Following the 3rd Session of the Assembly, AFoCO organized the AFoCO Ministerial Meeting on 30 October 2019 in Seoul, Korea. Ministers and high-level officers responsible for forestry from the 14 member countries of AFoCO engaged in discourses on innovative local actions on global targets, exploring opportunities, the future of sustainable capacity development with the AFoCO Regional Education and Training Center (RETC) in Myanmar, and the way forward for AFoCO Membership.
The Meeting voiced hope that AFoCO will build on the progress made thus far and continue playing an active role in the forestry sector. The Meeting appreciated the leadership of ASEAN Members States and the Republic of Korea in initiating the establishment of AFoCO, a regional platform to strengthen forest cooperation. In achieving the regional and global goals set to address environmental and development challenges, it was recognized that all members of AFoCO have put great efforts towards developing innovative approaches in sustainable forest management and forest-based climate change mitigation and adaptation. Noting the important role of AFoCO’s capacity building initiatives in the fulfillment of the national goals and priorities of member countries, the Meeting emphasized the need for joint efforts to promote the RETC as a pioneer institute and center of excellence for forestry in the region. The Meeting reaffirmed that strengthened partnership cooperation among Asian countries is essential in achieving sustainable forest management at the regional level.
The publication entitled ‘Glimpses of the Our Cooperation 2009-2019’ was also presented at this occasion to celebrate the establishment of AFoCO and highlight its key accomplishments and activities.
“The organization has come a long way since its establishment was first proposed at the 2009 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit. Our new publication, ‘Glimpses of the Our Cooperation 2009-2019’, highlights cooperative projects with member countries as well as our capacity development initiatives and scholarship program,” said Mr. Chencho Norbu, Executive Director of AFoCO.
“Practical and meaningful outcomes have transpired from these programs and projects, and I believe that through AFoCO, our member countries can forge closer ties to help the region’s forestry sector reach its full potential,” he added.
A project launching ceremony was held as part of the AFoCO Ministerial Meeting to celebrate the launch of six new AFoCO projects ready for inception in the coming year. These new projects will be implemented in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Philippines, and Viet Nam. Projects targeted at improving local livelihoods and incomes in Bhutan, Kazakhstan, and Timor-Leste were also proposed at the Meeting.
Prior to its entry into force in April 2018, the organization has convened ministerial-level meetings in the Republic of Korea in 2012 and 2014 and has helped drive forest-related cooperation between ASEAN Member States and the Republic of Korea. In the coming years, AFoCO is expected to
play a pivotal role in leading collaborative partnerships in the forestry sectors of Central Asian and Northeast Asian countries.