Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects | Korea

ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The State Council decides major policies related to environment and development. The Working Committee for Environmental Preservation reviews policies before submitting them to the Environment Preservation Committee. Non-governmental parties participate in the environment related decision-making processes through the Environment Preservation Committee, the National Council of Environment Organizations and other advisory committees.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

When the Foreign Trade Act (FTA) was amended on December 8, 1992, the government added a new provision that allows trade restrictions when trade has a negative effect on the environment or natural resources. According to Article 5 of the FTA, "The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy may restrict or prohibit exports and imports of goods in accordance with the Presidential Decree, in cases where such restriction is necessary for protecting the life, health, and safety of human beings, protecting the life and health of animals or plants, or protecting and preserving the environment or domestic resources." The Republic of Korea has not mitigated any specific environmental legislation or regulations to attract FDI.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Republic of Korea recognizes that stabilization of the free trade system under the guidance of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the alleviation of the financial pressure of developing countries, is essential to promoting sustainable development. The Republic of Korea also recognizes that the consensus of different nations in such areas as improvement of market access opportunities is crucial for international trade and environmental cooperation. The Republic of Korea welcomes the efforts of the WTO to promote a fair, stable, and predictable world trade system and will actively participate in multilateral discussions and other international efforts to harmonize and incorporate trade and environmental issues. 

The Republic of Korea believes that trade measures for environmental purposes and trade-related environmental policies should not be unnecessary trade barriers and disguised means of protection, but should not be discriminatory or underly restrictive.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

To meet the challenges of reconciling environment and development, the following tasks are under consideration:

Status 

In a country like the Republic of Korea, with a large population and scarce resources, trade can be a critical policy tool for creating jobs and earning hard currency. The economy of the Republic of Korea went through unprecedented hardship and placed itself under the IMF bailout programme in 1998. However, with the successful implementation of structural reforms, the economy of the Republic of Korea has been able to overcome the foreign exchange liquidity crisis at a rapid pace. In 1999, annual GDP rate rebounded from E.7 percent in 1998 to 10.7 percent, while domestic consumption and investment increased 8.5 and 4.1 percent respectively. 

Exports increased by 8.6 percent, which in turn brought about job-creation and production increases in the export industries. The usable foreign exchange reserves have also expanded, thereby greatly improving the national confidence level. 

As trade and investment increase and the economy improves, the government of the Republic of Korea actively encourages companies to manage their operations in an environmentally friendly manner and to voluntarily strengthen environmental management as a whole.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Stricter environmental standards are being applied to exported products. Due to growing public awareness of environmental issues, domestic environmental standards are gradually being strengthened. Therefore, increases in exports do not result in a corresponding increase in environmental problems.

Information 

Various kinds of information related to the Republic of Korea’s trade, investment, and economic growth can be accessed through the Internet. 

     Trade-related site:  www.kita.or.kr (Korea International Trade Association)

     Investment-related sites:  www.bok.or.kr (Korea Investment Service Center),  (Bank of Korea)  

     Economy-related sites: www.mofe.go.kr (Ministry of Finance and Economy)

The Republic of Korea also submits reports related to trade, investment, and economic growth to the World Trade Organization, covering issues such as liberalization of trade, mitigation of approval procedures related to export or import transactions, abolishment of import diversification, etc.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

The people and the Government of the Republic of Korea recognize that poverty and financial distress of developing countries are major impediments to sustainable development. To support developing countries, The Republic of Korea established the Economic Development Cooperation Fund in 1987 and the Republic of Korea Overseas International Cooperation Agency in 1991. These institutions run various environmental cooperation programs to developing countries.

Cooperation

The Republic of Korea provided an amount of around 317 million US dollars as Official Development Assistance (ODA) in 1999. The amount has increased by 70% compared with previous year when the Republic of Korea suffered the foreign exchange liquidity crisis. The Republic of Korea contributed 5.6 million US dollars to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) during the period of 1995-1997 and is going to contribute the same amount in Korean Won during the period of 1998-2002.

 The Republic of Korea has also participated actively in the work of international organizations such as the WTO to drive sustainable development forward through trade liberalization. Furthermore, the Republic of Korea joined the OECD in October 1996.

Based on the Science and Technology Promotion Act, The Republic of Korea has been providing Thailand, Malaysia, India, and Kenya with agricultural technology since 1972.

