October 27, 2022, Almaty, Kazakhstan —the third MoU for the AFoCO regional project entitled: Improved Local Community Livelihoods through Increased Income from Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP): Modeling Scalable Community-based Enterprises in Asia (AFoCO/035/2022) was signed between the AFoCO Secretariat and the Republican State Enterprise on the Right of Economic Management “Zhasyl Aimak”, Forest and Wildlife Committee, Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The regional project will see 13 member countries cooperating to enhance livelihoods and promote sustainable forest management through the development of community-based NTFP enterprise models (CBNE) and capacity development activities. Kazakhstan was the third country to sign the MoU to implement the project in an online signing ceremony.
From Kazakhstan, Mr. Nurpeisov Madi Nauanovich, Head of the Department of Forest Management of the Forestry and Wildlife Committee, and Mr. Ramazanov Mukhit Madeshovich, General Manager of the Republican State Enterprise on the Right of Economic Management “Zhasyl Aimak”, the Implementing Agency, and Mr. Niyaz Zholbarys Arystanuly, Country Project Manager and specialist of the Forestry and Wildlife Committee attended the signing ceremony. In congratulatory remarks, AFoCO Executive Director, Mr. Ricardo Calderon, emphasized that the regional project is the first-ever inclusive project of AFoCO, involving all member countries in on-site and capacity enhancement activities. Likewise, the cooperation of Kazakhstan in the current baselining activities of the project is expected to set the direction on the priority NTFP commodity that each country will promote.
The AFoCO Secretariat anticipates the successful implementation of this project, as Kazakhstan has already proven its capabilities in the current AFoCO project. The signatories also looked forward to the regional projects’ first workshop slated to take place in January 2023. The MoU signing ceremony will be preceded by the Project Inception Meeting (PIM) and the 1st Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting to kickstart the implementation of the project in due course officially.