December 6, 2021 – 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 6 December 2021. The meeting was co-organized by the Secretariat and KMFCC, joined by the Implementing Agencies (IA) of projects currently on-going in Myanmar. The Secretariat began the meeting with warm greetings, shared some updates on the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia, Myanmar and South Korea, followed by a brief introduction of the participants and a description of the meeting purpose and the provisional agenda set forth for this meeting.
The Secretariat briefly updated the Agreement of Operational Arrangement (AOA) signed between AFoCO Secretariat and the KMFCC, which the KMFCC and Myanmar side fully agreed and accepted. Myanmar also expressed appreciation of the AOA, especially in supporting the on-going project in Myanmar. This was followed by updates through a short presentation on two (02) on-going projects in Myanmar regarding the details of on-going progress of activities, which includes the following projects:
(1) Integrated Pest and Disease Management in Teak Plantations in Bago Regions, Myanmar (AFoCO/014/2020)
(2) Model Forest for Livelihood Improvement of Forest Dependent Communities through Development of Community-based Enterprise and Forest Conservation (AFoCO/015/2021)
The IAs of each project informed the Secretariat and the KMFCC that the project has had good progress, despite current challenges, as they both provided updates on each project activity and its progress. However, when KMFCC asked about the remaining challenges in conducting project activities, they expressed concerns and difficulty over conducting field activities in-person due to COVID-19 induced travel restrictions within Myanmar and the prolonged delay in project fund execution. They also expressed hope that with the Secretariat’s visit to Myanmar soon, they will be able to resolve the existing challenges regarding project fund execution and have better progress in the near future. On the bright side, IAs also informed the meeting that currently, the new variant of COVID-19 is yet to spread, which will hopefully continue in the future as well.
The meeting ended with a positive note on future prospects regarding Covid-19 situation in Cambodia where KMFCC is located, and with Myanmar regarding resolving the remaining challenges for the two on-going projects and promises for further cooperation and support between the KMFCC, Myanmar and the Secretariat.
Submitted by Cha Jiyea, Team Assistant