To discuss the pollution problem of the Yellow Sea, which borders both the Republic of Korea and China, and to discuss movements of transboundary pollution materials in Asia, the Republic of Korea is contributing to North-East Asia environmental cooperation and is actively involved and cooperating with APEC to preserve the environment in the Asia-Pacific region. The Republic of Korea has initiated and will expand international economic cooperation programs to aid sustainable development in the works of various international organizations, such as OECD, UNCSD, UNCTAD.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea to the 5th, 8th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: January 2001.

To access the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, click here:

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TRADE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The State Council decides major policies related to environment and development. The Working Committee for Environmental Preservation reviews policies before submitting them to the Environment Preservation Committee. Non-governmental parties participate in the environment related decision-making processes through the Environment Preservation Committee, the National Council of Environment Organizations and other advisory committees.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

When the Foreign Trade Act (FTA) was amended on December 8, 1992, the Korean government added a new provision that allows trade restrictions when trade has a negative effect on the environment or natural resources. According to Article 5 of the FTA, "The Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy may restrict or prohibit exports and imports of goods in accordance with the Presidential Decree, in cases where such restriction is necessary for protecting the life, health, and safety of human beings, protecting the life and health of animals or plants, or protecting and preserving the environment or domestic resources."

Korea has not mitigated any specific environmental legislation or regulations to attract FDI.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Republic of Korea recognizes that stabilization of the free trade system under the guidance of the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as the alleviation of the financial pressure of developing countries, is essential to promoting sustainable development. The Republic of Korea also recognizes that the consensus of different nations in such areas as improvement of market access opportunities is crucial for international trade and environmental cooperation. The Republic of Korea welcomes the efforts of the WTO to promote a fair, stable, and predictable world trade system and will actively participate in multilateral discussions and other international efforts to harmonize and incorporate trade and environmental issues.

The Republic of Korea believes that trade measures for environmental purposes and trade-related environmental policies should not be unnecessary trade barriers and disguised means of protection, but should conform to the principles of non-discrimination and the least restrictiveness, among others.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

To meet the challenges of reconciling environment and development, the following tasks are under consideration:

Status 

In a country like Korea with a large population and scarce resources, trade can be a critical policy tool for creating jobs and earning hard currency. The Korean economy went through unprecedented hardship and placed itself under the IMF bailout programme in 1998. In that year, annual GDP growth fell sharply, from 5.5 percent to -5.8 percent, while domestic consumption and investment dropped -8.2 percent and –21.2 percent, respectively.

In spite of all these adversities, exports increased by 13.3 percent, which in turn brought about job-creation and production increases in export industries. It also provided momentum for getting the Korean economy back on track by garnering the foreign currency needed for foreign debt reimbursement and additional facilities investment.

When trade and investment increase and the economy improves, the Government actively encourages companies to manage their business in an environmentally friendly manner, and companies voluntarily strengthen environmental management as a whole. However, as seen from the economic crisis of late 1997, consumption patterns shift toward environmentally friendliness and consumption levels drop rapidly, regardless of any impact on the environment as the economy stagnates.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Stricter environmental standards are being applied to exported products. Due to growing public awareness of environmental issues, domestic environmental standards are gradually being strengthened. Therefore, export increases do not increase environmental problems.

Information 

Various kinds of information related to Korea’s trade, investment, and economic growth can be accessed through the Internet.

Korea also submits reports related to trade, investment, and economic growth, to the World Trade Organization, covering issues such as liberalization of the trade business, mitigation of approval procedures related to export or import transactions, abolishment of import diversification, etc.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Korea has also participated actively in the work of international organizations such as the WTO to drive sustainable development forward through trade liberalization. Furthermore, The Republic of Korea has joined the OECD on October 1996. Thus, it will cooperate to integrate common objectives with developed countries.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1999.

