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Milestone set in forestry cooperation

Experts and government officials hailed the Seoul meeting of forestry ministers from Asia as a milestone in cooperating on forestry in the region.

Forestry ministers from Korea and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation, or ASEAN, congregated in Seoul to participate in the Special Korea-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Forestry, where the Seoul Declaration was adopted last week.

The two-day international conference voiced each nation’s cooperative support for forestry maintenance and investment.
Korea Forest Service Minister Lee Don-koo (seventh from left) joins hands with chief delegates from ASEAN member states at the end of the Special ASEAN-Korea Ministerial Meeting on Forestry in Seoul last week. (KFS)
Korea Forest Service Minister Lee Don-koo (seventh from left) joins hands with chief delegates from ASEAN member states at the end of the Special ASEAN-Korea Ministerial Meeting on Forestry in Seoul last week. (KFS)

Experts said that the global convention has been one of the crucial summit-level conferences specializing in green growth and forestry, raising Korea’s reputation as the presiding member.

Forest ministers of Brunei, Myanmar and Malaysia, high-rank officials of ASEAN secretariat, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and ASEAN forest organizations attended the conference.

The Special ASEAN-Korea Ministerial Meeting held from Aug. 29-30 was aimed at discussing concrete measures of the Korea-ASEAN Forestry Cooperation Agreement. The agreement, which, among other things, calls for the establishment of the Asia Forestry Cooperation Organization, or AFoCO, came into effect Aug. 5.

The participating countries also shared alternatives to promote cooperation on forestation and enhance green growth in Asia, Seoul officials said.

The Korean Forest Service said the global forestry meeting was successful, suggesting that the members could agree on concrete measures to enhance the forestry alliance.

The core idea of the meeting is “the vision of renewable ecology and energy through healthy preservation of forests for future generations, KFS said.

The participants adopted the Seoul Declaration on Forestry, which vows collective action to share advanced Korean expertise in forestry to embrace renewable green energy with a low-emission rate of carbon dioxide.

The members also agreed upon the gradual proliferation of the forestry alliance from ASEAN to the entire Asian territory.

The meeting also commemorated the initiation of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization early this month. AFoCO will be the first international organization specializing in forest issues and technology in Asia.

Korea Forest Service said that ASEAN countries contain about 20 percent of the world’s tropical forest and about 40 percent of the world’s land and marine creatures.

The new cooperative agreement will play a central role in the diplomatic channel through the Asian forest and ecology sector, particularly when international society is calling for collective effort to resolve issues regarding carb-trading permit and proliferation of green technology.

Korea Forest Service vowed to stay fully dedicated to serve as the hub of the global forest assembly.

Korea has been one of the key nations to lead international cooperation on anti-desertification since hosting the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification COP 10 in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, in October, 2011.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)
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