CIFAL Jeju participants

26-28 September 2012, Jeju, Republic of Korea - CIFAL Jeju convened delegations from over 9 Asian countries in Jeju, Republic of Korea, for its first training workshop on Biodiversity to build local government capacities to conserve biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific Region. Part of UNITAR’s global network of 9 CIFAL training centres for local development learning, CIFAL Jeju’s mandate is to develop the knowledge, skills, and capacities of local governments in the areas of ‘Green Growth’ and ‘Human Security’.

Jeju Province serves as a model for decentralization and a test-bed for national green growth policies and projects in Korea, making the Island as an ideal place for hosting workshops on local governance and integrated planning approaches for greener growth and overall sustainable development. Jeju’s international profile as an “Island of World Peace” has risen by hosting many international conferences relating to Peace and Security. The authority hosted IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) which is also called the “Environment Olympics” in September 2012. During the conference, the delegates at WCC adopted the Jeju Declaration, which denotes that preserving biodiversity and development of the economy at the same time is possible through sustainable development.

UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Ramsar Regional Centre East Asia, Ulsan Development Institute of Korea, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), participants learned about the concept of biodiversity and climate change and explored measures to conserve ecosystems.

Also from a variety of case study presentations from participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kiribati, Korea, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, they reviewed good practices in implementing biodiversity conservation strategies and action plans applicable across the region to adapt them to local planning. Through the CIFAL Network’s trademarked CityShare Methodology, self-assessment exercise, peer exchange and action plan development, participants had a tangible opportunity to exchange challenges, good practices, and lessons learned in conserving biodiversity and climate change mitigation.

During the event, participants visited ‘Gotjawal’, which refers to a unique feature of Jeju forest according to Jeju dialect dictionary, to observe Jeju Provincial Government efforts to protect Jeju’s local biodiversity. They also visited ‘Jeju Stone Park’, an ecological and cultural park that displays the history of stone culture and culture of Jeju Island.

The workshop was made possible through the generous sponsorship of Jeju Self-Governing Province of Republic of Korea.

In 2013, CIFAL Jeju will continue to host training workshops on Biodiversity for the local actors from the Asia-Pacific Region.