To access the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, click here:

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment (Waste Policy Division, Environmental Economics, Division, Environmental Technology Division, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (Industry Environment Division, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Environment and Science Division) all have responsibility for changing consumption and production patterns. Each ministry formulates and implements policies and programs related to changing consumption patterns, such as end-use energy consumption, waste management, consumptive use of water resources, urban and land use planning. At the local and provincial level, local authorities and the Regional Environmental Management Offices of MOE have responsibility.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Legislation related to changing production and consumption patterns includes the following:

The Republic of Korea has also adopted standards on packaging methods and materials, emission limits of air pollutants and wastewater and guidelines on industrial waste minimization. These are mandatory in accordance with Article 11 of the Air Quality, Water Preservation Act, Article 15 of the Act Relating to Promotion of Resources Saving and Reutilization, Article 25 of the Waste Management Act. In addition, an NGO, Citizens Alliance for Consumer Protection of Korea, through its Sustainable Consumption and Production Committee, established guidelines for the period 1995 to 1996, in relation to "Sustainable Energy," "Sustainable Agriculture," and "Sustainable Water Use," based on guidelines of the European Union. Citizens Alliance for Consumer Protection continues to carry out education programmes and campaigns to practice these guidelines.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Action Plan for Agenda 21 is directed, inter alia, toward changing consumption and production patterns. Specific issues that are addressed include the following:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

Among the programmes which the Government is implementing in this area in cooperation with industries, consumer associations and others are the following:

There are, in addition, selected measures for changing consumption patterns in the areas of energy, natural resource use, waste reduction and recycling. Examples follow:

Companies voluntarily utilize cleaner production technology and invest in equipment in the light of LCA analysis. An eco-labelling programme is being operated on the basis of Life Cycle Assessment, which is conducted on all procedures of production, consumption and abolitiion of products.

Among the major projects and activities underway are research programs to develop Eco-labelling awarding criteria and Eco-mark products selection criteria; a Cleaner Production Technology Development Support Programme; and an environmental technology research and development project -- the Pre- pollutant prevention technology research project.

Status 

From 1987 to 1996, the economy grew at the rate of 7.9 percent and energy consumption, at the rate of 10.4 percent. Energy consumption per person in 1996 (TOE) was 3.63. Dependency on petrol in 1996 was 60.5 percent, and dependency on important energy resources in 1996, at 97.3 percent.

- Distribution and Use of Waterworks

  ‘91 ‘93 ‘95 ‘97
Supply ratio (%) 80.1 81.1 82.9 84.5
Supply capacity (10,000 ton/day) 1,304 1,439 1,518 1,619
Water supplied per capita per day (l) 376 394 398 409

* Data: The Ministry of Environment, Environment White Book, 1998

- Waste recycling target

Year 1995 1998 2001 2002
Household (%) 23.7 30.0 35.0 -
Industrial (%) 61.2 65.0 68.0 -
Food waste (%) - 20 - 50

* Data: The Ministry of Environment, Environment White Book, 1998

- Waste recycling target for each industrial complex

  ‘98 2000 2002
Electric, plastic, home conglomerates at least 10% at least 30% at least 50%
appliances used to medium and small

absorb shocks sized firms

at least 10% at least 20% at least 30%
Egg shells 50% 60%  
Fruit peels 5% 15% 60%
Plastic cups for instant noodles - 10%  
Plastic saucers 30% 50%  

*Data: The Ministry of Environment, Environment White Book, 1998

- Plan to expand amount of loads carried by Subway(Seoul city)

  ‘95 2000 2005 2010 2020
Ratio of load carried by Subway (%) 34 45 50 60 70

* Data: The Ministry of Construction and Transportation, Transportation Complex Plan, 1997

The consumer movement has developed from the Consumer Protection Movement of the 1970's to the environment protection activities of the 1980's and to the current Movement for Sustainable Consumption, which includes the suppression of over-consumption and the activation of recycled product usage. For example, the 'carrying handbasket' movement is a prevailing movement well-responded to by many groups and individuals. Direct trade with farmers who are farming organic agricultural products is a way of putting sustainable consumption by consumers into practice. District-based information bulletins which intermediate the trade of used items are effective tools to facilitate the recycling and reuse of products. Other activities such as the 'frugal market', which is a type of flea market, are operated by district administration of Seoul city in cooperation with women's association. With the increasing preference for environmentally-friendly products amongst consumers, the business sector is also actively engaging in the sustainable production and consumption movement by adopting energy saving and environmentally-friendly processes.

