As a follow-up action of the Agreement on Operational Arrangement (AOA) signed on 12 May 2021, the third monthly meeting was arranged between the AFoCO Secretariat and Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Center (KMFCC) on 27 September 2021. The meeting was co-organized by the Secretariat and KMFCC, joined by the National Focal Point (NFP) and other relevant project personnel from Viet Nam. The Secretariat began the meeting with warm greetings, shared some updates on the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia, Vietnam and South Korea, followed by a brief introduction of the participants and a description of the meeting purpose and the provisional agenda.
The Secretariat briefly updated the Agreement of Operational Arrangement (AOA) signed between AFoCO Secretariat and the KMFCC, which the KMFCC and NFP of Viet Nam fully agreed and accepted. This was followed by updates through a short presentation on four on-going projects in Viet Nam, which includes the following projects:
- ‘Rehabilitation and Development of Mangrove Forest Ecosystem in Thai Binh Province, Viet Nam’ (AFoCO/006/2014);
- ‘Improving Pinus caribaea Morelet for Plantation on Degraded Land in Viet Nam’s Northern Mountainous Region’ (AFoCO/013/2020);
- ‘Research on Forest Enrichment using High Valuable Native Species in Hoa Binh Province, Viet Nam’ (AFoCO/022/2021);
- ‘Conservation and development of forest ecosystems biodiversity resources at Cat Tien National Park’ (AFoCO/024/2021).
The relevant project staffs who attended the meeting informed the Secretariat that most of the activities were in good progress despite the difficulties faced during the recent deteriorating Covid-19 situation in Viet Nam, except for a few activities that involved in-person traveling and meetings. The Viet Nam side also expressed hope that the pandemic situation will improve in the near future so that they can conduct these activities such as site visits and in-person stakeholder meetings which are currently limited.
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 for Asia, AFoCO e-Garden, ASEAN-ROK Garden, and AFoCO Regional Project on NTFP, in which the Viet Nam side agreed to provide the needed relevant materials through internal meetings of their own for further action and cooperation with the Secretariat.
In the later part of the meeting, the Secretariat, KMFCC, and Viet Nam discussed cooperation activities in 2021-2022 to cope with the COVID-19 situation. The project personnel in charge of each project provided brief explanation and updates on the Covid-19 situation and its effect on each project. Most of the projects were not heavily affected, but with slight limitations on some of its activities which they explained that once the restrictions are lifted in October at the earliest, they would be able to conduct the delayed activities related to traveling and in-person meetings in Viet Nam. The meeting ended with a positive note on future prospects regarding Covid-19 in Viet Nam and for the on-going projects and promises for further cooperation and support.
Submitted by Cha Jiyea, Team Assistant