Jeju to host conservation conference

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Jeju to host conservation conference

On the island off the southwest coast of Korea, which boasts the Unesco “triple crown” in natural sciences, leaders in government, public and private sectors, United Nations agencies, and civic organizations from 180 countries will gather in less than a month for the world’s largest conservation conference.

Some 10,000 attendees are expected at the 2012 International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress held on Jeju Island from Sept. 6-15 to discuss climate change, biodiversity and nature-based solutions to various issues such as food security and economic development.

The organizers indicated that one of the issues discussed at the congress will be environmental conservation around the Demilitarized Zone, separating the two Koreas.

And the Korean Organization Committee stated it will support one-day registration fees for the general public who want to participate in the IUCN conference.

Lee Hong-koo, chairman of the organizing committee and former prime minister of Korea, said, “I hope that the support of registration fees will help Korean nationals and foreign residents in Korea, who have an interest in environmental issues and a green lifestyle, have a chance to exchange knowledge with global environmental experts at the world’s largest environmental event.”

He added that a variety of events, such as an organic Korean food festival, and performances will be available for the public around the venue “as it is a global environmental festival combined with ecosystem and culture.”

The Switzerland-based IUCN, the largest and oldest global environmental organization established in 1948, is supported by over 1,200 member governmental and non-governmental organizations. It currently holds the congress every four years to discuss prevalent environmental and conservation issues. The first congress was held in Fontainebleau, France, where the IUCN was established.

This is the first time the congress will be held in East Asia, though the congress was held in Bangkok in 2004.

And keeping with its motto of conservation, the IUCN is transmitting all information electronically before, during and after the conference. Organizers will use USB devices and loan 1,500 tablets to participants at no cost.

The venue, the International Convention Center Jeju, will be utilizing LED light bulbs, energy-efficient elevators and have an eco-friendly roof. Fuel-efficient shuttle buses and free bicycles will be provided for commute.

The committee will accept 1,000 applicants for a free one-day pass until Sunday, valued at 60,000 won ($53), to attend events between Sept. 7-11, including the “World Leaders’ Dialogue.”


By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]

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