ESP Asia Regional Office in collaboration with the Gyeonggi Provincial Government, organized the first DMZ International Forum on Applying Ecosystem Services for Transboundary Nature Management on 13-15 of June. The theme of the forum was “Connecting People and Nature for Peace”, while the event took place in the DMZ Eco-tourism Support Center in Paju-si.
The forum brought together about 100 Korean experts, practitioners and stakeholders of Ecosystem Services, while participants from overseas were also present. Notably, Dr. Rudolf de Groot, chairman of ESP, Dr. Osamu Saito, from United Nations University, and Dr. Lan Li from the Chinese Academy of Sciences shared their expertise in the field of Ecosystem Services. Local Korean governments were also present, with representatives of Gyeonggi-do, Paju-si, Gimpo-si, Yeoncheon-county and the Ministry of Environment. Research and Academia were represented by National Institute of Ecology(NIE), Korea National Park Service, Ansan Evergreen Foundation, Gyeonggi Research Institute, EAAFP, National Institute of Forest Science, Hanns-Seidel Foundation, KIOST, Seoul National University, Korea University, Research Institute for Gangwon and Green Gyeonggi 21.
The first day of the Forum included an interagency closed-meeting, with the aim to develop collaboration ideas in North-east Asia for applying ES approaches to natural capital management. After the presentations from the participants, the collaboration proposals were discussed in. The second day of the forum began with a special music performance from the children of Gunnae Elementary School, from the DMZ area. After the ceremony that included the messages of the hosts and organizers, the main invited speakers presented several cases, revealing the current trends in Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital Management as well as, information on Ecological Connections and Transboundary Collaboration. A very positive aspect of the second day was the vivid participation of the public to the panel discussions. For the final day, the hosts arranged an interesting fieldtrip in DMZ area. In more details, the participants had the chance to visit the Bangujeong Pavilion, the Camp Greaves former U.S.A. Army base, the Jeongok Prehistory Museum, and the geopark of Yeonchun county.
The outcomes of this included the proposal of four projects such as the assessment of Cultural Ecosystem Services in DMZ areas, Yudo island project (so-called “Nature for Peace”), initiation of PES scheme in DMZ areas, establishment of long-term ES demonstration sites for monitoring and ES assessment. Moreover, all the participants concluded on the need to enhance the application of Ecosystem Services for recognizing true values of ecosystem, engaging local communities and achieving sustainable development in target areas.