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C 310/140 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/190) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0865/98

by Anita Pollack (PSE) to the Commission

(26 March 1998)

Subject: Tropical forests and biodiversity in Indonesia

The Commission has said that it has contributed ECU 107 million to improve the situation of forests and
biodiversity in Indonesia since 1992. Given that forests in that country continue to be exploited on an
unsustainable basis and that the uncontrolled fires appear to be continuing for a second year, can the Commission
detail what projects or measures have been supported, including their location, and provide an assessment of the
effectiveness of the EU money spent?

Answer given by Mr Marin on behalf of the Commission

(11 May 1998)

While the Commission has committed up to 107 MECU to its forest sector programme in Indonesia − the
‘EC-Indonesia forest programme’ (ECIFP) − since 1992, implementation of the individual projects is on a
phased basis. Two commenced in 1995, a further two in 1996 and the fifth is due to begin implementation later
this year.

The ECIFP projects address key issues particularly relevant to tropical forests’ sustainable management and
conservation:

− sectoral support to forest inventory and monitoring, based on test areas in Southern Sumatra, and support to
forestry radio communications, covering five provinces of Sumatra, through the ‘EC-Indonesia forest sector
support programme’ − project No ALA/92/42 (started 1995);

− forest fire prevention and control in the province of South Sumatra through the ‘Forest fire prevention and
control project’ No B7-5041/1/1992/12 (started 1995);

− conservation of the Leuser eco-system (Aceh/North Sumatra) and development of its buffer zone through the
‘Leuser development programme’ − project No ALA/94/26 (started 1996);

− development of sustainable forest management (East Kalimantan) through the ‘Berau forest management
project’ − No B7-5041/1/94/21 (started 1996);

− sustainable utilisation of production forests (South and Central Kalimantan) through the ‘South/Central
Kalimantan production forest programme’ − project No ALA/95/18 (to be started).

The ECIFP is conceived as a comprehensive programme. Positive results will become increasingly visible in the
coming years after the completion of the individual projects. It should be noted that projects addressing the issue
of conservation and sustainable management of natural resources − aiming to bring about positive changes in the
attitude of the those involved − are by their own nature long-term exercises. In the ECIFP each project gives
particular support to a specific sub-sector, while the whole programme provides a basis for developing the
principles of conservation and sustainable management of the Indonesian forests. In order to maximise the
sectoral impact of the programme the Commission and the government of Indonesia have also established in
mid-1997 the Forest liaison bureau within the ministry of Forestry in Jakarta.

While much of the programme is still in the early stages of implementation, a number of positive outputs are
already apparent. For example, the pilot forest fire prevention and control project in South Sumatra has
established a receiving station for capturing and interpreting satellite data, which provides the government of
Indonesia on a regular basis with information regarding ‘hot spots’ (indicators of ongoing fire events). The
project has trained more than 200 firefighters, supplied basic fire-fighting equipment and established fire
management centres, while public awareness of the importance of fire prevention is being increased in an
innovative approach through local schools. In addition, among the positive initial results of the ECIFP can be
mentioned active contribution to the cancellation of inappropriate logging; support for the management and
protection of the Leuser national park, and development of methodologies for sustainable forest management
including the introduction of environmentally friendly timber extraction methods and participation of local
communities in planning and decision making.
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/141

Assessment of the effectiveness of the Community funding is part of the on-going general evaluation of the
forestry programmes in developing countries established within the Commission. First results are expected
during the second part of 1998, which will be supplemented by a more specific evaluation of the ECIFP planned
to start at the end of 1999.

Finally it should be mentioned that the Joint research centre (JRC) is also providing a valuable contribution
through its research and development programme on the detection and monitoring of deforestation and fires in
insular Southeast Asia. In particular, through its FIRE project, the JRC is in the process of implementing a forest
fires monitoring system at a regional level which will be able to provide real-time information on ongoing fire
events. It is expected that the system will help improve fire fighting and fire management possibilities on a
regional scale.

In general it can be noted that the Community is an active member of the international donor community in
assisting the government of Indonesia in advancing solutions to the fire problems aggravated by the EL Nino
effect.

(98/C 310/191) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0866/98


by Anita Pollack (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Bananas

Has the Commission taken any steps to promote better labour standards, including the right of association, with
the Latin American banana-exporting companies?

Answer given by Mr Marin on behalf of the Commission


(30 April 1998)

The Community’s scheme of generalized preferences (GSP) provides for special incentive arrangements
concerning labour rights and environmental protection. These special incentive arrangements are to be granted in
the form of additional tariff preferences to developing countries covered by the GSP, which respect the standards
laid down in International labour organization (ILO) conventions Nos 87 and 98 concerning the application of the
principles of the right to organize and to bargain collectively (and ILO convention No 138 concerning the
minimum age for admission to employment). A Commission proposal for the application of these special
incentive arrangements is at present under discussion by the Council.

Among the products covered by the GSP are plantains (other fresh bananas are not included) and dried bananas.
The normal preferential duty applicable to these products is 85% of the common customs tariff duty. However
the Andean group countries, the Central American common market countries and Panama are entitled to
duty-free access for several specific products, including dried bananas, provided they continue their efforts to
combat drugs.

In view of the above, the Latin American banana exporting countries which do not benefit already from the
special ‘drugs regime’ will, as GSP beneficiaries, be able to request, after the adoption and the entry into force of
the said regulation, the application of the additional preferences for plantains and dried bananas, provided they
can prove that they apply legislation incorporating the substance of the standards laid down in the
aforementioned ILO conventions. However it should be noted that the other fresh bananas are not covered by the
GSP.

In addition, the Commission has provided funding to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in ‘fair
trade’ initiatives, which promote products produced in accordance with social and environmental standards,
including the respect of ILO conventions relating for example to the right to associate and the prohibition of child
labour. Funded projects have included activities related to ‘fair trade’ bananas, which are now on the market in
several Member States.