Leading members of the European Parliament attended a seminar overnight to address how the EU can assist the efforts of Indonesian civil society in the fight against illegal logging.
The seminar, hosted by the Environmental Investigation Agency or EIA, their Indonesian partners, Telapak, and the North East Euro MEP Fiona Hall, provided first-hand accounts from an Indonesian delegation of the struggle to protect their forests.
The delegation consisted of an indigenous leader, an investigative journalist and a civil society representative who has led the fight to stop illegal logging.
Illegal logging is rampant in Indonesia and has resulted in a crisis for Indonesia's forests and its timber sector.
The loss of revenue to the state through corrupt officials, powerful and violent timber barons, and the illegal trade in timber and wood products have necessitated an urgent response from the EU.
Arbi Valentinus from Telapak says it needs legislation in Europe that allows for enforcement when illegally sourced products are exported from our markets.
He says European consumers are unknowingly involved in buying products that have been extracted illegally, and, in many cases, involved violence towards innocent people.