ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture & Forestry
ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) is the highest body which handles the ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry. AMAF is supported by the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM-AMAF). Under the SOM-AMAF several permanent subsidiary bodies (Board, Sectoral Working Group, Committee) are in charge of the respective cooperation sectors. The permanent subsidiary bodies establish task forces, expert and working groups, e.g. the ASEAN Experts Group on International Forest Policy Processes (AEG-IFPP) and the ASEAN Working Group on a Pan-ASEAN Timber Certification Initiative (AWG-C), to undertake planning and implementation of specific activities within a specific time-frame.
ASEAN cooperation in the agricultural sector takes place since 1968, including food production and supply. In 1977, the scope of cooperation was broadened to cover the greater area of agriculture and forestry as the needs have increased. Currently, the specific areas under the ASEAN cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry includes food security, food handling, crops, livestocks, fisheries, agricultural training and extension, agricultural cooperatives, forestry and joint cooperation in agriculture, and forest products promotion scheme.
The basic objective of the ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry is to formulate and implement regional cooperation activities to enhance the international competitiveness of ASEAN’s food, agriculture and forestry products as well as further strengthen the food security arrangement in the region and joint position in international fora. In line with seven priorities, identified by the Ministerial Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry, signed in Bandar Seri Begawan on 28 October 1993, ASEAN developed its Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry for the period of 1999-2004.
ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry
The ASEAN Senior Officials in Forestry (ASOF) are responsible for policy coordination and decision-making in regional cooperation in the forest sector. They are guided by the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF).
Under the ASOF seven experts as well as working groups were established to implement programmes and activities, of which the AEG-IFPP and the AWG-C are of special interest for forest policy:
- ASEAN Experts Group on International Forest Policy Processes (AEG-IFPP). The AEG-IFPP deals with issues such as Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), national forest programmes (nfp), Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG), and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).
- ASEAN Working Group on a Pan-ASEAN Timber Certification Initiative (AWG-C). Understanding forest and timber certification as an important tool for promoting SFM and in view of the increasing demand for SFM certified timber worldwide, the Ad-Hoc Working Group on a Pan-ASEAN Timber Certification Initiative (AWG) was created in 2002 to explore concrete measures for regional cooperation in timber certification between ASEAN Member States.
- ASEAN Experts Group (AEG) on CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
- ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN)
- ASEAN Social Forestry Network (ASFN)
- ASEAN Experts Group (AEG) on Research and Development for Forest Products
- ASEAN Experts Group (AEG) on Herbal and Medical Plants
Currently, the ASOF are in the process of reviewing their mid-term regional strategy which is the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on Forestry (SPA-F) for 2005 – 2010. It serves as the collective framework in implementing joint actions towards the overall goal of SFM. The SPA-F was endorsed by the AMAF in October 2004 in Yangon, Myanmar, as a part of the Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry. The strategy is to be updated in line with the new policy directions provided by the ASEAN Community Blueprints.
ASEAN Regional Knowledge Networks (ARKNs)
The ASEAN Regional Knowledge Networks (ARKNs) on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) and REDD are established based on the decisions of the Eleventh Meeting of the ASOF, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 31 July -1 August 2008, to promote the use of regional knowledge network, among others, to broaden the ASEAN base of knowledge in forestry. The main objective of these Networks is to support ASOF and the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) in decision-making and implementation processes by providing specific policy-oriented and focused research and policy analysis.