Pyeongchang to host UN biodiversity conference

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Pyeongchang to host UN biodiversity conference

A three-week United Nations biodiversity conference with 20,000 attendees from 193 countries will be hosted next year in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The 12th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity will be held between Sept. 29 and Oct. 19, 2014, said the Ministry of Environment Tuesday.

Pyeongchang was chosen by a selection committee over other candidate cities including Changwon, capital of South Gyeongsang, and Seogwipo on Jeju Island.

The Environment Ministry said that the committee in its final evaluation chose Pyeongchang “taking into consideration lodging, conference location and transportation, along with conditions such as the support of the local government, security and capacity, international influence and local participation.”

Korea was designated as the next host of the meeting at the 11th conference held in October last year in Hyderabad, India.

An environment official said next year’s conference is especially significant “because it marks the first meeting of the parties to the Nagoya Protocol.”

The Nagoya Protocol, which aims for member states to share the benefits of utilization of genetic resources and technologies in a fair and equitable way, was adopted in the 10th conference held in October 2010 in Japan.

The international treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity, was signed in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro with the objective of conserving and sustaining biodiversity. October 2014 marks 20 years since Korea became a party to the convention.

Kim Sang-pyo, chief of Gangwon’s education office, said at a press briefing yesterday that the 2014 biodiversity conference can provide an opportunity to establish another National Institute of Biological Resources and encourage an R&D cluster in the Gangwon region.

“This is a great achievement of the province following the selection of Pyeonchang as the location of the Winter Olympics and the designation of the East Sea economic free zone,” Kim added.

By Sarah Kim []

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