Korea reaches out to Africa for forest cooperation
KFS signs MOUs with three African nations
The Korea Forest Service is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with Algeria, Benin and Ethiopia, respectively, this week to open the way for bilateral cooperation on forestry.
A delegation led by KFS Vice Minister Kim Nam-gyoon embarked on a week-long trip on Oct. 21 to meet with officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Algeria, the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Urban Planning of Benin and the Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia and sign the MOUs.
The three African nations had expressed their hopes to build forest cooperation with Korea when it hosted the 10th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, in October last year.
Each of the three bilateral MOUs centers on pledges to work together to restore degraded forests and damaged ecosystems in the African nations and effectively cope with international issues in the field of forestry. Under the agreements, Korea will share its knowledge and technology on reforestation, provide personnel training and development opportunities and finance joint research for restoring degraded forests in these developing nations.
Desertification and forest degradation have become pressing issues in Africa. In the southern part of the Sahara Desert, where Algeria is located, precipitation levels have been decreasing rapidly and humid areas shrinking. In Ethiopia, forest area that had covered 40 percent of the national territory until 1960s has fallen to less than 4 percent due to the massive conversion of forests into agriculture and extensive logging.
During his official visit to Ethiopia in July last year, President Lee Myung-bak pledged Korean support for forestation projects in Ethiopia.
“The signing of the MOUs with these three African nations is significant in that Korea is returning to these developing nations the technology and financial support it had received from developed nations when restoring degraded forests” following the 1950-53 Korean War, Kim said. “We will take the initiative in solving the African nations’ desertification and land degradation problems and diffusing green growth in the region.”