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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

Soon after ROK’s proposal for the establishment of AFoCO, the “Agreement between the Governments of the Member State of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Republic of Korea on Forest Cooperation” which is also known as the ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation was signed in 2011 as the initial phase of AFoCO. Under this cooperation mechanism, various regional forestry activities and projects were implemented.

At the same time, the dialogue for the establishment of AFoCO was formed where the Agreement on the Establishment of AFoCO was finalized and adopted in September 2015.

The ASEAN-ROK Forest Cooperation successfully completed its effective period by 4 August 2016 and the transition phase towards AFoCO began. The AFoCO duly entered into force on 27 April 2018 and held the First Session of the Assembly on 13 November 2018.

The 1st Session of the Assembly (13 November 2018, Seoul)
Group photo of the Representatives of the Parties and delegates from the Observer countries