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The ICA Committee on Consumer Cooperation for Asia and the Pacific (ICA-AP Consumer Committee) together with ICA-AP Committee on Youth Cooperation (ICYC) and Committee on Forestry organized the webinar “What we can do for Forest” on 18 May. About 80 people from 13 countries in the Asia and Pacific participated. 


This is the first webinar jointly organised by the Consumer Committee with other sectoral committees. It aimed not only to enhance the collaboration among the committees but also for cooperators to understand the global deforestation issues and think about how we can cooperate to tackle the problems. The webinar invited an expert on forest areas from outside the cooperative sector and four speakers from the cooperative sector to explain their forestation initiatives.


At the opening, Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer, Regional Director, ICA-AP underlined the importance of having this webinar. He mentioned that the world has lost 1/3 of forests compared to 10,000 years ago and half of it happened just in the last century alone. He also pointed out that while the world has seen forestation these days, people should focus on not only the numbers of seedlings to plant but also what type of trees they plant, if they can manage them for a long time and other climate actions. He also spoke about the role that each committee can play in this area.


Ms. Jayco Fung, Head of Market Development of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Asia and Pacific explained briefly the current global forest issues and how FSC has worked on these. According to her, an estimated 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through deforestation since 1990. Currently, 219 million hectares of forests in 81 countries are FSC certified and FSC has worked with different regions, partners, and associations to promote responsible forests. She also talked about the two types of certification systems, Forest Management certification and Chain of Custody (CoC) certification.




Mr. Alireza Banaeifar, International Affairs Manager of Iran Chamber of Cooperatives (ICC) and the Chairperson of ICYC shared experiences from the Go Green Campaign (GGC). He mentioned the importance of youth involvement in cooperative movements and climate actions. Youth is the main player of GGC and they have organized this campaign by themselves to fight against climate change. Under this campaign, 21,000 trees were planted among which 17,000 were in the Asia and Pacific regions. He also highlighted the 3 important elements of GGC which are to create awareness, build the movement, and create green jobs. The toolkits of this Campaign were also introduced.


Dr. Mohd. Azlan Yahya, Vice-President of ANGKASA, Malaysia and the Vice-Chairperson of ICA-AP Consumer Committee talked about Greening Malaysia which is an initiative of the Malaysian government aiming to plant 100 million trees by 2025 to address climate change. As a commitment to support this government’s initiative, ANGKASA came up with “ANGKASA’s CSR COOPCARE” which aims to plant 1 million trees nationwide from 2022 to 2024. Under this program, ANGKASA tries to increase the involvement of communities, agencies and also 2,460 school cooperatives across Malaysia. He showed glimpses of the pre-launching event from March 2022.





Mr. Takashi Kobayakawa, Executive Officer of Merchandise Division in Tokai Co-op Business Federation, Japan presented the consumer co-op’s forestation activities in its production areas with the involvement of staff, members, manufacturers and local people. The cooperative accumulates funds by collecting 1 yen per one item sales of its specific products such as black tigers and mozuku seaweed. It has conducted tree planting in three areas: coral reed planting in Onna Village; Okinawa, tree planting in Notsuke, Hokkaido; and Mangrove planting in Tarakan Island in Indonesia.





Mr. S.P. Singh, Managing Director of IFFDC Ltd., India, and the Vice-Chairperson of the ICA-AP Committee on Forestry shared IFFDC’s initiatives such as afforestation in wastelands, Agro-forestry, Agro-horti system, watershed development, capacity building of community and renewable energy promotion. He said that 152 village-level Primary Farm forestry cooperative Societies (PFFCS) and 1,882 Self Help Groups (SHG) are involved in the forestation in their towns and communities. By involving them, IFFDC encourages not only the natural environment but also the livelihood of communities, and indigenous people, and the empowerment of women.


In the question-and-answer session, a participant from the Republic of Vanuatu said that Vanuatu has been looking for things to stimulate its cooperative movement and this webinar was useful for him. He also mentioned that Vanuatu is prone to natural disasters and has been affected seriously by climate change. He hopes that he would adopt what he learned in the webinar to mitigate climate change.


Mr. Akihiro Yamakoshi, Chairperson of the ICA-AP Consumer Committee and Manager of the International Relations Department of JCCU gave a closing remark and summed up the webinar. He said that reports from the five panellists provided them tips on how to address deforestation and environmental issues and by working together, people of cooperatives can contribute to the international development of the cooperative movement.


The webinar recording can be watched here.