Call for tenders: Study and Seminar on EU initiatives ensuring EU imported Indonesian palm oil isn't associated with deforestation and human rights abuses

9 April 2019

Call for tenders: Study and Seminar on EU initiatives ensuring EU imported Indonesian palm oil isn't associated with deforestation and human rights abuses

Title of Project

Overview of EU led initiatives that ensure Indonesian palm oil imported into EU is not associated with deforestation and human rights abuses in Indonesia with the aim of informing discussions on a trade based approach for resolving forest governance issues in the palm oil sector, especially where related to exports to the EU.


The EU has taken at least two different approaches to tackle illegality or sustainability in supply chains of forest risk commodities in its trade with Indonesia.

Concerning timber, the EU has developed a deliberative bilateral process to support Indonesia to define timber legality and set up a system to trace legal timber through the supply chain. The EU then allowed only timber certified as legal into the EU. Previously the EU had developed, unilaterally, a tariff system (GSP+) giving preferential tariffs to sustainably produced timber.

Concerning palm oil, as part of the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, the EU is looking at the adoption of a delegated act including a methodology to stop subsidising imports of palm oil based biofuels that drive deforestation. The EU and some of its Member States are also partners in various initiatives aiming to address its forest footprint.

In parallel, Indonesia is also negotiating an FTA with the EU, where neither of these approaches feature.

This project, consisting of a study and a seminar, aims to inform these initiatives by examining what is - and is not - working, and why, to improve forest governance, halt deforestation and improve the livelihoods of communities, providing recommendations.

Aim of the report

The aim of the project is to:

  • Inform policy makers (as well as Fern campaigners, Indonesian NGOs, other interested NGOs, donor community) on the various existing initiatives in Indonesia to tackle deforestation and human rights abuses, how they reinforce and/or contradict each other
  • Draw lessons learned from these initiatives to call for policy coherence and renewed engagement of the EU, through cooperation, dialogue and trade based approaches to support Indonesia to resolve governance issues in the palm oil sector
  • Inform Fern’s long term campaign strategy

To do this, the study will:

  • Carry out an analysis of key development and trade initiatives of forest risk commodities between the EU and Indonesia and their positive and negative impact on forests and forest communities.
  • Analyse whether or to what extent these initiatives have been coherent with each other or whether they have reinforced and/or contradicted each other.
  • Draw lessons learned from these initiatives on how best to support Indonesian NGOs and Indonesian Government to resolve forest governance issues in the palm oil sector.

The seminar will:

  • Bring together people from different NGO campaigns concerning palm oil and timber and Indonesian government and Commission officials to discuss the pros and cons and impacts of the different approaches.
  • Indonesian and European NGOs will discuss both approaches outlined in the background section with representatives of the European Commission, Parliament and Indonesian Government in an open and constructive atmosphere.
  • The meeting could take place back to back with the European Development Days (18-19 June).
  • The outcome of the meeting will be integrated in the study.
  • Detailed Terms of Reference and participants list to be developed by Fern staff and consultant

An 8 page briefing, including policy recommendations will be published based on the research and the outcomes of the meeting.


(Trade, DEVCO, ENVI, EEAS) and Member States representatives of the Amsterdam group and Indonesian Government.  Indonesian NGOs and EU based NGOs and some experts.


  • Agree a detailed outline of the report with Fern
  • Desk study
  • Interviews with key stakeholder
  • Send to academics for peer review and relevant stakeholders before publishing?


April: Interested candidates are invited to submit their application (CV, cover letter and budget) by April the 30th the latest. Seminar costs will be covered by Fern.
May: Signing contracts
June: Agreeing a detailed outline with Fern
June-August: Research: first draft to be submitted to Fern early August. Final draft by end of August
September: Peer review, final report
October: Launch of the briefing and the research

For more information, please contact Perrine Fournier:

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