ASEAN Regional Knowledge Network on Forests and Climate Change (FCC)
Deforestation is by far the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emission in developing countries. According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Nature Organization (WNO), land conversion and deforestation in developing countries emits around 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon annually – the fourth highest cause of global emissions.
In respond to forests and climate change issues, the ASEAN Leaders at their 13th Summit held on November 2007 in Singapore signed the “ASEAN Declaration on Environmental Sustainability” which calls, among others, to work closely with the international community to better understand and the adverse impacts of climate change, including the related issues of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sinks in particular.
The ASEAN Leaders agreed “to collectively work towards achieving an aspirational goal of significantly increasing the cumulative forest cover in the ASEAN region by at least 10 million hectares by 2020″, as well as to develop an ASEAN Climate Change Initiative.The Thirteenth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-13 of UNFCCC), held in Bali in December 2007, adopted the Bali Action Plan which identifies reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) in developing countries as a key focus for any future climate agenda. In regard to the newly concept on REDD, the Third ASOF Policy Roundtable on East-Asia Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (EA-FLEG) held in Chiang Rai, Thailand from 6-7 March 2008 had agreed to task the ASEAN Experts Group on International Forest Policy Processes (AEG-IFPP) to develop project proposals on REDD and prepare ASEAN input for REDD processes, including sustainable forest management (SFM) options under the UNFCCC. The Meeting also suggested AEG-IFPP to monitor the regional activities related to REDD and update the developments of REDD mechanisms to the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF) on a regular basis.
Based on the 11th Meeting of the ASEAN Senior Officials on Forestry (ASOF), it was agreed that ASEAN should promote the use of regional knowledge networks to broaden the ASEAN base of knowledge on forestry. It was then agreed that one of the major issue the regional knowledge networks should focus on is the issue of forests and climate change. Thus, the ASEAN Regional Knowledge Network (ARKN) on Forests and Climate Change was initiated and held their Inaugural Workshop on 30-31 October 2008.
The ARKN on Forests and Climate Change is a venue for ASEAN Member States to share their knowledge and experiences and identify experts and research institutions specialized in the issues of forests and climate change such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) in Developing Countries and Afforestation/Reforestation Clean Development Mechanism (A/R CDM). The scientific basis gathered in the network is pertinent to support ASEAN’s decision-making process through policy analysis and strengthen ASEAN’s role in climate change negotiations.
The ARKN on Forests and Climate Change works by firstly identifying research agendas, conducting knowledge sharing exercises, and implementing the researches and capacity building for the stakeholders in ASEAN. The ARKN on Forests and Climate Change is also open for cooperation with the Network’s Partners, such as international research institutions or donor countries’ initiatives to further develop their activities. It is in the Network’s best interests that science and policy go in harmony to find the solutions the world needs to combat climate change and its impacts.