Bhutan joins AFoCO Agree­ment

Bhutan Times - - Home - Sonam Dorji

The Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Forests & vice Chair of the Na­tional En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sion, Yeshey Dorji signed the agree­ment on Asian Forestry Co­op­er­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion (AFoCO) on 13 Septem­ber 2016 in Seoul, Repub­lic of Korea (ROK).

The AFoCO Agree­ment was adopted in Septem­ber 2015 and is housed at the ASEAN ROK For­est Co­op­er­a­tion Sec­re­tariat, Seoul. Though the Asian Re­gion is laden with vast for­est re­sources and home to vast species of flora and fauna, the glob­al­i­sa­tion and tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ment is be­com­ing an in­creas­ing threat to these nat­u­ral re­sources and species. The ROK has taken a daunt­ing step to pro­mote and en­dorse a sus­tain­able devel­op­ment in the Asian re­gion through AFoCO.

The sign­ing cer­e­mony took place in a mod­est for­mal cer­e­mony at the of­fice com­plex of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, Seoul. The Bhutanese del­e­ga­tion was led by the Min­is­ter with rep­re­senta- tives from the Min­istry while the Korean del­e­ga­tion was led by Mr. Yong Ha Kim, Deputy Min­is­ter, Korea Forestry Ser­vices with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs, ROK and Asian Forestry Co­op­er­a­tion (AFoCO) Sec­re­tariat. Mr. William Lee, Chair­man of Korea-Bhutan Friend­ship As­so­ci­a­tion was also present.

At the sign­ing cer­e­mony, Ly­onpo Yeshey Dorji ex­tended the greet­ings and well wishes of His Majesty The King and the peo­ple of Bhutan. He ex­pressed his deep ap­pre­ci­a­tion to Korean Gov­ern­ment for the ini­tia­tive and also host­ing the AFoCO Sec­re­tariat. He pointed out that the rich ex­pe­ri­ences and tech­ni­cal sound­ness of the ROK in for­est restora­tion, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and man­age­ment would def­i­nitely serve as a model for global sus­tain­abil­ity of the nat­u­ral re­sources. Ly­onpo said that the sign­ing of the AFoCO Agree­ment was an­other mile­stone in the his­tory of Kore­aBhutan re­la­tion­ship where the ties would also cover the scope be­yond forestry such as trade, ed­u­ca­tion and more.

Ly­onpo men­tioned that while Bhutan is also a cham­pion in its con­ser­va­tion ef­forts, it is no ex­cep­tion to the vul­ner­a­bil­ity to the ef­fects of cli­mate change. He in­formed the gath­er­ing that Bhutan’s con­sti­tu­tion man­dates to main­tain 60% of her land un­der for­est cover for all times to come and as of now Bhutan’s emis­sions stand at 1/3rdof the sink ca­pac­ity of her for­est, which cov­ers more than 72% of the coun­try. He shared Bhutan’s pledge to strengthen the ex­ist­ing pro­tected area sys­tem and re­for­est her en­vi­ron­ment even fur­ther. He cited the ge­nius world record plan­ta­tion as an ex­am­ple of Bhutan’s com­mit­ment in con­ser­va­tion ef­forts where one hun­dred vol­un­teers planted 49,672 num­bers of tree sapling in one hour last sum­mer in Thim­phu.

Ly­onpo also in­formed on Bhutan for Life Ini­tia­tive which is aimed at en­sur­ing fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity for Bhutan’s Pro­tected Area sys­tem and Bi­o­log­i­cal Cor­ri­dors in per­pe­tu­ity.

Be­sides, Ly­onpo shared cer­tain dif­fi­cul­ties of Bhutan in con­trol of the for­est fires es­pe­cially dur­ing the dry sea­sons due to its harsh ter­rain, lack of ad­e­quate re­sources and ex­per­tise to con­tend them. He pointed out the new col­lab­o­ra­tion would help Bhutan over­come her dif­fi­cul­ties.

He con­grat­u­lated and thanked the Gov­ern­ment of Repub­lic of Korea for host­ing the AFoCO and invit­ing Bhutan to join the same.

Photo cour­tesy: AFoCO Sec­re­tariat, ROK

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