ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation
ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation (or AFoCo) is a regional cooperation mechanism in the forest sector between member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Based on proposal by the Republic of Korea at ASEAN–Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit in 2009 at Jeju, Korea, and welcoming by all ASEAN Leaders on it, AFoCo was officially established under the "Agreement between the Governments of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Republic of Korea on Forest Cooperation", also known as "AFoCo Agreement" signed at the occasion of the 14th ASEAN-ROK Summit on 18 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia. AFoCo Secretariat is based in Seoul and has been operational since 1 September 2012. AFoCo facilitates forest cooperation between ASEAN Member States and ROK focusing on action-oriented field activities while ensuring synergies and complementation of existing cooperation, regional and international organizations. It also aims to broaden the scope to other Asian countries by providing a platform towards Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO). Following the entry into force of the Agreement on ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation on 5 August 2012, the 1st Session of the Governing Council of the Agreement was held on 28 August 2012 back to back with the Special ASEAN-ROK Ministerial Meeting on Forestry held from 29–30 August 2012 to celebrate the partnership in forest sector and adopted the ministerial statement to build stronger foundation for forest cooperation.
The AFoCo aims to undertake projects and translate sound forest policies and proven technologies into action with a mission to rehabilitate degraded forest land and to prevent deforestation and forest degradation in the context of sustainable forest management as well as under the broader scope of addressing the impact of climate change. A dialogue for the establishment of Asian Forest Cooperation Organization under a multilateral arrangement will be initiated involving the ASEAN Member States, ROK and other prospective countries.
Institutional arrangements is stipulated in the Agreent between ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation.
- Governing Council, represented by a senior official on forestry from each party, is the decision making, coordinating, and implementing body of AFoCo.
- Secretariat based in Seoul assists the Governing Council in the implementation, coordination, monitoring and reporting of activities under AFoCo.
Areas of cooperation
Areas in which members co-operate stipulated in the Agreement include:
- Promoting sustainable forest management
- Addressing deforestation and forest degradation
- Strengthening capacity-building, public awareness, and research and development in forest sector
- Enhancing forest carbon stocks and supporting initiatives
AFoCo projects implement action-oriented[clarification needed] field activities related to rehabilitation and conservation of forest resources, as well as capacity building. The projects are expected[by whom?] to serve as a model in addressing deforestation and land degradation in broader scope of Asia, and output long-term influence through capacity building programs. The projects could be categorized[by whom?] into individual and regional projects. The Individual projects are bilateral programs between each ASEAN Member State and ROK implemented on annual basis, concentrating on policy implementation, forest rehabilitation, and capacity building on community-level aiming to provide the most suitable developmental plan in the country’s forests, improve forest technologies and basic forest restoration abilities. Regional projects are developed at the regional or sub-regional level with several participating countries. These projects are expected[by whom?] to foster close cooperation among participating members and provide a model for future regional forest cooperation. Both individual and regional projects are interconnected as they are developed based on 4 main areas of cooperation: mitigation of climate change effects; conservation of biodiversity and eco-tourism; non-timber forest products development and renewable biomass energy; and human capacity development.
The following regional projects have been underway since the beginning of 2013.
- Reclamation, Rehabilitation and Restoration of Degraded Forest Ecosystems (RRR-DFE) in Mekong Basin Countries
- Reclamation, Rehabilitation and Restoration of Degraded Forest Ecosystems (RRR-DFE) in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore
- Capacity Building on Improving Forest Resources Assessment and Enhancing the Involvement of Local Communities to address the Adverse Impact of Climate Change
The 3rd Session of the Governing Council of AFoCo approved 'AFoCo Landmark Program' as a long-term cooperative project for 10 years (2014-2023).
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