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12.6.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/5

4. The Commission believes that an improvement in the conditions of disabled people, including
mentally handicapped adults, remains crucial in future Member States, but would also point out that
improvements are also needed in current Member States.

5. Such an improvement would require the development of co-ordinated and integrated policies and
strategies in candidate countries. It would entail, in particular, improving the social welfare infrastructure,
the mainstreaming of a disability element into all relevant levels of policy formulation, the enacting of
comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, public awareness and the mobilisation of Community
support.

(2003/C 137 E/005) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1421/02


by Karin Junker (PSE) to the Commission

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Forest dieback in Indonesia

International environmental organisations are concerned at the situation in Indonesia: of the 162 million
hectares of forest covering the island state with its rich vegetation 40 years ago, only half still remains.
Experts consider the long-term climatic and ecological repercussions to be alarming. Alongside forest fires,
local observers believe that the corrupt political system is chiefly responsible for the loss of vital resources.
They claim that the region’s autonomy has been consolidated since the fall of the former President
Suharto, and state control has become powerless. Local administrative authorities with few funds have
enriched themselves by illegally felling trees. NGOs are calling for forest reform, clear rules on ownership
and more action to combat illegal logging and corruption in order to safeguard the environment and
essential resources for future generations.

The EU is Indonesia’s second largest trading partner and the main destination for the export of goods. The
EU is also the largest external investor in the region. Over a period of four years, EUR 106 million have
been allocated to EC development programmes, mainly to support forestry. In its communication
‘Developing closer relations between Indonesia and the European Union’ (1), the Commission stresses the
need to support Indonesia in its plans for forest reform. It points out that the problems are closely linked
to the political process in Indonesia. If that process were improved, EU aid programmes  which chiefly
focus on fire prevention, sustainable forestry and preserving the ecological balance  would be more
effective.

Can the Commission answer the following questions:

 To what extent is the Commission exerting pressure on the Indonesian Government to carry through
the planned reforms?

 In what way is the Commission cooperating with local and international NGOs?

 Does the Commission see a link between the threat to Indonesia’s forests and shortcomings in the
local administrative structure?

 Does the Commission have any figures on the extent of deforestation and the scale of corruption?

 What possibilities does the Commission see for eradicating abuse and preventing illegal logging?

(1) COM(2000) 50.

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(27 June 2002)

The Commission shares the concerns expressed by the Honourable Member regarding the destruction of
forests in Indonesia, and the inadequate governance and regulation of land and forest resources, which is at
C 137 E/6 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

the root of the problem. The reported rate of deforestation, if continued, could eliminate the majority of
the remaining virgin forests in Indonesia in less than twenty years. Corruption is reportedly related to the
allocation of logging permissions, but it is very difficult to quantify the scales involved.

The Commission is implementing measures within its present and proposed future co-operation with
Indonesia to try to ameliorate the management of forests in Indonesia. It has, for some years now, been
leading the international donors within the Consultative Group policy discussions with Indonesia in
pressing for reform in the forestry and land governance sectors. Through ongoing dialogue with the
authorities and by including specific conditions and governance aspects in ongoing projects, preservation
of the forests is being encouraged. In particular, since 2001, the Commission is financing the creation and
operation of the Illegal Logging Response Centre in the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, which specifically
deals with the reporting and control of illegal logging abuses in Indonesia.

At the international level, the Commission is also promoting the implementing and strengthening of
measures aimed at the conservation and sustainable management of forests, for example, in the United
Nations (UN) Forum on Forests, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Tropical
Timber Organisation. It also participated in the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT)
conference in Bali in September 2001. As a follow-up to that Ministerial conference the Commission held
in Brussels in April 2002 an international workshop on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade
(FLEGT). This was attended by the main stakeholder experts from the Member States, other main wood-
producing and importing countries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the forest industries. It
examined ways of establishing mechanisms for identifying legal/illegal wood production, providing a
legality licence, new legislation to prohibit import of illegal wood products into the Community, and due
diligence criteria for lending to wood-producing operations, as well as proper sourcing for public
contracts. The Commission declared in its Communication ‘Towards a Global Partnership for Sustainable
Development’ (1) that it would ‘develop a European Union action plan by end 2002 on Forest Law
Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to combat illegal logging and associated illegal trade and to
strengthen international co-operation to address violations of forest law, and forest crime.’ Accordingly, the
Commission itself is now producing a Communication for an EU FLEGT action programme.

The Commission agrees that improved governance at national and regional levels is essential to making
progress in forests management in Indonesia. This is why the Country Strategy for Community assistance
to Indonesia 2002-2006 is focused on two inter-related sectors, which are good governance and the
sustainable management of Indonesia’s natural resources  especially the forests. The programme of
assistance foreseen includes allocations of funding to reinforce the process of decentralisation and to
consolidate the judicial system within Indonesia, particularly related to management of forests, land rights
and natural resources.

(1) COM(2002) 82 final.

(2003/C 137 E/006) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1427/02

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Treatment of non-denominational organisations and groups in candidate countries

Due to the inferior status accorded to non-denominational citizens and NGOs representing non-
denominational life stances, compared to that of religious people and NGOs in the Czech Republic,
the Slovak Republic and Poland, does the Commission intend to ensure that respect of the rights of these
groups forms part of the agenda during the accession negotiation process of these countries?