Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO)

  • (Purpose of Establishment) The Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) is an intergovernmental organization established to address international forest issues such as climate change response and mitigation, desertification, and to secure a leading position in the forest sector.
  • (History of Establishment)
    In June 2009, during the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit, Korea proposed the establishment of AFoCO (ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation)
    To establish the organization, the "ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation" was formalized in August 2012 and came into effect. “Agreement on the Establishment of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization" was ratified under Treaty No. 2386 on April 27, 2018.
  • 16 Member Countries (14 Parties, 2 Observers)
    * 14 Parties: Republic of Korea, Viet Nam, Timor-Leste, Bhutan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Philippines, Lao PDR, Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan / 2 Observers: Malaysia, Tajikistan
AFoCO's Strategies and Plans
  • At the 1st Session of the Assembly, the 1st Strategic Plan was developed (November 2018, Seoul.
    * AFoCO 1st Strategic Plan (2019-2023): Customized forest restoration and recovery model support for research and development in climate change adaptation introduction of systematic forest disaster management measures improvement of local community' livelihoods, promotion of small-scale enterprise development in rural areas organizational capacity enhancement, diversification of funding and promotion of intra-regional cooperation
  • AFoCO 2nd Strategic Plan (2024-2030) was approved at the 9th Session of the Assembly (October 2023, Seoul).
    * AFoCO 2nd Strategic Plan (2024-2030) : Forest restoration, conservation regional community and bio-circular economy climate and forest disaster management ④ Cross-cutting (policy development, capacity enhancement, technology exchange, knowledge management, etc.)
  • AFoCO Climate Action Plan (2025-2034) was approved at the 9th Session of the Assembly (October 2023, Seoul).
    * AFoCO Climate Action Plan: Restoration of vulnerable ecosystems local community solutions digital innovation
    - It establishes a multi-faceted cooperation framework specialized in climate crisis response and develops the AFoCO Climate Action Plan for resource diversification.

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a UN agency with a mission to address global food and hunger issues and the largest among UN agencies in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries. The FAO has a Forestry Division dedicated to managing international issues related to forests. Member countries, including the Republic of Korea, review the implementation of FAO's forest related programs and discuss issues of international forestry through multilateral meetings such as the Committee on Forestry (COFO) and the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) to explore solutions for these various issues.
    * Official website for FAO Forestry Division: fao.org/forestry/en/
Collaborative Projects Between the Korea Forest Service and FAO
  • ① Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM): Based on the Republic of Korea’s successful reforestation experience, the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM) was launched in 2014 to facilitate restoring degraded landscapes in developing countries and Korea supports the implementation and operations. First initiated by seed money from Korea, FLRM has motivated active participation from the international community and is currently supporting over 20 developing countries, establishing its position as a prominent global initiative for forest restoration.
    * Official FLRM Website: fao.org/in-action/forest-landscape-restoration-mechanism/en
  • ② Assuring the Future of Forests with Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) Mechanism: In response to the exacerbated forest-related disasters such as wildfires, forest pests and diseases, and landslides due to abnormal climate conditions, the Assuring the Future of Forests with Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) mechanism was launched in 2021 to establish and operate a systematic management system for forest disasters in developing countries.

UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) promotes, coordinates, and actualizes UN activities related to the environment, oversees and executes programs adopted at globally significant environmental conferences, and coordinates key environmental tasks between governments and international organizations. UNEP also takes up the role of implementing the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (UNDER, 2021-2030) along with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and operates the UN-REDD Programme in collaboration with FAO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Collaborative Projects Between the Korea Forest Service and UNEP
  • Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems (SAFE): The Sustaining an Abundance of Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Initiative is implemented to support the restoration and conservation of vulnerable forest ecosystems within biodiversity hotspots, which are key ecological areas rich in biodiversity but at risk of disappearing or being destroyed. This initiative was developed as a signature project of the 15th World Forestry Congress and officially launched in 2023. The aim of the SAFE Initiative is to support the restoration of damaged forest ecosystems, development of a monitoring system for forest ecosystems, and the encouragement of local community participation to create healthy forest ecosystems.

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

  • As one of the United Nations' three major environmental agreements, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) headquarters are located in Montreal, Canada. Consisting of 196 member countries, CBD's mission is to conserve biodiversity, ensure the sustainable use of its components, and promote fair and equitable sharing of benefits generated from genetic resources. In 2022, CBD adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which declares to conserve 30% of the world's terrestrial and marine areas by designating them as protected areas.
Collaborative Projects Between the Korea Forest Service and CBD
  • Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI) : Initiated in 2015 under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Forest Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (FERI) has supported developing countries all over the world in conserving and restoring forest ecosystems, held capacity-building workshops by continent, and assisted approximately ten countries in achieving their restoration goals. The initiative is currently recognized as a leading science and technology collaborative program for implementing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
    * Official FERI Website: https://www.cbd-feri.org/

UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

  • The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is one of the three major UN environmental agreements, established to protect the Earth’s environment and prevent desertification through international financial and technical support contributed to degraded lands affected by droughts and desertification. The Republic of Korea continues to actively contribute to international efforts that strive to prevent land degradation and desertification through initiatives such as the Changwon Initiative and the Peace Forest Initiative (PFI), which were launched at the UNCCD Conference of the Parties (COP) held every two years.
Collaborative Projects Between the Korea Forest Service and UNCCD
  • ① Changwon Initiative: The Changwon Initiative supports the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification‘s (UNCCD) activities that build scientific foundations, and adopt and implement the concept of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Initiative also operates projects that restore forests and improve the quality of life for residents in developing countries through the Greening Drylands Partnership (GDP).
  • ② Peace Forest Initiative (PFI): Launched by the Korea Forest Service and ROK’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the UNCCD COP in September 2019, the Peace Forest Initiative (PFI) is a global policy project that ultimately aims to build trust and peace by creating and restoring forests in border areas or multi-ethnic regions, harnessing the non-political, long-term, and public aspects of forests.

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an environmental agreement with the goal of preventing dangerous human interference to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases. Article 5 of the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015 following the Kyoto Protocol, encourages efforts to enhance the role of carbon sinks, including forests, for all members and includes provisions for promoting and supporting the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) activities in developing countries. Negotiations on rules for Article 6, international carbon emission reduction projects, made a breakthrough and was finalized in 2021.

UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)

  • As the official body within the UN system that oversees and addresses issues related to forests, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) currently operates under the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), and convenes once a year. UNFF’s aim is to implement the non-legally binding International Arrangement on Forests (IAF) and adopted the United Nations Strategic Plan on Forests (UNSPF) in 2017 in order to promote the national implementation of the Global Forest Goals (GFGs) established to achieve the UNSPF.

International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)

  • Established in 1986 with headquarters located in Yokohama, Japan, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) aims to promote the sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests and elevate trade and utilization. The ITTO consists of a total of 76 member countries, divided into consumer and producer groups. It seeks to implement the International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA), approves new tropical forest projects, and adopts work plans during its annual Council meetings. Unlike other international organizations that focus on protecting and conserving forests, the ITTO emphasizes sustainable management of natural resources, timber trade, and boosting the industry.
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