– Forest cooperation is expected to be strengthened with increased support and cooperation from AFoCO’s donors –
1. The Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO)*, the establishment of which was led by the Korean government, became an official development assistance (ODA)-eligible international organization with unanimous approval from all OECD DAC** members.
* Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO): Headquartered in Seoul, AFoCO is an international organization that was envisioned at the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit (June 2009) to strengthen Asian countries’ collective response to global forestry issues, such as climate change and forest restoration, and increase forest cooperation in the region.
** Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC): As one of the three major OECD committees, the DAC brings together key ODA donor countries for mutual cooperation, information exchange, and policy coordination. Korea became its 24th member in 2009 (the DAC now has 30 members, including the EU).
2. The Korean government has been working together with the AFoCO Secretariat since June 2020 for AFoCO’s successful acquirement of ODA-eligibility status.
※ With AFoCO becoming an ODA-eligible organization, all the financial contributions of donor countries or agencies to the organization can be reported as ODA every year, which will contribute to enhancing cooperation with donors and other organizations and to securing funding sources.
o The Korean government has been promoting AFoCO’s work to DAC members at the OECD Headquarters in Paris to secure support within the OECD.
o In July 2020, the Korea Forest Service held a briefing on AFoCO’s efforts to obtain ODA-eligibility status to garner support from ambassadors of AFoCO member states to Korea and representatives of international organizations.
3. During the Meeting of WP-STAT* in early March, AFoCO became an ODA-eligible international organization with unanimous consent, enabling contributions to AFoCO to be reported as ODA in whole, and has been officially enlisted on the OECD website on April 27.
* Working Party on Development Finance Statistics (WP-STAT): a DAC working party that makes recommendations to the DAC on issues including measurement and reporting of development finance, ODA eligibility and use of DAC statistics, etc. and makes technical adjustments to ODA statistics guidelines, among others.
o Among the non-UN international organizations based in Korea (94 organizations), AFoCO is the second to become an ODA-eligible international organization. The Global Green Growth Institute was the first, earning its ODA-eligible status in 2013.
4. As an organization dedicated to addressing climate change, AFoCO obtained observer status in the UN General Assembly in December 2020 and became an ODA-eligible organization in 2021, the starting year for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
5. As AFoCO is now included in the list of ODA-eligible international organizations, it aspires to play a pivotal role in enhancing forest cooperation in the Asian region by working together with donor countries and other relevant actors such as the Green Climate Fund, the World Bank Group, and the International Climate Initiative.