Speaking in front of European Union NGOs, the Indonesian government strongly rejects discrimination against palm oil in the EUDR.

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JAKARTA, THE NUSANTARA POST- The government, through the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, expressed serious objection to the European Union regarding the discriminatory actions against palm oil through the EU Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR) in a meeting with representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).

“The implementation of EUDR will clearly hurt and harm plantation and forestry commodities that are so important to us, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, wood products, and palm oil,” said Airlangga in Brussels, Belgium, as stated in an official statement received in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Airlangga stated that the EUDR policy diminishes all of Indonesia’s efforts to address issues related to climate change and biodiversity protection in accordance with agreements, treaties, and multilateral conventions, such as the Paris Agreement.

“The member countries of CPOPC (Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries) have strictly implemented various conservation policies. In fact, the deforestation level in Indonesia has decreased by 75 percent during the 2019-2020 period. Indonesia has also successfully reduced the area affected by forest fires to 91.84 percent,” Airlangga said, as quoted by The Nusantara Post from Antara.

Airlangga requested recognition and understanding from various parties in the European Union for what palm oil-producing countries have done in sustainable production.

“Our message to the European Union is very clear: give us the rightful recognition we deserve,” Airlangga said.

He also called on CSOs and NGOs in Europe to actively voice their support and promote palm oil in an objective, transparent, non-discriminatory scheme supported by accurate, up-to-date, and reliable data and information.

“Indonesia’s commitment to producing palm oil that meets sustainability requirements and the way we address various issues related to deforestation and climate change have been acknowledged and used as an example by various international and multilateral organizations,” Airlangga said.

Airlangga emphasized the need to counter the No Palm Oil campaign, and the role of CSOs and NGOs in fighting this negative campaign must be consistently carried out.

At the same event, Deputy Prime Minister of Plantation and Commodities of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah Bin Haji Yusof, also affirmed their support for climate change mitigation efforts and deforestation reduction.

During the Q&A session, concerns from CSOs and NGOs regarding the latest regulations from the EU were revealed.

Some inputs or questions raised by CSOs and NGOs included the need for clarity on the form of a consultation platform to be established to support the drafting of implementing regulations for the EUDR, ensuring it is practical, non-bureaucratic, and does not harm small-scale farmers.

In addition, CSOs and NGOs expressed readiness to support Indonesia in dealing with EUDR and its derivatives, given the strategic importance of palm oil that also benefits small-scale farmers. Furthermore, it is known that Europe is not entirely free from palm oil.

The main provisions of the EUDR have the potential to greatly harm and create difficulties for small-scale farmers, including the implementation of geolocation for oil palm land plots and a country benchmarking system that categorizes countries into high-risk, standard, and low-risk.

Regarding benchmarking, Minister Airlangga emphasized that as fellow member countries subject to legal provisions and international agreements/conventions, the EUDR provisions have the potential to hinder market access for commodities targeted by the EUDR, such as coffee, cocoa, wood, palm oil, and rubber.

Additionally, this provision will give a negative image to countries classified as high-risk.

The European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) is a policy that regulates commodities and their impact on deforestation

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