The unsustainable lifestyle has a tremendous influence on the environment. With rapid economic growth, the consumption and production patterns in The Republic of Korea are becoming like those of developed countries. This means that the Government, industries, families and individuals should change their consumption patterns that are detrimental to the environment. The Republic of Korea is putting high priority on policies which improve efficiency in the use of energy and natural resources and developing effective means to reduce wastes and promote recycling. In the 90's, globalization of the economy and the balanced growth between sectors, which are most likely to affect consumption patterns, are the principal objectives of the Korean Government. Especially after the Earth Summit held in Rio in 1992, the concept of Sustainable Development is relatively well accepted by the public.

Challenges

The priority constraints in this programme area are lack of awareness and insufficient information on sustainable consumption and production.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Raising public awareness - The Government of The Republic of Korea encourages the rise of informed consumers by providing information that can assist consumers in selecting environmentally sound products. The eco-labelling program has become a valuable tool for helping consumers identify the less-polluting products and encouraging industries to develop and produce a wide range of less-polluting products which meet higher standards. The Eco-Mark Association, a private body established on June 27, 1992, is composed of representatives from consumer organizations, environmental organizations, businesses, and distribution sectors, as well as environmental experts and journalists.

In addition, the Government

The press company, Chosun Ilbo activitly promotes sustainable consumption patterns as well as part of a Green Energy Family programme.

Information 

An Environmental Information center will be established to collect and disseminate environmental technology information. Information is also provided through environment industries exhibitions and environment technology seminars. Audits are undertaken by the National Assembly Session and by the Audit Division within each Ministry concerned. Information is made available to potential users through the Internet at the address linked below.

The Republic of Korea organized an International Expert Meeting on Sustainable Consumption: Trends and Traditions in East Asia, from 27 to 29 January 1999 in Chejudo, Republic of Korea.

Research and Technologies 

Clean and environmentally sound technologies are promoted and applied in production through LCA, impact assessment, collecion and analysis of information, improved methods of production, investest in equipment, and analysis of effectiveness. Other technology-related issues that are being addressed include: Life Cycle Assessment techniques development and applied experience research are being conducted to make the criteria of Eco-labeling; and Research and develop composting technologies to reduce food waste.

Financing 

The Cleaner Production programme is financed by the National budget and special funds. The Green Energy Family is financed by the National budget.

Cooperation

The Government of The Republic of Korea hosted the Workshop on Policy Measures for Changing Consumption Patterns in 1995 to contribute to the international work program of the UN United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Also, The Republic of Korea is participating in the regional and international discussions and forums as an effort to change consumption patterns. It participates in the UNEP Cleaner Production Programme, OECD, and the APEC ISTWG (Industrial Science and Technology).

 

 

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This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th and 7th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: December 1998.

For information on Resources Saving and Reutilization, click here

Click here for cleaner production or Click here

Click here for the Green Energy Family

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FINANCING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

To mobilize financial resources and to address domestic environmental problems, the Republic of Korea endeavors to achieve a balanced fiscal operation.

In January 1995, the Government established the Special Account for Environmental Improvement. The Account is used to finance environmental improvement projects, environmental infrastructure construction projects, and environmental technology development projects by the national and local governments. The Special Account acts as a mechanism for the comprehensive management of environmental financial resources. The objective is to establish an efficient and integrated management system of financial resources, which allows for clear linkages between mobilization and expenditure of resources.

In order to make foreign direct investment (FDI) more environmentally friendly, the government has incorporated in the Act on Foreign Direct Investment and Foreign Capital Inducement, Korea's general law regarding FDI, the statement that, "FDI which is environmentally harmful is prohibited". As a result, the introduction of such FDI is, in effect, prevented. Also, foreign companies that invest in Korea are not granted special treatment in terms of environmental standards and are currently subject to the same environmental regulations as domestic companies, thus deterring environmentally harmful activities to FDI.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

To improve the efficiency of environmental management and finance the cost of environmental protection, the Republic of Korea has introduced economic measures, such as the Emission Charge System, the Environmental Improvement Charges, the Deposit-Refund System, and the Waste Treatment Charge System.

With regard to promoting environment-friendly FDI policies, Korea has limited foreign investments that have caused negative effects on citizens' health and environmental preservation. Environment friendly policies are being implemented, such as requiring submission of documents relevant to environmental reviews when designating foreign investment zones.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

The government guarantees a minimal living standard (food and clothing, medical care, housing, primary and higher education for children, etc.) for low-income citizens in order to eradicate poverty. It is establishing a social safety net to expand public assistance for the low-income unemployed, the elderly, the handicapped, etc.

