Naufal Ridhwan, Jakarta – Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan opposed the EU's Anti-Deforestation Law (EUDR), claiming the bill to be discriminatory and a hinder to trade. On its rejection of the bill, Zulkifli Hasan claimed Indonesia has taken several measures, especially through multilateral forums. "We actively voice our concerns and ask for clarification regarding the regulation," said Zulkifli Hasan on Tuesday, August 1, 2023.
In response to the government's opposition to the Anti-Deforestation Law, environmental groups Walhi and Greenpeace voiced their concerns.
Campaigner at Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Uli Arta Siagian believed that the government's position in rejecting the EUDR is ill-advised. "It shows that the government lacks the willingness to improve the palm oil industry management in Indonesia," said Uli when called by Tempo on Sunday, August 6, 2023.
In addition, Uli believed that the government's opposition toward EUDR is contradictory with their commitment to protect the forests to mitigate climate change. According to Uli, EUDR could be a momentum for Indonesia to reform its oil palm industry management, in order to eliminate deforestation and human rights violation in the palm oil supply chain.
Uli said that most palm oil companies in Indonesia acquire their lands by conducting land clearing. This was proven by the Maritime and Investment Coordinating Minister's finding of the 3.3 million hectares of illegal palm oil lands. "This was proof that the monitoring and law enforcement in the palm oil and forestry sectors in Indonesia is weak and in need of improvement," said Uli.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace, the global environmental group, disagrees with the government's claim on the discriminatory nature of EUDR. "The government would not think the EUDR to be discriminatory if it came from the awareness of the importance to combat climate crisis over economic interest," said Head of Forest Campaigner Greenpeace Arie Rompas to Tempo on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.
Arie believed that Indonesia should use EUDR as momentum to rectify the deforestation-inducing commodity. Every country needs to be progressive, abandoning the land-based and extractivism economy. "(The EUDR) could encourage land-use intensification to increase palm oil productivity instead of converting new lands," Arie said in a written message. "Based on the awareness of the imminent global threat of climate crisis, including in Indonesia."