In celebration of the Suncheon Bay Getbol tidal flat, World Heritage nomination, a webinar was hosted by the Suncheon City on 31 August 2021. The webinar seek for effective conservation and sustainable efforts under the topic of “30-year history of Suncheon Bay conservation history, bloomed as a World Heritage flower (30년 순천만 보전 역사, 세계유산 꽃으로 피어나다).” Different stakeholders were invited for collaborative engagement among Suncheon citizens, international organizations, and academia experts to celebrate, share and innovate the future of Suncheon Bay together.
Mr. Doug Watkins, the Chief Executive of EAAFP Secretariat, gave congratulatory remarks at Opening Ceremony for the Webinar. He applauded on the continuous efforts Suncheon City has demonstrated and affirmed that Suncheon Bay will “undoubtedly set a sound model for the development of the Phase II nomination by the Republic of Korea.” Moreover, following the inscription he recognized “it will create more opportunities for international collaboration…to further secure globally important and biodiversity-rich wetland ecosystems.”
Ms. Hyeseon Do, the Programme Officer of EAAFP Secretariat, keynote speech highlighted the importance of securing the habitat of our migratory waterbirds through the World Heritage nomination. She shared the impressive story of Bar-tailed Godwit’s great journey, migrating non-stop for at least 8-days without food and water to fuel up and rest over at the Yellow Sea. Ms. Do stressed the importance to connect with nature to internalize and understand the beauty and benefits tidal flats provides for us, as it not only vitalizes the local economy and ecotourism, but also stores carbon to mitigate climate change and sustains our traditional culture citizens have built around our tidal flats.
The webinar was structured in three sessions, first session recalled the 30-year history of Suncheon Bay conservation, second session drew on Suncheon’s future as a UNESCO city, and the last session discussed on the future management of Suncheon Bay following its World Heritage nomination. The first session affirmed the next step to expand wetland protected areas due to the Korean tidal flats World Heritage nomination as it will be the leading global standard for wetland conservation. The session also highlighted the need for systematic and integrated management plan, research capacity and policy expertise.
In the second session, Professor Ryu Jong-Sung, Anyang University, shared European Wadden Sea heritage management case study supported by an organization dedicated to managing global natural heritage. Moreover, he acknowledged that at least one center functioning as an exhibition hall should be placed in each of the five-tidal flats along the southwest coast. Dr. Park Sang-Woo, Korea Maritime and Fisheries Development Institute, highlighted several points regarding Suncheon’s future strategic plan as an ecological city; transitioning from on-site to off-site including not only the World Nature Heritage zone but also the eco-industry and eco art and culture zone, promoting gradual transition from administrative to citizen led wetland, initiating the value of world nature heritage brand, and focusing on blue new deal to recognize the value of Suncheon wetland.
The webinar concluded with a general discussion focused on Suncheon Bay Getbol conservation and management. The panelists included Mr. Kim Hak-Soo the director of Suncheon Bay Ecotourism council, Ms. Kim Hyun-Joo the director of Woori Village education research centre, Ms. Huh Kyung-hee the secretary-general of Suncheon Sustainable Development council, Mr. Kim Mahn-Seok the president of Suncheon Bay fishing village council, and Mr. Kim Il-Joong the CEO of Breworks. The discussion covered on broad topics from heritage tourism, environmental education, governance, local residents and heritage brands. Most importantly to achieve and enhance effective conservation for Suncheon Bay inscribed as a World Natural Heritage, among the five sectors collaborative partnership in strengthening connectivity is essential.
ROK Flyway Network Site link: https://www.eaaflyway.net/rok/