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Asian forest ministries link up to fight climate change

May 7, 2018 - 17:08 By Kim Da-sol
Ministries and government bodies in charge of forest preservation in South Korea and ASEAN member countries have launched an intergovernmental platform to strengthen regional cooperation regarding forests and address the impacts of climate change.

Attendees including Lim Sung-nam, first vice minister of foreign affairs (sixth from left), Kim Jae-hyun, minister of the Korea Forest Service (sixth from right), Park Eun-sik, acting executive director of AFoCO (fifth from right), and Lee Hyuk, secretary-general of the ASEAN-Korea Center (far right), pose at AFoCO’s inauguration ceremony in Seoul on Thursday. (AFoCO)

The new Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) will boost cooperation in the Asian region that is vulnerable to forest degradation and take concerted actions against climate change by sharing technological efforts and policies, officials said at AFoCO’s inauguration ceremony in Seoul on Thursday.

Some 90 officials from South Korea and ASEAN member countries attended, including First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Lim Sung-nam, Minister of Korea Forest Service Kim Jae-hyun, academia and other organizations.

The establishment of AFoCO was first proposed by Korea at the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit in 2009. AFoCO officially entered into force on April 28 this year. The organization also invited other Asian countries, expanding its membership to 14 nations including Korea, Bhutan and Brunei. 

During the six years of preparation, officials involved in the intergovernmental project conducted regional forestry activities and projects related to ecosystems and biodiversity conservation. They also conducted forest resources assessment, the management and distribution of seed sources, the domestication of threatened species in disturbed ecosystems, and capacity building on forest rehabilitation. 

“Taking on the best practices and lessons learned over the years, the entry into force of the AFoCO will open a new phase of forest cooperation in Asia with broader regional scope and specific priority areas. It is also expected to become a practical channel to realize the new southern policy,” said the AFoCO in a statement. 

AFoCO invited beneficiaries of its scholarship program to its inauguration ceremony to celebrate the birth of the organization and form a network of future partners, the organizer said. 

By Kim Da-sol (