ASEAN Member States Agreed on Progressive Initiatives at the 23rd ASEAN Working Group on Forest Products Development (AWG-FPD) Indonesia | 08/10/2020
The 23rd ASEAN Working Group on Forest Products Development (AWG-FPD) meeting was held on 6th October 2020 resulted on various progressive initiatives and updates related to the forest products development at the Southeast Asian level. The meeting was performed virtually lead by Thailand as chair person and Vietnam as vice chair.
The meeting was also attended by ASEAN Secretariat, EU-FLEGT representative and all delegation of ASEAN Member States (AMS), except Singapore. The agenda that has been discussed at this meeting covered the progress in the implementation of policy framework related to ASEAN cooperation in forestry; update on cooperation in timber certification initiative, herbal medicinal plants and forest products development including plan of action for ASEAN cooperation for 2021-2025.
During this meeting each AMS was also given the opportunity to submit their initiatives or proposals in forest products development. Indonesia and Malaysia have proposed fast growing teak study and wood properties testing using Near Infra Red Spectroscopy (NIRS) method, respectively. Meeting agreed and support the ideas as cooperation joint research activities. However, the implementation and funding mechanisms still require further discussion.
Dr Ratih Damayanti, as Indonesia's representative, conveyed that teak is a plant that is widely planted in Southeast Asia and has received international attention. However, the long cultivation of teak is the most driving factor to implement the study of young fast growing teak related to the continuous supply of teak timber in wood industries.
Other progressive initiatives are concerning the adoption or modification of ISO standards and the exchange of information on the latest ISO and IEC standards for harmonization. This initiative is important to increase the bargaining value of ASEAN forest products, especially for wooden-based products. The meeting also discussed the initiation of Malaysia to make a list of scientists and expertise on forest products development at the ASEAN level as source of reference. This initiation is also related to the proposal regarding on capacity building activities through training and integrated research.
Optimizing the utilization of ASEAN Regional Knowledge Networking on Forest Products Development (ARKN-FPD) website as a medium of information and knowledge sharing is also encouraged in the meeting. The active participation of all AMS is expected to build a stronger and more profitable network between AMS in the regional and global levels.
Various initiatives and progressive updates are expected to be generated at the next meeting which is planned to be held in Vietnam in 2021.