World Forestry Congress kicks off 5-day run in Seoul

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South Korea President Moon Jae-in opened the Fifteenth World Forestry Congress (WFC) whose theme is Forests for building a green, healthy and resilient future with forests on Monday in Coex Centre, Seoul, South Korea.

President Moon pledged that Korea will expand the size of the official development assistance (ODA) budget and technical help to support reforestation in developing countries on the first day of the WFC.

"Korea will actively participate in the international community's efforts to protect and nurture forests based on the experience of achieving reforestation through solidarity and cooperation," Moon said during a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the event held at COEX in southern Seoul.

"We plan to more than double the size of the ODA budget by 2030, and we will expand ODA in the forest sector accordingly. The country will participate in the global forest funding pledge of last year and implement the $60 million donations without any problems."

Korea is regarded as one of the world's biggest success cases in reforestation efforts with a forest cover of 63.5%. It became the host country of the WFC, the world's largest forest-related event that takes place every six years.

The five-day event which is organized by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in conjunction with Korea Forest Service (KFS) brought together representatives from government, international organizations, civil society, youth, indigenous, private sector among others drawn from 144 countries.

Speaking at the same event FAO Director-General Qu Dongyum said forests are key partners for achieving the objectives of the 2030 Agenda including combating desertification, achieving food security and improving livelihoods, as well as the Global Forest Goals, the Paris Agreement, the U.N. Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

"This is an important message to be carried to the important global meetings of the Rio Conventions and other global fora where decisions will be made on the future of the planet and its people, to ensure that forests are an integral part of the solution to current and future challenges."

The meeting was attended by Choi Byeong-am, Minister of the Korea Forest Service (KFS), Princess Basma bint Ali of Jordan among others. The Kenyan delegation was led by Conservation Secretary Mr Alfred Gichu and attended by KEFRI Deputy Director Dr Jane Njuguna, Kenya Forest Service Rose Akombe among others.

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