The 5th IUCN Asia Regional Conservation Forum Commences in Incheon, Republic of Korea

IUCN lays the foundation for the World Conservation Congress with the 5th Asia Regional Conservation Forum (RCF) in Incheon, Republic of Korea

Julia Marton-Lefèvre formally opening the 5th Asia Regional Conservation Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea Photo: IUCN

The importance of membership at IUCN, green growth and a need to look at nature as the basis of technology were the key messages that emerged from the opening day of the 5th Asia Regional Conservation Forum (RCF) that commenced at Incheon, Republic of Korea (RoK) on September 27, 2011. About 400 members from various countries and commissions along with IUCN councillors are participating in this event to discuss the Draft Framework Programme of IUCN for 2013-2016 over the next three years.

Formally opening the event, Ms Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN said, “Our vision is a just world that values nature.” Reiterating the importance of Members to realise this vision, she said, “We are a big and complicated organisation and we need you (the Members) to make sure IUCN works well.” She added that the draft framework programme - a shared vision between the secretariat and IUCN members to improve governance based on IUCN’s democratic principles - would be presented during RCF for deliberations building up to the World Conservation Congress (WCC) to be held at the island Jeju, RoK, in 2012.

Other key speakers also addressed the opening ceremony. Hongkoo Lee, the Chairman of the Korean Organising Committee (KOC) for the 2012 said that Korea has created a new paradigm in environmental protection and conservation through restoration projects, such as the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), which can be seen as a symbol of peace and environmental preservation. He emphasised the importance of sharing these experiences with other countries.

Calling upon the Asian countries to come together as stewards of nature, Mr Keun-Min Woo, the Governor of Jeju said that Asia has much potential to set precedents in environmental conservation. Noting the post-tsunami nuclear crisis in Japan, Mr Young-Gil Song, Mayor of Incheon stressed the importance of rethinking energy and its use. He hoped that RoK would host the 2020 Asian Games and that the city would ensure an eco-friendly implementation by utilising solar energy and electric cars.

Speaking on the Green Growth principles of RoK, Dr Soogil Young, Chairman of Presidential Committee on Green Growth said, “The main [principle] in Korea’s Green Growth study is that we can do it. Society’s commitment creates demand for conservation, which has the potential to become a growth engine, and create new jobs.”

Pledging commitment to conservation with the international community and IUCN, Prof Youngbae Suh, Chair of the IUCN National Committee of Members, RoK, said that constant support of international society and experts had been a key in enabling the country to address its environmental concerns constructively.

 Along with plenary sessions on the Draft Framework Programmes, the event also brings in a multitude of side events from Members showcasing their efforts in conservation. 

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