A national workshop on wetlands conservation was held at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang on 27 October 2015, organized by the National Coordinating Committee on the Environment (NCCE) and the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection (MoLEP), and supported by the Ramsar Secretariat, Hanns Seidel Foundation, IUCN, UNEP and WWF. The workshop was the highlight of a week-long visit by representatives from the Ramsar Secretariat, HSF, IUCN and WWF, to discuss with the NCCE and MoLEP about opportunities for cooperation to promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands in the country and accession to the Ramsar Convention.
The workshop brought together over 80 central and provincial level officials from MoLEP, Ministry of Agriculture, State Academy of Sciences, and the National Authority for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. Participants heard opening remarks from Ms. Ri Kyong Sim (Director General, Department of External Economic Cooperation, MoLEP) and Dr. Ania Grobicki (Deputy Secretary-General, Ramsar Secretariat), as well as presentations on the importance of wetlands, the management of water resources in the DPRK, and activities to promote wetland conservation and wise use from both local and overseas experts.
The DPR Korea is endowed by a range of valuable wetlands, including lakes, rivers, reservoirs, rice paddy and extensive tidal flats along it western coast. A detailed legislative framework has been established to conserve these wetlands and their resources, particularly water, which is used to support the needs for irrigation, industry, household use, recreational and hydro-electricity production. However, the country is facing challenges from floods and droughts due to an increasing variability in rainfall, and there is a need for the development of an integrated water resources management strategy.
During the workshop, group discussions were also organized to identify the key wetland sites in the country; how cooperation between government agencies, academic and other key stakeholder can be promoted for wetland conservation and wise use, such as through the establishment of a national wetland committee; how the importance of wetlands can be promoted more widely in the country; and what support international organization can provide for conserving the country’s wetlands. From these discussions, a series of joint wetland conservation activities with the Government of the DPR Korea are now being planned for 2016 and the coming years.
Author: Lew Young, Ramsar Senior Advisor for Asia and Oceania