and geospatial information. It was highlighted that only the governments of the countries have the authority to disclose the information according to national laws in Indonesia and Malaysia. The EU clarified that geolocation is not linked to any personal data from land owners. The EU agreed to follow up to address any remaining concerns.
A general discussion and Q&A on the FAQ for the implementation of the EUDR revisited some inquiries submitted by Indonesia and Malaysia. Details on technical matters dominated the session that gathered more than 90 representatives of the relevant commodities. Some representatives of the civil social organizations from Indonesia, Malaysia, and EU also joined the session online and posed questions that were responded by relevant parties. In addition, further engagement could be submitted through CPOCP to be responded by the respective parties.
One of the outcomes of this meeting is the establishment of dedicated teams and timeline to advance the work under each workstream. This will enable the intensification of the consultative engagement between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the EU in preparation for the implementation of the EUDR.
The progress and achievement of the workstreams will be the input for the 3rd meeting of the Ad Hoc JTF, tentatively scheduled to take place on September 2024 in Brussels, Belgium. Indonesia, Malaysia, and EU tentatively agreed to take stock of the work of the task force at ministerial level in April and receive further guidance as appropriate, on the occasion of the planned visit of European Commissioner for the Environment, Ocean, and Fisheries, Sinkevicius, to the region.
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