Minister of Korea Forest Service
Republic of Korea
Forests are integral to our lives, providing economic, environmental and social benefits.
Forests make vital contributions to both people and the planet providing clean air and water, conserving biodiversity, responding to climate change and supporting livelihoods.
The recognition of such wide ranging contributions of forests to the society drives the strategies of the Korea Forest Service towards sustainable forest management. Through our concerted efforts, we have achieved very positive results in reversing deforestation and degradation to restore lush forests to our country. Moreover, we take serious effort in making forests a place for people to visit to improve their health and wellbeing. We are proud to know that many countries in the Asia-Pacific region draw inspiration from our experiences.
On behalf of our team, it is our pleasure and honor to host the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW) 2019 and the 28th Session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC). We are pleased to showcase our experience, landscapes and forests, and to provide an opportunity for our participants to commune with nature.
APFW 2019 will provide an opportunity for a broad range of participants from the government, academia, private sector and civil society to share knowledge and experience to promote the use of forests for peace and well-being.
We look forward to welcoming you to Incheon.
Assistant Director-General of the Forestry Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
I am delighted to welcome you all to the Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW) 2019 including the 28th Session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission. The Week will emphasize the value of forests in building peace and improving wellbeing – topics that are more relevant than ever given the current global challenges we face.
The event will take place as the world passes through a crucial juncture with unabated carbon emissions, continuing degradation of natural resources, trade wars, looming economic downturn, growing hunger, etc. With this background, the international community has been exploring avenues for greater collaboration to achieve common progress. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development challenges national and international agencies and organizations to work actively to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The recent IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming laid out stark imperatives to intensify our efforts to address climate change. The “Ministerial Katowice Declaration on Forests for the Climate” issued at the twenty-fourth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) pledges to accelerate actions to ensure that the global contribution of forests to the achievement of the Paris Agreement is maintained and further supported. In these challenging times, we all have important roles to play in mainstreaming forests and forestry and their pivotal roles in tackling the most critical global issues.
FAO is grateful to the Republic of Korea for graciously hosting APFW 2019. The country’s landscapes, history and experience will provide a rich backdrop that will help make the Week fruitful and productive. In particular, the country’s highly successful efforts in reforestation provide an excellent exemplar to enrich our discussions.
I am personally delighted to see the great enthusiasm and interest from a wide range of stakeholders coming together to organize and contribute to APFW 2019 reflecting the nature of the event in encompassing a broad diversity of issues and perspectives.
With a vast array of parallel events, the Week promises to provide a rich experience and a great opportunity to enhance collaboration to work harmoniously in charting the course towards a more sustainable world in 2030 and beyond.
Thank you very much and I look forward to seeing you in Incheon.
Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City
Forests offer many gifts to humanity. They absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. That is why the world’s large forests have been
dubbed the "Lungs of the Earth". Forests not only purify air and water but also reduce damage caused by floods and droughts.
They provide us with various forest products including timber and non-wood forest products while enriching our lives through the pleasure
of camping and forest bathing.
However, conversion of forest to other land uses and unsustainable forest management practices are resulting in the reduction of forest
area on the planet. Thus, now is the right time to promote the sustainable management of our forests and expand green spaces.
International cooperation can be helpful to pool our wisdom for making the world a place where nature and people live in harmony.
With its vision of “Forests in the City, the City in Forests”, the Republic of Korea is firmly committed to building green and sustainable cities.
Our government strives to address challenges associated with rapid urban development by providing beautiful, livable and greener urban
areas for the people. In line with the Seoul Action Plan for the Development of Urban Forestry in the Asia-Pacific Region, which was adopted
at the Second Asia-Pacific Urban Forestry Meeting organized in Seoul, the Republic of Korea in September 2017, the Metropolitan City of
Incheon directs investments to and emphasizes the importance of urban forests to achieve the vision of accessible forests and healthier
The Asia-Pacific Forestry Week (APFW) 2019 is a worthy venue to share our knowledge and experience on forestry related efforts among
countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. It is an honor for Incheon to host such an important event.
I hope that this occasion will remind us of the significance of our forests once again. Moreover, I hope we will be able to find some brilliant
solutions to our pressing environmental issues, to protect biological diversity, mitigate the effects of climate change, and work towards
global peace and well-being.
I will be looking forward to meeting you in our green city, Incheon. Thank you.