Annual Thematic Dialogue

2021 Annual Thematic Dialogue

“Roles of AFoCO in Unleashing the Full Potential of Forests to Meet Paris Climate Goals and Building Back Better and Greener from the COVID-19”

The 2021 session of the Annual Thematic Dialogue was organized on 25 October 2021, in conjunction with the 5th Session of the AFoCO Assembly. Under the theme of “Roles of AFoCO in Unleashing the Full Potential of Forests to Meet Paris Climate Goals and Building Back Better and Greener from the COVID-19”, a total of 82 forest experts, governmental officials, and diplomats from 13 Party members and 2 Observers joined the event and pursued the following objectives:

  • Explore and discuss the potential roles of Asian forests and forest sector in global action on climate change and for a healthy and green recovery from COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Collectively identify and priority actions to be delivered through AFoCO to make Asian forests more responsive to the global call for actions in addressing climate change and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Showcase best practices and future directions of AFoCO to potential partners and prepare the ground for cooperative activities.


Opening  & Introduction

Welcome Remarks
By Mr. Lobzang Dorji, President of the AFoCO Assembly

“AFoCO in the Triple Challenges Facing Asia and the Globe”
By Mr. Ricardo Calderon, Executive Director, AFoCO

Session 1. Roles of AFoCO in unleashing the full potential of forests to meet Paris climate goals and building back better and greener from COVID-19

Inspirational speech 1: “Making Asian forests and trees enhance resilience to climate change”
By Mr. Alexandre Meybeck, Senior Technical Advisor, CGIAR, CIFOR-ICRAF

Inspirational speech 2: “Lessons learned from the impact of COVID-19 on forest – why forests matter in post-COVID-19 recovery”
By Dr. Chandra Silori, Deputy Executive Director, RECOFTC, Thailand

Moderated open discussion By Dr. Park Misun, Associate Professor, Seoul National University

Session 2. Strategic reflections on selective outputs of 2021 Activities

“Assessment of AFoCO Project Impact and Best Practices” By Dr. Jürgen Blaser, Ord. Professor, Bern University of Applied Sciences

“UNFF16 AFoCO-NIFoS Joint Side Event: Improvement on the Global Forest Goals Implementation” By Dr. Lee Yeongjoo, Director, Planning and Budget Division, AFoCO

Moderated open discussion By Mr. Chencho Norbu, Senior Technical Advisor for AFoCO


Moderated open discussion
By Mr. Chencho Norbu, Senior Technical Advisor for AFoCO


Mr. Ricardo L. Calderon is Executive Director of AFoCO. He is a forester by profession who has served in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines for 33 years. He started as a field Forester and most recently as Assistant Secretary for Climate Change and Director of the Biodiversity Management Bureau in concurrent capacity handling programs and policies in protected areas and biodiversity conservation, coastal and marine management, and wildlife resources conservation.

Dr. Park Misun is Assistant Professor of the Graduate School of International Agricultural Technology of Seoul National University. Her research interest includes governance/regime, discourse and communication, policy strategies and instruments, international cooperation in forest management. She works as a Coordinating Lead Author of IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) under the Sustainable Use of Wild Species. She is a Board member from Journal of Forest Research (Springer).

Mr. Alexandre Meybeck is senior technical adviser for the Forest, Trees and Agroforestry research program of the CGIAR, CIFOR-ICRAF. He is the lead author of FAO-FTA co-publications Climate change vulnerability assessment of forests and forest-dependent people – A framework methodology and Addressing forestry and agroforestry in National Adaptation Plans – Supplementary guidelines. He has been a senior advisor to the Assistant Director General of the FAO of the United Nations and also served in the French Ministry of Agriculture as head of the Environment and Rural Areas Unit and head of the Environmental Strategies and Climate Change Unit.

Dr. Chandra Silori is Deputy Executive Director of The Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC), based in Bangkok, Thailand. He has been working in participatory forestry management for more than 25 years, including nearly 12 years in southeast Asia. He supervises seven country programs of RECOFTC in south and southeast Asia. Dr. Silori has also been actively engaged in training and capacity development programs on various aspects of participatory forest management and climate change mitigation and adaptation. He has published more than 70 research articles in peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. He has written many training manuals, guidelines and has co-authored books.

Mr. Chencho Norbu served as the first Executive Director of AFoCO from Jan 2019 through December 2020. Before joining AFoCO, he has served the Royal Government of Bhutan in various high-level positions in agriculture, forestry, and environmental sectors. During his service career with the government, he was one of the active negotiators from Asia and Pacific region, UNCCD in particular. Currently, he is senior technical advisor of AFoCO and a Jury member of Climate Innovation Challenge, Climate Adaptation and Resilience for South Asia Project, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, Bangkok, Thailand.

Dr. Jürgen Blaser is Professor for International Forestry and Climate Change at the Bern University of Applied Sciences, School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Switzerland. He is also the Global Forest Advisor to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Between 2002 and 2011 he was the Environment Division head and Deputy Director General of International Cooperation, the Swiss Organisation for Development and Cooperation. He had been actively involved in international forestry policy processes at the World Bank, ITTO, FAO, and UN. Dr. Blaser has also served on the Boards of CIFOR-ICRAF, Tropenbos and Tropical Forest Foundation, and is currently a Precious Woods Holding board member.

Dr. Lee Yeongjoo Lee is a Director of Planning and Budget Division at the AFoCO Secretariat. He has been working to restore forests and green Asia since 2009. As a researcher, he elaborated to identify conflicts between civil society and government on natural resources management and to find a way for solving it particularly in the field of protected areas management such as national parks and nature reserves.

Mr. Jin Sunpil, joined AFoCO as Vice Executive Director in February 2021. Having led overseas projects by the Korea Forest Service in AFoCO Party countries, Mr. Jin brings close to 25 years of extensive experience and leadership in both international and domestic forestry policy development as well as project planning and implementation. Prior to joining AFoCO, he served as the Director General of the Forest Aviation Headquarters of the Korea Forest Service and was in various senior management positions.


Background Discussion Paper
A background discussion paper was developed and circulated prior to the dialogue session in order for the participants to have more focused discussion. The paper contains thematic background study, presentation summaries, and guiding questions for discussion.

Outcome Report
The key messages and findings of the dialogue session will be compiled into a Dialogue Outcome Report by the year end. This publication will serve as a baseline for our future programming and planning.

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