Bali, Indonesia, 18 November 2011

An agreement between ASEAN Member States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Forestry Cooperation (AFoCo) was concluded today at the signing ceremony during the 14th ASEAN-ROK Summit in Bali, Indonesia.

“ASEAN is home to 20% of the world’s plant and animal species over its 213 million hectares of forests, directly or indirectly providing a range of economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits to the ASEAN peoples”, said Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN.

“The AFoCo Agreement is a continue effort of ASEAN in ensuring sustainable forest management through enhancing forest laws and enforcement, sustainable forest product development and utilisation, wildlife conservation and livelihoods of forest communities and indigenous people. This is certainly our contribution to global efforts in ensuring “forests for the people” being the theme of the International Year of Forest 2011″, said H.E. Mr Zulkifli Hasan, Indonesia’s Forestry Minister.

“The forestry cooperation is a continued collaborative partnership, following the successful ASEAN-ROK Environmental Cooperation Project (AKECOP) entitled “Restoration of Degraded Forest Ecosystems in Southeast Asian Tropical Regions”, said H.E. Dr Lee Don Koo, the Minister of Korea Forest Service.

“AFoCo is a flagship initiative developed in response to the ROK’s vision on “Low Carbon Green Growth” and its global commitment in addressing the impact of climate change announced by the President of ROK during the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit held in Jeju Island in June 2009″, he added.

This two-year cooperation agreement aims at enhancing capacity of ASEAN Member States in tackling issues facing the region to ensure contribution of the forestry sector to sustainable development, attaining the Millennium Development Goals, and the ASEAN community building.

“The forestry sector is a very important sector in contributing to national socio-economic development and minimising impacts of climate changes, particularly extreme climate events like floods and droughts. We are thankful to the Korean government for their continued support and cooperation”, Dr Surin concluded.