Asian Wetland Center to Open
By Do Je-hae
South Gyeongsang Province, home to the country's largest wetlands, will open the Ramsar Regional Center-East Asia in Changwon, today.
The new institute is a follow-up project of the Changwon Declaration, adopted at the Ramsar Convention held last November in the southeastern city.
The center will focus on expanding an Asian network of experts studying the economic, cultural and recreational values of wetlands, according to South Gyeongsang Governor Kim Tae-ho.
``The biggest achievement of the Changwon Ramsar Convention is Korea's renewed acknowledgement of the importance in safeguarding the environment, including our wetlands,'' Governor Kim said in a statement.
To further its efforts in dealing with ``green growth'' initiatives and climate change, the province is hoping to host the 2011 United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
For the opening ceremony of the Ramsar regional center, the governor has invited Anada Tiega, secretary general of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat as well as 100 experts from academia, governments and NGOs.
The center will cooperate with a similar facility based in Ramsar, Iran, and its projects will include wetland management training for developing countries and an international conference in October for discussing the progress of initiatives defined in the Changwon Declaration.
The declaration highlights practical measures for ensuring human well-being under the themes ― water, climate change, people's livelihood and health, land use change and biodiversity.
Signed in Ramsar in 1971, the convention is an international treaty providing the framework for cooperation on the conservation and utilization of wetlands and their resources.
The next Ramsar Convention will be held in Romania in 2012.