The Central African Forest Initiative was launched in New York in September 2015, at the same time as the UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, or the Agenda 2030. CAFI has six central African partner countries: the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. South Korea is now joining in as a CAFI donor, along with Norway, the EU, Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands.
Only a few decades ago, the old-growth forests of Korea were transformed into infertile land, as the forest resources were exploited during the Japanese occupation in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1960, only about 40 % of South Korean territory was covered by forests, and the lack of trees led to an increased risk of landslides, flooding, erosion and loss of huge areas of arable land. In order to restore fertile land and help stop growing poverty, the Korean government introduced substantial initiatives to rehabilitate Korean forests. In 1990, 63 % of South Korea was covered by trees – an incredible contrast to the situation only 30 years before.
The importance of trees and forests, not only in ecological and environmental regards, but to the lives of the people who live in and around them cannot be emphasised enough. The Norwegian government and the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment is therefore pleased to welcome the Republic of Korea as a partner of the great initiative CAFI represents!