On 3rd December 2021 the Seocheon County hosted a workshop, organized by Eco-Horizon Institute to commemorate the inscription of Seocheon Getbol (tidal flat) and identify strategic conservation and management measures following the World Natural Heritage inscription. Participants included the World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flats, EAAFP Secretariat, National Institute of Ecology (NIE), National Institute of Biological Resources (NIBR), local citizen representatives and more. The workshop focused to highlight the importance to establish a systematic management system to conserve and wisely use the tidal flat, recognized for their Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) as a stopover site for endangered migratory birds and biodiversity conservation.
The workshop was moderated by Mr. Myung-ho, Deputy Director of Eco Horizon Institute. First welcomed by Mr. Noh Park-rae, head of Seocheon County, he highlighted that the role of the administrative authority is to strengthen consensus with stakeholders and to secure sustainable conservation with the organizations and experts. He expressed his greatest gratitude and appreciation to the efforts made by the key players, with support from the Cultural Heritage Administration and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The first session started with key presentations to understand the geological characteristics, value of migratory waterbird habitat, and the National Marine Ecosystem Monitoring along Seocheon Getbol. First, Professor Jeon Seung-soo from Chonnam National University and the writer for the Phase I application form, proposed the need to accumulate storytelling data to understand how Seocheon Getbol has been created, and suggested improvement directions for habitat conservation. Such as complementing the aesthetic function of coastal breakwater and ensuring the conservation of migratory waterbirds resting area.
Next, Dr. Lee Hu-seung from Korea Environment Institute of the Ministry of Environment shared the value for migratory birds’ habitat of Seocheon Getbol. He highlighted the main tasks for Seocheon is to improve the value of natural resources through conservation and restoration of natural parks and its ecosystems, expand green infrastructure to improve the urban environment and to secure the stability of ecosystem disturbance and wildlife habitat management. He concluded by stressing the importance of inter-ministerial cooperation to ensure balance between economic development and environmental conservation.
Third, Dr. Kim Young-nam from Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM) of the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries (MOF) shared the National Marine Ecosystem Monitoring program which includes extensive surveys and policy support. He shared plans of a draft of a Marine Ecological Grading System under ‘the Act on the Sustainable Management and Restoration of Tidal Flats (Getbol) and Adjacent Areas’ including a Getbol Ecological Evaluation Index. This management plan, released in 2022, will support relevant monitoring works for inscribed World Heritage Sites (WHS). Dr. Kim concluded by stressing the need to regularly report every 6 years to the UNESCO Centre to engage local communities.
The second session was a panel discussion. Mr. Kim Eok-Su, Chairman of the Geumgang estuary ecological restoration steering committee, shared civil society organizations conservation and monitoring measures for Seocheon Getbol. He proposed to strengthen cooperation measures with NIE, NIBR and Seocheon County, and establish a foundation to sustain education and train residents for future green job development. He also highlighted that management measures of the site should integrate with Geum River Estuary as a holistic approach.
Dr. Ki-Young Ok, Senior Researcher of NIE, shared conservation research and the hydrological and ecological characteristics of Geum River Estuary and Seocheon Getbol, crucial for site management. Mr. Hong Seong-min, Secretary General of Seocheon County Sustainable Development Council, shared cooperation work with public and private companies. Each corporate will manage one “Banryeo-Beach” volunteer-based coastal clean-up program to involve locals’ engagement in conserving the wetland.
Dr. Moon Kyong-O, Secretary General of the World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flats, proposed the next step after the World Heritage inscription is to strengthen cooperation with the Seocheon County, by sending Seocheon County officers to Promotion Team, as well as forming an organization dedicated to managing the WHS. He mentioned an amendment of a management ordinance to systemize conservation measures for Seocheon Getbol is needed. Dr. Kim Joo-hee, Senior Researcher of NIBR of the Ministry of Environment, shared that an essential step for maritime policy is reflecting the Eco-Region strategy to conserve and utilize the Asian regions’ Getbol-coastal-sea through an international network. She stressed the importance of taking an ecosystem approach, including people and culture within the entire system of the ecosystem.Ms. Do Hyeseon, Programme Officer of EAAFP Secretariat, shared the perspective of international cooperation for WHS management. She raised the need for a potential international advisory team, and to brand Seocheon County as a World Natural Heritage city aligned with Seocheon’s Brownfield Green New Deal project, reflecting the nature and historical and cultural characteristics. Ms. Do further highlighted the importance of a joint international network to benchmark excellent case studies, strengthening more exchange opportunities across Sister Sites or cities with the international community. She emphasized that Seocheon county should strengthen more active participation and contribution to international and domestic monitoring and research for the restoration of international endangered species e.g., Spoon-billed Sandpiper (SBS), Far Eastern Curlew, further encouraging to join the SBS alliance.
Mr. Myung-ho, Deputy Director of Eco Horizon Institute, concluded the session highlighting to utilize the advantages Seocheon County carries, especially by securing a communication channel including all stakeholders at the local government level to the experts, citizens, fisherman etc., engaging this network to decide important decisions from minor to significant.
Ramsar Gochang Getbol Center
Before the workshop, EAAFP Secretariat visited Ramsar Gochang Getbol Center and the Gochang WHS. Mr. Jung Young-jin, head of the center, greeted us sharing the aspects of the site and center. The center focuses to conserve and manage the WHS, hence promotes and educates visitors on the value and characteristics of the getbol. Mr. Jung shared educational materials handcrafted by the staff, displayed in the exhibition room. The materials are localized, utilizing ingredients from the getbol to ensure visitors well understand the strong and diverse biodiversity, cultural and geological characteristic Gochang Getbol holds.
Gochang Getbol is recognized for its excellent conservation value, including various tidal flats such as mud getbol, sand getbol, and mixed getbol. It also includes halophytes, and endangered waterfowls. Following the World Heritage inscription in July, Gochang Getbol was included for the Phase 1 inscription. Hence, Gochang County will arrange a workshop to discuss future measures for conservation and management plans.
Replay the Seocheon Getbol World Heritage workshop (in Korean)
5th National Environmental Comprehensive Plan [2020-2040], Ministry of Environment (Korean)
2020-2021 Winter Waterbird Census of Korea, National institute of Biological Resources (Korean)
Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) portal (Korean)