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WCC officially opens with hope for the futurePresident Lee Myung Bak gives Keynote speech
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승인 2012.09.07  19:37:34
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In the wake of three years of preparation, on Thursday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. the world’s largest and most influential environmental congress, the World Conservation Congress (WCC), officially kicked off with its Opening Ceremony in the Tamna Hall of the International Convention Center (ICC) Jeju, Seogwipo City.

The 10-day Congress began with a special fusion performance of traditional Korean music that utilized a sole leaf as an instrument, accompanied by guitars, piano, hand drums, and a haegum (traditional Korean gourd instrument) to play Arirang and other well-known compositions.

Following, IUCN President Ashok Khosla to the stage to officially being the 2012 WCC Jeju.

In front of roughly 4,000 people, including South Korea President Lee Myung Bak, he commended Korea for not only its rapid development since the Korean War, but for its efforts to simultaneously make “major commitments to regenerating its natural resource base.”

“IUCN is a remarkable institution,” said Khosla. “It not only has a brain but also arms and legs — and a heart.” Its advice is respected by world leaders and conservation practitioners alike, because it is based on field evidence, operational experience, rigorous analysis and a highly active conscience.”

He continued that there needs to a new ethic concerning nature conservation that looks to both the survival of the environment and the wellbeing of humans.

“And above all we have to regain humanity’s basic reverence for life,” he said.

Khosla then began extolling the conservation accomplishments of President Lee citing Time Magazine’s 2007 reference to him as “Here of the Environment,” and his 2008 declaration of low carbon green growth as a core to the nation’s future.

“Mr. President,” Khosla said “in your esteemed presence it is now my pleasure to open the congress,” before inviting Lee onto the stage to awarded him with an IUCN plaque of appreciation.

The President Lee gave his Keynote speech that extolled of how far Korea has come economically and in environment conservation.

“Just 60 years ago, the entire land of the Republic of Korea was devastated because Koreans traditionally cut trees for firewood,” he said, continuing that much of Korea was de-forested, but “the bare hills turned into green mountains in the span of just one generation.”

He even made reference to his controversial Four Major Rivers Restoration Project stating that it is a way to adapt to climate change and will play “a significant role in overcoming recurring floods and droughts.”

President Lee ended his eight-minute speech by saying “As the famous adage goes, ‘Nature always wins in the end.'” Ultimately, nature is mightier and greater than any other thing. The key to solving critical issues facing humanity is to strive to help raise nature’s resilience and to seek harmonious coexistence with Mother Nature.”

Next to the podium was Korea Organizing Committee President Lee Hong Koo who started with the reminding the audience that the WCC is for interested people to come together to collect “the concerns, ideas, and resolve of the citizens of the world for the conservation of nature which will determine the fate of our global community.”

He explained that this is “a momentous juncture in history” due to the state of our world environmentally and economically that this WCC “could provide a special momentum … our common endeavor for conservation of nature and protection of environment.”

The final speaker of the Opening Ceremony was Jeju Governor Woo Keun Min who gave his thanks to the President for coming to this event, which Woo called the “Environmental Olympics.”

“I believe the slogan of the Congress, Nature + has a significant meaning for us and ‘+’ six meanings including positive, more, better, added value, together, inseparable, urgent.
In particular I would like to pay attention on the meaning of urgent,” he said, in that there is no time to hesitate when it comes to conserving the environment.

The environmental problems the world currently faces, he said, is not caused by anything other than a lack of action by the people, by nation states, and by the entire world.

“And I hope we can find the solutions through the Congress over the next 10 days,” he said.

The Opening Ceremony came to an end with a performance that depicted human suffrage due to the destruction of nature, only to understand the cause of their plight and to change their ways.

Following the completion of the ceremony the roughly 4,000 attendees then went on a 30-minute walk through Jungmun to the Yeonigi Botanical Garden for a dinner reception.

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