KOICA interviews AFoCO vice executive director

AFoCO signed a memorandum of understanding with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in May 2022. KOICA recently interviewed AFoCO’s Vice Executive Director, Mr. Jin Sunpil, about the organization’s ongoing projects and future plans.

In his interview, Mr. Jin highlighted AFoCO’s vision and mission, which is aligned with the first goal of the UN Global Forests Target is to increase forest area by 3%. He emphsized that forest restoration is AFoCO’s top priority. In particular, AFoCO focuses on restoring forests in degarded areas, including those that have been damaged by forest fires. Aside from fulfilling restoration objectives, AFoCO’s work programme also aims to support local livelihoods and enhancing the capacitieis of government and members of local communities to implement sustainable forestry management practices. Overall, AFoCO’s projects are focused on creating sustainable and resilient forest ecosystems and self-sustaining rural communities.

KOICA has been collaborating with various domestic and international partners in the field of climate change to expand the scale of ODA projects and create synergies. AFoCO has a strong advantage in executing verified forestry sector technologies and policies for sustainable forest management and climate change response in the field. Through the AFoCO-KOICA cooperation, AFoCO will build on its expereinces in dealing with with forestry issues comprehensively while contributing to global and regional objectives. As an international organization, AFoCO’s will tap on its networks with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), among others, to increase AFoCO-KOICA participation in related international events. Mr. Jin also anticipates that AFoCO’s development plans, such as expanding private sector cooperation, blended financing, and voluntary access to carbon markets, will contribute to KOICA’s future strategy implementation and achieving the Republic of Korea’s carbon neutrality goals.

AFoCO’s regional projects, which involve countries with similar conditions and interests collaborating to achieve common objectives through a project, were also mentioned in the interview. For example, in the “GIS/RS-based Community Forest Management” project, which was carried out for five years from 2015, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand each implemented the project in their own countries while sharing cases and seeking solutions to tackle issues faced in all countries. One of AFoCO’s latest endeavor — a regional project aiming to establish an integrated forest fire management system with Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam — is slated to begin in 2023, and will be developed as a cooperative project that takes in consideration the unique characteristics of each country as well as the topographic similarities in Mekong region countries.

In conclusion, Mr. Jin briefly mentioned AFoCO’s plans for 2023. AFoCO will actively promote forest restoration with a focus on priority areas such as Southeast Asian mangroves, Central Asian arid zones, and rehabiliting areas damaged by forest fires. AFoCO also intends to undertake more forest carbon projects and seek ways to increase private sector investment. Another highly anticipated initiative is the regional project on NTFP (Non-Timber Forest Products) development, where all member countries will be participating in. The project will be implemented in conjunction with local communities and member countries will jointly conduct a situational analyses of each country’s institutional conditions and market demand.

Read the full interview article (in Korean) HERE.

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