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The Asian region is laden with vast mangrove forests and mountains, home to various species. However, with globalization and technological development, these valuable resources are exploited without any foreshadowing of the future it will lead to. The Republic of Korea(ROK) has ambitious visions to promote and endorse sustainable development in the Asian region. The ROK’s experience of forest restoration and rehabilitation from the 1970s to1980s, which has been noted as a model for global sustainability, is expected to contribute in regional efforts toward sustainable development.

In view of sharing Korea’s experiences and technologies with other countries in the forest sector, ROK proposed the establishment of Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) at the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in June 2009.

14th ASEAN-ROK Summit (November 2011, Bali) Signing of AFoCo Agreement by respective Ministers of Foreign Affairs of ASEAN Member States and ROK

Following the proposal, 5 sessions of working group meetings were held from 2009 to 2011 between ASEAN and ROK forestry officials, a process that has eventually led to the finalization of the “Agreement between Association of South East Asian Nations and The Republic or Korea on Forest Cooperation”. The Agreement was signed at the 14th ASEAN-ROK Summit held in Bali, Indonesia and entered into force on 5 August 2012. The AFoCo Secretariat was installed in Seoul, ROK, in accordance with the Agreement.

The ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation (AFoCo) was initiated as the first step towards the establishment of the AFoCO and provided the platform for AFoCO through the Dialogue for the Establishment of Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (Dialogue-AFoCO). After 6 meetings of Dialogue-AFoCO, the Agreement on the Establishment of AFoCO was adopted in September 2015.