May 03, 2021
AFoCO at the 16th Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF16)
AFoCO attended the 16th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) which was held virtually from 26 to 29 April 2021, with a delegation headed by Executive Director Mr. Ricardo Calderon. This was the first official engagement of AFoCO in international processes under the United Nations since its permanent observer status was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2020. Through its intervention, AFoCO shared the view with other participating state members and partners of the UNFF on destructive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to decades of unremitting efforts towards sustainable development, and jointly noted on key roles of the forest sector to play in building back better and greener. As a formal body, with a clear mandate of promoting sustainable forest management, AFoCO expressed its willingness and desire to bridge the gap between global processes and local actions, particularly in assisting the national implementation of the United Nations strategy for forest 2017-2030 (UNSPF) in AFoCO member parties. Mr. Calderon stressed that AFoCO’s mandate and program portfolio are highly relevant and aligned to the achievement of Global Forest Goals of the UNSPF, which is manifested in its strategic priority areas, 50 ongoing and completed country-specific and regional projects, and various capacity building programs. He further introduced a new transformative partnership platform “Landscape Partnership Asia” which will strive to restore 10 million hectares of drylands and drought-prone areas in southeast, south, east and central Asia by 2032. He stated, “Through the LPA, AFoCO, together with its founding partners CIFOR-ICRAF and the Global EverGreening Alliance, expects to build robust partnerships among governments as well as technical, implementing, funding, and community partners; more efficiently mobilize financial, human and technical resources to achieve transformational change within landscapes; and deploy proven scalable solutions.” AFoCO through a joint side event organized with the National Institute of Forest Sciences (NIFoS) of the Republic of Korea, on 28 April 2021, explored its roles to contribute to the implementation of the UNSPF. Mr. Calderon noted that “the submission of the voluntary national reporting (of the UNFF) is very important to track the progress and achievement of the UNSPF and its contribution to sustainable development goal.” And “we see plenty of needs and opportunities in enhancing the work of the forum in monitoring, assessment, and reporting of the progress on the implementation of the UNSPF. Along this line, we would like to express our willingness to work with and be part of the Forum and the network of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) in enhancing coordination and coherence on forest-related issues at the regional level.” The side event discussed ways to improve the Global Forest Goals (GFGs) implementation, by streamlining forest-related reporting and developing a methodology for measuring performance, inviting country partners (Australia, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand) and the CPF members (UNFF, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)) as speakers and panel discussants. A total of 40 participants joined the 2-hour session, which was held in the form of a webinar.