UNESCO welcomes a new partner for the sustainable management of the Earth’s geological resources and heritage

The cooperation between UNESCO’s International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme and the Jeju Province Development Corporation (JPDC) of the Republic of Korea was strengthened through an overarching partnership agreement in the field of Natural Sciences for the protection and sustainable management of the Earth’s geological resources and geological heritage. The agreement was signed on 16 April 2018 by Ms Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, UNESCO, and Mr. Kyong-Soo OH, CEO of the JPDC.

We welcome this opportunity,” said Flavia Schlegel, “as we are confident that the JPDC and Jeju Special Self-Governing Province possesses the expertise and other appropriate capacities to contribute to promoting international scientific cooperation on critical challenges to sustainable development.”

UNESCO and the JPDC had signed a preliminary agreement in February, through which the JPDC will contribute USD 100,000 each year to support International Geoscience Programme projects and UNESCO Global Geoparks over the next five years.

By making connections between events throughout the Earth's history, the research projects supported by UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme aim to address the challenges we must overcome to preserve our environment and develop sustainably. The programme has supported over 500 projects in 150 countries since its creation in 1972, and there are now 27 such active IGCP projects in 2018 that foster international cooperation around the world.

UNESCO Global Geoparks are territories that promote geodiversity through community-led initiatives to enhance regional sustainable development, notably through sustainable tourism. They help monitor and promote awareness of climate change and natural disasters, and many help local communities prepare disaster mitigation strategies. There are now 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 38 countries.

Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark, a beautiful volcanic island, is the southernmost island of the Korean Peninsula. The Jeju Island Special Self-Governing Province has established its organization to handle the Geopark’s management and operation, which will create economic benefits and sustainably conserve the natural environment and geoheritage on the island. Jeju Island is the only place where all four Internationally Designated Areas occur at the same location. These include: Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes World Heritage Site, Jeju Island Biosphere Reserve, Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark and two RAMSAR wetland sites: 1100 Altitude Wetland and Muljangori-Oreaum Wetland.

The signing ceremony was also attended by Mr. Gi-Won KOH, Director, Water Resources Research and Development Center of JPDC, Mr. Yang-Bo KIM, Director General, Environment Conservation Bureau of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Mr. Nam-Jin Kim, Director of Peace and International Affairs division of of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province, Distinguished representatives of the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Korea to UNESCO and the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, and members of the secretariat of UNESCO’s International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme.