March 2, 2023 — the Forestry Administration of Cambodia and the AFoCO Secretariat gathered online to sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project on the Establishment of ASEAN-Korea Garden in Cambodia (AFoCO/036/2022). The project is an outcome of the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in 2019, where the Republic of Korea (ROK) and ASEAN recognized the importance of establishing an ASEAN-Korea Garden as a symbol of friendship and long-standing cooperation between ASEAN and ROK. Despite the long process it took for the project to take off, it was approved at the 7th Session of the Assembly of AFoCO in November 2022 and will be the first ASEAN-Korea Garden to be established in Cambodia.
The ASEAN-Korea Garden will be established in Siem Reap province near the Korea-Cambodia Recreation Forest. Activities utilising the facilities of both the Recreation Forest and the Garden are expected to contribute to synergies between both sites. ROK has currently established 43 gardens around the world, 23 of which are located in Asia. Although many of these gardens face maintenance difficulties due to differences in local climate conditions, culture, and maintenance methods of each country, hopes are high that the ASEAN-Korea Garden will be managed well beyond the project life through close cooperation with the Forestry Administration of Cambodia and by co-developing a feasible and practical business plan for both the Garden and the Recreation Forest.
At the signing ceremony, Cambodia thanked AFoCO for its efforts and cooperation during the development and finalization of the project, and expressed high hopes that the project will set an excellent example as the first of many to follow in Asia. AFoCO Secretariat also expressed special thanks to the Forestry Administration of Cambodia for their continuous support and cooperation in finalizing the work and budget plan of the project and in facilitating the inception arrangements. The ceremony ended with warm exchanges of thanks, and the Project Inception Meeting (PIM) is scheduled to be conducted at the end of March 2023 in Cambodia.