1 September 2017
Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea
The 7th Rason International Trade Exhibition – Promoting environment conservation in the Rason Economic and Trade Zone. For the 7th time, the Rason International Trade exhibition took place in Rason, DPR Korea. Domestic and international exhibitors, mostly from China, presented their goods and services to local visitors. Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) Korea took part and hosted a booth to raise awareness for the Sonbong Migratory Bird Reserve within the Rason Economic and Trade Zone, and to introduce the importance of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF). While the Rason Economic and Trade Zone shows some signs of an improvement of the local economy in recent years, the area is also of significance for the environment. In cooperation with the EAAF Partnership Secretariat, an exhibition was created to introduce the nature reserve and to unveil the significance of North Korea as a stopover site for migratory birds to the local audience. For the first time, a video was shown presenting local bird species that were photographed in Rason during four environment surveys that were conducted within the last 2 years in the area.
Migratory Waterbirds rely on wetland habitats across the flyway for breeding, roosting, and feeding. The DPRK has designated a total of 24 protected areas to date. A number of these sites are known to support significant amount of key migratory species of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, making them of international importance for the conservation of Migratory Waterbirds and the habitats they need to survive. It is essential to work together across the flyway to protect the sites that are important to the migration of these birds.
Hanns Seidel Foundation Korea (HSF) specifically supports cooperation and exchanges on the Korean Peninsula. Since North Korea is often isolated from the international community for internal and external reasons, it is difficult to share the concern of environmental issues that need transnational efforts. Hanns Seidel Foundation tries to address this concern by conducting several activities on the Korean Peninsula. HSF Korea has been working in the Rason Economic and Trade Zone since 2009 to raise awareness of environment conservation.
During the last three years, several surveys on biodiversity with international experts have taken place. The surveys re-confirmed both the international concern of the area to waterbirds and marine birds as well as the significance of the area for birdwatching-based on ecotourism, environmental education, and research into bird migration. Thus, at a time of intensely heightened geopolitical tensions with ongoing habitat loss in the region, it is crucial to keep international channels open and to invite talks on green diplomacy. Moreover, clear and realizable alternative sources of income are needed, in order to improve the livelihoods of the local.
You can find out more about the environment surveys in Rason here.
Original article is available on this page.