Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK), 4 June 2018 – DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu signed the Agreement on the Establishment of the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO), signifying the Philippines’ participation and support to strengthening regional forestry cooperation in Asia.
The AFoCO Agreement is a multilateral agreement between and among prospective member countries in Asia. At its core is to foster forestry collaboration among member states by implementing effective technologies and policies towards sustainable forest management to address climate change.
With the establishment of the Organization, programs with similar issues on biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, forest disaster risk reduction and capacity building, among others will be developed and promoted.
Secretary Cimatu acknowledged these pressing issues and expressed the commitment of the Philippines to address these concerns through its participation in the AFoCO.
“The imminent membership of the Philippines to the AFoCO seals our participation and commitment for stronger regional cooperation towards sustainable management of forests across Asia,” the Secretary said.
As a member country of AFoCO, the Philippines is entitled to opportunities for funding of forestry projects, participation in capacity building and training, knowledge exchange through regional and international workshops, and cross-country visits.
To date, the Philippines is the 11th country to sign the Agreement, joining ROK, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Bhutan, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Lao PDR. The Agreement has entered into force since April 27, 2018 upon the depository of instruments of ratification of ROK, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Bhutan, and Myanmar.
With the official membership of the Philippines expected to take into effect immediately, the country will be joining other member states in the first AFoCO Assembly Meeting in ROK come November 2018.
Prior to inking the AFoCO Agreement, the Philippines was among the ASEAN Member States that participated in the ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation “AFoCo” (small “o” as opposed to the current “AFoCO”, which has big “O”). (AFoCO/ Paolo G. Balderia)