With only a year remaining until Jeju hosts the 2012 World Conservation Congress (WCC), improvements to the event are being finalized and the Korea Organizing Committee is preparing its proposals. These will be submitted during the WCC next year, for discussion by members and possible international implementation should they be passed.
Held every four years, the Congress is the world’s largest environmental forum.
During the Jeju Women Leaders Discussion with Julia Marton-Lefevre, at the Sareuhni Forest on Sept. 24, Korea Organizing Committee Secretary General Kim Chong Chun spoke with The Weekly about recent changes to the congress and outlined some of the proposals Korea plans to submit to the assembly during the WCC. The Discussion was one of two events to be held (the other this week) which highlighted the upcoming WCC.
After months of speculation by the media, and debate within the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Kim said “The [WCC’s] theme has been decided; Nature Plus.”
He said that climate change, green economy, poverty, sustainable energy, and education are “priority areas for the IUCN,” with nature being “central to solving all of these pressing environmental issues.” For this reason, Kim said, Nature Plus was chosen as the theme.
In conjunction with Nature Plus, Kim said that “Resilience of Nature,” will act as the congress’s slogan, saying that nature’s resilience is linked to, and needed to achieve sustainable development and that the global economy is dependant on nature’s ability to repair itself.
Along with finalization of the congress’s theme, two important additions to the WCC have also been decided. For past congresses, the WCC has been comprised of two sections; a forum (a market place of ideas open to the public) and the members’ assembly, an environmental legislation meeting. An April 23 article in The Weekly mentioned there had been ongoing talks within the IUCN of finding a way to integrate concepts discussed during the forum into the members’ assembly, where they would then be discussed by environmental experts. Now, Kim said, this has been finalized, and that the 2012 WCC Jeju will also be a first for a new session entitled The World Leaders Dialog.
Though specifics are still being hammered out, Kim said that The World Leaders Dialog will occur between the forum and the members’ assembly.
“We are going to invite former and incumbent heads of states [and] high profile celebrities ... to participate in one of The World Leader Dialog sessions. By having interactive sessions with those renowned figures we will pinpoint some insights and results which will be good for ... new directions and new conservation agendas.”
The purpose of The World Leader Dialog sessions is to have experts and heads of state debate a range of ideas over the best options concerning important environmental issues.
With much of the WCC organized, Kim said that he is currently busy deciding on and assembling proposals that Korea will submit during the congress. These will then be discussed and voted on during the members’ assembly and, if approved, will become projects pursued with international support.
“We have one year to go. What we need to do is put everything on the table so we can select the most appropriate topics to be discussed at the congress,” he said. Kim added that many of the issues currently being prepared are important not only for Korea but for the international community.
“For example, the Demilitarized Zone -- that is a symbol of conflict between [the] two Koreas, but that … has been preserved without human interference over the last 60 years. It has a very high value as a natural heritage in terms of the natural environment. Maybe we can raise that issue to the congress. They can discuss about how to make sustainable use of it, how can we [conserve] that area. Not only for the Korean people but also for the international community.”
Another issue that Korea may raise at the congress was Yellow Dust, a phenomenon that sees dusts and pollutants blown from the deserts of Mongolia across Asia and at times even reaches the US. “Many countries will be involved with dealing with that issue,” and may wish to weigh in and find a solution said Kim.
Along with IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefevre’s visit, the IUCN’s four-day Regional Conservation Forum will began today in Inchon. Kim said that many high profile IUCN members, including Lefevre will be in attendance along with 500 to 700 other attendees. “We think it is a miniature version of next year’s congress” said Kim, adding that the 2012 WCC Jeju will probably dominate discussion.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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