Programmes and Projects 

Korea is promoting waste treatment policies based on market functions, aiming to minimize wastes beforehand and to recycle wastes through the application of the waste deposit and charge system. The government introduced the water quality improvement charge system in 1995 in order to protect public groundwater resources and to contribute to drinking water quality.

Since Korea introduced the emission charge system, imposing fines on businesses that discharge pollutants in excess of permitted standards of 1983, the government has operated other economic incentive measures that encourage reduction of pollutant discharges, such as the environmental improvement charge system, the waste deposit system, and the waste charge system. The environmental improvement charge system offered a good opportunity to establish the Polluter Pays Principle, which imposes the pollutant treatment costs at the consumption and distribution level, and to extend coverage to the newly incorporated diesel vehicles.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

Information related to financing sustainable development is made available to the public through the Internet website of the Ministry of Finance and Economy.

Research and Technologies 

In implementing the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, the Republic of Korea has been organizing and consolidating its subsidies, but the environmental impacts of individual subsidies have not been analyzed yet. However, Korea has an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system in place, under which environmental impact is assessed to ensure sound and sustainable practices on project-by-project basis.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea to the 5th, 6th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: October 1999.

For information on participating States in the Global Environment Facility, click here:
For information about issues and projects in Asia and and the Pacific from the World Bank, click here:

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TECHNOLOGY

Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In order to strengthen precautionary environmental conservation policy more effectively, the ISO 14000 was introduced by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, & Energy (MOTIE) under the legal basis of the Environmentally-Friendly Industrial Structure Promotion Act. However, realizing that private accreditation bodies that are on a non-governmental voluntary basis would better integrate and coordinate the program, the Korea Accreditation Board (KAB) was established in 1996. KAB has been carrying out the Pilot EMS Certification Program where 37 enterprises are involved.

The Patent Act and the Copyright Act are the legislation in place to protect Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) with a view to promoting investments related to the transfer of ESTs.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Stakeholders are brought together with a view to promoting and improving the selection, transfer and application of environmentally sound technologies through a number of mechanisms such as an international conference on clean production with UNEP in 1998 and the establishment of the Evaluation Center of New Environmental Technology. In addition, the Korean Government, in conjunction with CSD, UNEP and UNCTAD, is presently working out a publicly owned environmental technology transfer project as one of the plans indicated in the Progam for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, which was adopted in the UN Special Session of June 1997.

Programmes and Projects 

The promotion of innovation in the area of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) is being undertaken through the implementation of the Environment Engineering Technology Development Project (1992-2001) and the Basic Environmental Technology Development Project as well as through the establishment of the Long-Term Comprehensive Plan for Environmental Technology Development(1998-2007).

The Highly Advanced National Project (HAN Project), one of the environmental research projects in The Republic of Korea, includes a technology project which covers non-pollution process technology, clean product development, and clean production method development. Its budget in 1995 amounted to $3.14 million which was financed by the Government and private sectors, such as corporations, universities, and research institutes.

In 1995, MOE decided to introduce the Environment-Friendly Business Operation (EFBO) program which seeks to revise current environmental policy foundation to a more environmentally friendly program. The EFBO program is defined as an proactive management practice. Business organizations adopting this method are asked to strictly re-evaluate, manage, and develop new environmentally friendly product designs, production process, and final treatment process. The evaluation of environmental impacts includes whole aspects of operations from product design to raw material acquisition, input, production and post treatment of pollutants. The EFBO program also includes revised environmental preservation standards, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, public education and an awareness training program, prevention and clean up procedures, in house environment inspection plans and urgent action plans. MOE expects industries to implement low pollution level and environmentally friendly pollution abatement production processes. The EFBO program encourages a proactive role from industries as well as cooperation between industries and the Government, and urges NGOs to develop innovative technologies and practices.

Status 

The Government is planning to connect foreign information networks such as JOIS, Internet, Europa Net, and STN and overseas information networks such as JICST, NTIS, TIB, BL, and INIST with domestic networks to allow domestic consumers of environmental technologies to have access to environmental technology available in foreign countries. To establish an information network that can collect, process, and distribute information on environmental technologies, the Government will add to the existing information network a new field for information on environmental technologies and establish a computer information network for collecting, processing and disseminating environmental technologies. In addition, in order to facilitate the transfer of environmental technologies, The Republic of Korea will hold various international environmental conferences, send delegates to participate in international events and soften regulations and provide economic incentives to encourage the transfer of environmental technologies by private enterprises.

