Malaysia-Indonesia task force to promote understanding of EU deforestation regulations


A worker harvests fruit at an oil palm plantation. – Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 5): The world’s largest palm oil producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, have agreed to set up an ad hoc joint task force (JTF) to establish dialogue and relevant workstreams to build mutual understanding on the implementation of the European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and its core aspects, including benchmarking

This follows their recent joint mission to Brussels in May, with the first meeting yesterday (Aug 4) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The meeting was co-chaired by Indonesia’s Food and Agribusiness Deputy Minister Dr Musdhalifah Machmud, the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs (CMEA), Malaysia’s Plantation and Commodities Ministry (MPC) secretary-general Datuk Mad Zaidi Mohd Karli and the European Commission Green Diplomacy and Multilateralism director Astrid Schomaker.

The Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries (CPOPC) facilitated the meeting attended by the representatives and stakeholders of relevant commodities subject to the EUDR.

The co-chairs will seek common interests between producing and consuming countries with the JTF platform as a consultative mechanism to support coordination and promote mutual understanding between Indonesia, Malaysia and the European Union.

The ad hoc JTF aims to address concerns raised by Indonesia and Malaysia pertaining to the EUDR implementation and to identify practical solutions and approaches, a joint statement by both governments, CPOPC and the EU said.

Musdhalifah said an understanding was reached and Mad Zaidi stressed that cooperation is the way forward and solutions can be inspired by best practices across sectors.

Schomaker acknowledged the progress made by Indonesia and Malaysia on reducing deforestation, welcomed the sharing of information and further clarification of the regulation.

The JTF will work on issues like smallholders in the supply chain, national certification schemes (land legality and cut-off date for deforestation), producer to end-consumer traceability, scientific data on deforestation and forest degradation, and data protection.

The JTF concludes its work by end-2024 with a possible extension and the next meeting is tentatively scheduled at end-November 2023 with the host country to be announced later. — Bernama