ASEAN-ROK forest agreement to take effect on Aug.
ASEAN-ROK forest agreement to take effect on Aug. 5
The Republic of Korea and six ASEAN member states are set to put into effect a regional forestry agreement, laying the legal foundation for the prospective establishment of the Asian Forestry Cooperation Organization (AFoCO).
The Agreement between the Governments of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Republic of Korea on Forest Cooperation will enter into force on Aug. 5, serving as a platform to facilitate dialogue towards the launch of the AFoCO in Seoul in the coming years.
The six ASEAN member states in which the Agreement takes effect on Aug. 5 are Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The four other ASEAN member states Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines are expected to join upon the completion of their ongoing domestic procedures. The Korea Forest Service, which initiated the Agreement, expects the scope of cooperation on forestry will expand to other countries in Asia when actual projects kick off.
“We expect the Agreement will be an efficient vehicle for the regional efforts to increase cooperation in forestry,” Lee Don-koo, the Minister of the Korea Forest Service, said. “The AFoCO, when it is launched as the first intergovernmental organization dedicated to forestry cooperation in Asia, will build a bridge between developing and developed nations over their differences on climate change.”
The Korean government took the initiative in creating the AFoCO as part of its global commitment to low-carbon green growth. President Lee Myung-bak proposed the idea during the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in Jeju Island, the Republic of Korea in June 2009, and after a series of high-level dialogues, the Agreement on Forestry Cooperation was signed on the sidelines of the 14th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Bali, Indonesia in November 2011, which gave official approval to the launching of the AFoCO.
A Seoul-based Secretariat and a Governing Council will begin their operations to implement the Agreement simultaneously with its validation. The Governing Council will meet for the first time in Seoul in late August to appoint the Executive Director of the Secretariat. Until the appointment, a high-level official from the Korea Forest Service will serve as acting executive director.
The Agreement will be commemorated by the Special ASEAN-ROK Ministerial Meeting on Forestry set for Aug. 30 in Seoul. In the meeting, the forestry ministers in the region are expected to share their commitments to promote forestry cooperation and discuss ways to enhance green growth in Asia.