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Wetlands of the World, Finding the Future in Korean Tidal Flats

Date. 2022-04-25
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- On April 22, Celebrating World Wetlands Day at the Beolgyo Ecological Park in Boseong -




On April 22, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF; Minister MOON, Seong-Hyeok) will jointly host the 2022 World Wetlands Day celebration event with the Ministry of Environment at the Beolgyo Ecological Park in Boseong, Jeonnam to promote the value and importance of wetlands, habitats for diverse living organisms and sources of carbon sinks.


Wetlands are largely classified into coastal wetlands made up of tidal flats and inland wetlands that consist of lakes and swamps. The tidal flats, the prevalent form of coastal wetlands, provide various benefits to mankind, including playing a key role in purifying the pollutants that flow into the oceans, yielding a variety of seafood such as clams and octopus, and mitigating the damage caused by earthquakes and tsunamis. According to research, the ecosystem services provided by Korean tidal flats, which includes the provision of aquatic products and leisure space, have an economic value that exceeds KRW 17 trillion per year. In addition, tidal flats are also well-known for the absorption of 490,000 tons of carbon dioxide per annum, which roughly equates to the carbon dioxide emissions produced by 200 thousand cars each year.


In recognition of the need to promote the values and importance of the tidal flats, the international community has designated the ‘World Wetlands Day’ to commemorate the Ramsar Convention*, a promise made by the world to protect wetlands. Given that February is still in the depths of the winter season in Korea, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment have been taking turns each year since 2002 to hold the celebration event around April or May.


This year’s event will be held under the theme ‘Wetlands of the World, Finding the Future in Korean Tidal Flats,’ also celebrating the addition of Korean tidal flats on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Korean tidal flats, spanning Boseong, Suncheon, Gochang, Seocheon, and Shinan regions, were listed as World Natural Heritage sites last July in recognition of their outstanding biodiversity and value* as the staging area for major seabirds around the world.


Minister MOON, Seong-Hyeok of Oceans and Fisheries plans to highlight the various functions and values offered by tidal waves in his commemorative speech. In addition, he will also emphasize our obligations to systematically conserve, manage, and hand over to future generations the World Natural Heritage that has been carefully protected by local residents. Moreover, the youth representative of Boseong-gun will be reading a Youth Declaration, which aims to ‘preserve and protect the tidal flats as heritage for future generations, and pledge their commitment to the preservation of tidal flats and the marine ecosystem.


Aside from the commemorative event, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries plans to continue the tidal flat conservation activities by designating the Wetlands Week to conduct coastal purification activities led by Regionals Offices of Oceans and Fisheries and provide support for future programs that will be rolled out by local wetland protection jurisdictions, including migratory bird watching in spring, education on ecology, and world heritage exhibitions. Furthermore, content on the Ramsar Convention, World Wetlands Day, and World Natural Heritage will be posted on the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries online platform, with online events to pledge commitment to wetland protection (Apr. 11 ~ 24)*. The Ministry will be donating eco-friendly products to the Green Umbrella Children Foundation when the number of participants reach 200, which will be given away during the 100th anniversary Children’s Day event hosted by the foundation. When the number of participants exceeds 200, the Ministry will continue to engage in additional donation activities.


Director General Yoon Hyun-soo, Head of the Marine Environment Policy Bureau at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, pointed out that Korea plans to “expand and enhance tidal flat vegetation and restoration projects for the recovery and sustainable use of the tidal flat ecosystem, while actively promoting the revitalization of eco-tourism that leverages on the value of tidal flats.” He also asked for “continued interest and participation from the public in the ceremony event to remind ourselves once more of the value and importance of the tidal flats, which are invaluable heritage that we will leave behind for future generations.”