2nd Online Meeting between AFoCO and the Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Center successfully held

As a follow-up action of the Agreement on Operational Arrangement (AOA) signed on 12 May 2021, the monthly meeting was arranged between the AFoCO Secretariat and Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Center (KMFCC) on 30 August 2021. The meeting was co-organized by the Secretariat and KMFCC, joined by the National Focal Point (NFP) of Lao PDR. The Secretariat started the meeting with warm greetings and a brief introduction of the participants, followed by a description meeting purpose and the provisional agenda.

The Secretariat briefly updated the Agreement of Operational Arrangement (AOA) signed between the AFoCO Secretariat and the KMFCC, which the KMFCC and NFP of Lao PDR fully agreed and accepted. Updates on the projects that are ongoing and under inception arrangements in Lao PDR were shared through a short presentation from Lao PDR which includes the following: ‘Village-based Forest Rehabilitation in Lao PDR’ (AFoCO/008/2014) and ‘Integrated village-driven forest rehabilitation and livelihood improvement in Viengthong district, Bolikhamxay Province, Lao PDR’ (AFoCO/025/2021).

The NFP of Lao informed the Secretariat and the KMFCC that the ongoing project (AFoCO/008/2014) is in good progress despite the difficulties faced amidst the pandemic and the inception arrangements for AFoCO/025/2021 will be completed in due course. Next, a brief presentation was given by the Secretariat followed by a discussion regarding the projects under regional development: Capacity Building on Enhancing Resilience to Forest Fire and Local Livelihood in CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam) Countries, and other potential projects including Landscape Partnership Asia, AFoCO E-Garden, ASEAN-ROK Garden, and AFoCO Regional Project on NTFP, in which Lao PDR agreed to provide the needed relevant materials for further action and cooperation with the Secretariat.

In the later part of the meeting, the Secretariat, KMFCC, and Lao PDR discussed cooperation activities in 2021-2022 to cope with the COVID-19 situation. Lao PDR informed the Secretariat and the KMFCC that due to the limitations posed by the pandemic, some of their activities that involved travels and in-person meetings were to be replaced via online platforms following the COVID-19 guidelines. While the Secretariat reminded the KMFCC and Lao PDR of the online consultation meeting relative to project implementation in CY 2022 in consideration of the COVID-19 held on 2nd of September to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, the KMFCC also kindly proposed further in-depth communication and cooperation with Lao PDR to mitigate the restrictions caused by the pandemic. Overall, the meeting agreed to finalize the Record of Discussion by circulation and to arrange the 3rd meeting with Myanmar next month as planned.

(Clockwise) Representatives from the Korea Mekong Forest Cooperation Center, the AFoCO Secretariat, and the Department of Forestry of Lao PDR

Submitted by Cha Jiyea, Team Assistant

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