The Government is working on details for the development of environmental technology in the areas of air, water, ocean, clean technology, ecosystems and global environment. The National Institute of Environmental Research is in charge of these projects. In addition, the operational plan for the Center for Evaluating New Environmental Technology to expedite the distribution of newly developmed environmental technology has been established.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

Twenty six organizations in The Republic of Korea are currently registered with UNEP's INFOTERRA, an international information exchange system which promotes international exchange of environmental information worldwide. INFOTERRA is designed to meet the demands of countries for the prompt exchange of information on environmental planning, policies, research, and technology development. Another way to access information is through DIALOG of the United States, the world's largest information bank, and domestic communications networks such as CHOLLIAN of DACOM, KINITI-IR of the Korean Institute of Industrial Technology and Information, HiTEL of the Korean Telecommunication Authority, and KOSIS (Korea Statistical Information System) of the National Statistical Office.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

To boost environmental industries, benefits and financial support are used as a major tactic to facilitate the transfer of EST to small and medium enterprises. In various tax benefits, tax deductions are given for investment in anti-pollution facilities and waste recycling, while environmental equipment imports qualify for tariff reductions, and environmental companies qualify for special tax rates in accordance with the Basic Small- and Medium-sized Company Act. At the same time, the Government has extended long-term, low-interest loans to companies through the Industrial Development Fund and the Environmental Pollution Prevention Fund, among others, for the establishment of facilities to treat, prevent, or recycle pollutants.

Cooperation

The Republic of Korea has established regional environmental cooperation agreement. For example, it concluded an agreement with Japan for environmental preservation technology development and management, especially for marine environment around the region. An agreement with China, signed in 1996, focuses on the technological development for studying vehicle emission, reducing acid rain, and converting solid wastes produced in urban areas into fertilizers. With the Russian Federation, an agreement was signed to promote the exchange of information and experiences in environmental preservation.

 

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To go to the Ministry of Science and Technology, click here:

 

Biotechnology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Science and Technology is the body most directly involved with environmentally sound management of biotechnology, in cooperation with other related ministries. Biotechnological research is to be supported by seven different government ministries, and it is suggested that industries, academia, and research organizations participate in the national policy process. Important national projects and programs, such as "Biotech 2000", have been approved by the National Policy Council for Biotechnological Research.

For the safety of biotechnology and the development of mechanisms for cooperation, a national framework of comprehensive laws and regulations will be made and the National Council for Biosafety Strategy Management of Biotechnology will be organized. It is necessary to establish a system supporting research and product development related to biotechnology on the national, regional, and international levels, and a system for safety assessment and risk management. Hence, the establishment of the Biotechnology Training Center is under consideration to cultivate biotechnology specialists in industrial, academic, and research organizations and to stimulate economic and technological cooperation with developing countries.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

Biotechnology can be environmentally friendly and an important means to achieve sustainable development. Since The Republic of Korea is not well endowed with natural resources and has a small land area, the technology for the improvement of productivity of agricultural and dairy products using animal and plant resources is necessary to enhance national competitiveness in the agricultural sector and to secure the food supply. By the application of biotechnology, research on medical and health services can be effectively carried out. For this reason, the Government and industrial, academic, and research organizations need to cooperate with one another to develop new biomedicine and remedies for incurable diseases. However, appropriate measures should be taken to safely manage and control biotechnology.

In the Republic of Korea, to promote technological development for the conservation of the environment, to improve public health, and to increase food productivity, the Government will allocate more financial resources to projects in these areas and strive to activate research and development in the private sector. For the protection and conservation of the environment, the Government will formulate programs to develop bio-materials which can reduce the negative effects of chemicals on the ecosystem and on human health and encourage the participation of and investment by private companies.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

To build the scientific and technological base of biotechnology and to accelerate the transfer of biotechnology research results to commercial applications, the Government is trying to strengthen the nation's R&D infrastructure and promote the much needed human resources. For this purpose, the Korean Government initiated an ambitious, 14-year national R&D program called "Biotech 2000" in 1994. To develop biotechnology, the Government plans to spend, from its 1994-1997 R&D budget, a total of 625 million US dollars. Such effort to actively invest in biotechnology R&D is expected to encourage and facilitate private investment in this field.

