We are happy to celebrate the second anniversary of our Organization on 27 April 2020. As we appreciate the unwavering support and cooperation of our Parties, the Secretariat is also delighted to know that the respective Governments of Mongolia and Malaysia have already reached an advanced stage of their domestic procedures towards joining AFoCO. Likewise, we are pleased to receive continuous support from the Republic of Korea (ROK) through the Korea Forest Service, especially in making the Operations of the Secretariat possible and in terms of project support. As of the 3rd Session of the Assembly, a total of ten projects have been approved. Seven are in the inception stage, and Implementing Agencies in the respective Member-Countries are about to implement the new projects.
In the past year, we had a very active network in the international arena. We engaged with the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission and Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW) organized by FAO and hosted by the Korea Forest Service, held in Songdo, the Republic of Korea. As a co-stream leader of Stream 1 (“Restoring Our Forests and Landscapes”) along with APFNet and SPC, we had around 20 fruitful events and meetings. With CIFOR and Baekdu Daegan National Arboretum of ROK, we explored niche areas for translating SFM and climate change policies into active initiatives on the ground in our member countries. We had a chance to organize a workshop on land degradation neutrality (LDN) and forest and landscape restoration (FLR) with UNCCD. The collaborative works with ITTO and RECOFTC for the new publication on FLR guidelines and the training module for community forestry were also a few of the unforgettable events. In our hearts, we never forgot the brilliant and wondrous moments of harmony in 2019.
The Ministers and high-level officers responsible for forestry from the 14 member countries of AFoCO gathered and engaged in discourse on innovative local actions on global targets, exploring opportunities, the future of sustainable capacity development with RETC, and scope of AFoCO members. The meeting emphasized the need for joint efforts to promote RETC as a pioneer institute and center of excellence for forestry in the region. To celebrate the establishment of AFoCO, we presented the photobook ‘Glimpses of Our Cooperation 2009-2019’ at this occasion and highlighted our key accomplishments and activities.
The United Nations recognized AFoCO as a new intergovernmental organization with a legally binding multilateral treaty and registered AFoCO into the UN registration system. For seeking a broader resource mobilization opportunity, we applied for the accreditation to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and currently exploring opportunities to be enlisted as an ODA-eligible international organization.
The Secretariat has also benefitted from the bright ideas and inputs which emanated from the AFoCO Round Table Discussions. Relatedly, we would like to report that we have successfully facilitated and completed the Institutional Review of AFoCO. We are on our way of implementing our plan of action on the important and immediate concerns to improve the management of affairs in our Organization.
Sometimes, as a part of our retreat, we enjoy the beautiful nature of Korea and mingled together as much as possible. This picture is from our retreat at Bukak Mountain, one of the highest peaks in Seoul behind Cheongwadae, the President Office of ROK. We welcomed some new family members early this year. Along with our distinguished Fellowship Officials from Bhutan, Cambodia, and Viet Nam, we also welcomed Mr. Orlando A. Panganiban as the Director of the Cooperation and Project Division. He is an old friend who has worked with us since the ASEAN-Korea Forest Cooperation times as the focal official for the Philippines.
We wish everyone good health and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We never walk alone for a better and Greener Asia!”
All the best!
From the Secretariat