Gyeonggi to work with ESP to preserve DMZ

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Gyeonggi to work with ESP to preserve DMZ

The Gyeonggi Provincial Government announced on Thursday that it would strengthen cooperation with the Ecosystems Services Partnership (ESP), an internationally renowned environmental organization, in an effort to preserve the ecosystem of the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).

The Gyeonggi government said that it will conclude a memorandum of understanding with ESP on Sept. 23 with regard to hosting the Asian branch of ESP in Gyeonggi, joining the DMZ Global Trust and registering the DMZ with the International Reserves listing. The DMZ is an unarmed land strip at the inter-Korean border.

The ESP is a non-government international research-focused network specializing in ecosystem conservation. Founded in the Netherlands in 2008 with the goal of spreading ecological awareness, the organization has promoted the benefit of environmental conservation and its ideas have been used in countries with policies regarding combining economic development and environmental conservation. The ESP now operates in over 90 countries with approximately 2,200 member activists worldwide.

The Gyeonggi government announced plans to place the ESP Asian office in the DMZ eco-tourism support center in Paju. The provincial government negotiated with ESP in June in regards to hosting the ESP Asian office in Paju, Gyeonggi.

The provincial government hopes cooperation with the Asian ESP office can help form ecosystem conservation policies, as well as help push for the progress of international projects.

The Gyeonggi government and ESP announced plans to start a ‘DMZ Global Trust’. By utilizing the ‘National Trust’ idea and applying it to the DMZ, the plan is to receive donations from citizens in efforts to conserve and research invaluable natural and cultural assets. The provincial government selected Daeseong-dong, Chopyeong Island and the DMZ Panmunjom as likely candidates.

“ESP’s ecological conservation policies, as well as its large network of professionals, will be a big help in the protection of the DMZ ecosystem,” an official from Gyeonggi government said. “The UN Convention to Combat Desertification as well as the wide partnership of the ESP and global institutions will help push forward an international project of DMZ preservation, including both North and South Korea.”

BY JEON ICK-JIN [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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