Forestry heads of Korea, Mekong region celebrate 5 years, plan for future

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Forestry heads of Korea, Mekong region celebrate 5 years, plan for future

Hang Suntra, deputy director-general of Forestry Administration of Cambodia, left, and Gong Yong-ho, head of the Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Center, center, attend the ninth Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Committee meeting, held virtually, on Thursday. [KOREA FOREST SERVICE]

Hang Suntra, deputy director-general of Forestry Administration of Cambodia, left, and Gong Yong-ho, head of the Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Center, center, attend the ninth Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Committee meeting, held virtually, on Thursday. [KOREA FOREST SERVICE]

 
The Korea Forest Service and forest authorities of the Mekong region met on Thursday to commemorate their last five years of reforestation efforts in the region and to identify emerging areas for cooperation to fight climate change in the years to come.
 
“After two years of suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic, we will now have to learn to live with Covid-19 and promote active exchanges between countries while strengthening forest cooperation projects that have been delayed,” said Park Eun-sik, head of the international forestry cooperation at the Korea Forest Service, in opening the meeting on Thursday.
 
The ninth Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Committee meeting, which was held virtually, was joined by some 30 representatives of forestry authorities in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. It was held to review five years of their multilateral efforts since the establishment of the Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Center in Cambodia in 2016, and to determine next year’s projects on reforestation and sustainable forest management. The committee has been meeting regularly since 2017.
 
From 2018 to 2020, the center worked on a pilot project to develop a forest park in Siem Reap, Cambodia, developed a community-based approach to forest management for the residents of Vang Vieng, Laos, worked with a group of farmers in Myanmar to teach them forest-friendly agricultural practices and carried out a study at Vietnam’s YokDon National Park on biodiversity and the effects on climate change.
 
Projects scheduled through 2023 include a study on best planting techniques for Pterocarpus macrocarpus, a type of wood species native to Southeast Asia and widely found in the Central Highlands of Vietnam that can provide timbers at a relatively lower costs compared to other options, and promoting community-based eco-tourism and sustainable bamboo production in Cambodia.
 
Hang Suntra, deputy director-general of Forestry Administration of Cambodia, said the forestry authorities of Cambodia look forward to cooperating with Korea and the partners in the Mekong region to promote climate action in the region, as well as to take part in Korea's New Southern policy, according to the Korea Forest Service.
 
The Korea-Mekong Forest Cooperation Center is also planning to hold several meetings at the World Forestry Congress in Seoul from May 2 to 6 next year, including the 10th meeting of the Korea-Mekong forest cooperation committee.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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