Cooperation

In the Republic of Korea, international cooperation in biotechnology R&D has been built by universities, institutes and industries with counterparts all over the world. The United States, Japan and Western European countries have been major partners. Recently, developing countries, including China, Malaysia, Thailand and Brazil, as well as Eastern European countries, have joined the list. The planned establishment of a Biotechnology Training Center will especially promote technological cooperation with developing countries.

 

 

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This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th &6th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997 & 1998. Last update: 20 April 1998

To go to the Ministry of Science and Technology, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Presidential Vision for Environmental Welfare is the national policy or strategy for ecologically sustainable industrial development. From that Strategy/vision the Action Plan for a Green Environmental Country has been developed and is being implemented by the Ministry of the Environment. The objectives of the Action Plan are:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

The principal threats to human health or the sustainable use of natural resources associated with industrial activity in the Republic of Korea relate to heavy metals from industries, especially from the metal industry and hazardous air pollutants from industries, especially from the chemical industry.

In an effort to promote the greening of industry the measures mandated by the Act Relating to the Promotion of Environmentally Friendly Industry of 1995 are being implemented. These include financial assistance programs for the promotion of cleaner technology R&D; Programs to promote the recycling of raw materials, including the introduction of the Good Recycled Mark, which is given to excellent recycled products; and programs to promote environmental management, including the introduction of the ISO14000 System and development methodologies for LCA(Life Cycle Assessment).

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy

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TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) is responsible for management and decision-making concerning all national traffic related matters; its Transport Policy Office is in charge of comprehensive management and coordination of land, sea and air transport. 

The Surface Transportation Bureaufs roles are:

      - To set policies regarding surface transport methods and facilities;

      - To provide investment support;

      - To draw up urban transport plans;

      - To establish transport policies relating to traffic management, and the traffic effects evaluation system

      - To set policies on motor vehicle management and motor vehicle safety standards.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF) is responsible for sea transport matters. At MOCT, construction (including urban planning) and transportation matters have been integrated into one. Issues concerning transportation and construction are negotiated and differences of opinions coordinated within the ministry. 

The traffic effects evaluation system is utilized when implementing large-scale road, railway and housing projects to formulate transportation measures.  Major cities are required to establish mid/long term urban transportation plans and any urban plans drawn up by these cities which contain transportation plans are recognized as the required mid/long term transportation plans, thereby ensuring that urban plans and transportation plans are coordinated and mutually supplement each other. 

The central government has the enforcement authority for most transport related laws and regulations and is also responsible for establishing transport policies.  Most transport policies other than these have been relegated to local governments and those local bodies establish and implement their own traffic and transportation measures according to their individual needs and within the scopes stipulated in the higher relevant laws. Lower level government officials are usually in charge of managing and maintaining laws and regulations, while receiving orders and guidelines from senior officials when making amendments and establishing or changing important policies.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Major laws and regulations that address transport and traffic systems in the Republic of Korea include the System Efficiency Act, Passenger Transport Service Act, Automobile Management Act, Road Act, Aviation Act, and Marine Transport Act.

Many efforts have been made since the Rio Declaration to reduce motor vehicle emissions.  These include reinforcing traffic triggering fees aimed at stimulating usage of mass transport, establishment and implementation of traffic demand management measures along with financial assistance to stimulate the bus industry, and increasing central governmentfs subsidies to local governments for subway construction (from 25-30% to about 40-50%). 

In the public sector, a private car restriction system exists where drivers are restricted from using their cars every 10 days. To encourage participation from the private sector, participating drivers who drive smaller cars are given various discounts at parking lots and gas stations.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In accordance with the Traffic System Efficiency Act, enacted in February 1999, a 20-year National Transportation Network Plan was established so that the functions and features of intermodal transportation could achieve maximum effects.  Five-year mid-term transport facility investment plans have also been drawn up at the same time for more efficient implementation of the long-term plan. 

The 20-year plan was drafted by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation and negotiated with other related ministries and local governments and agencies; it was then reviewed by the Transport Policy Committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, before finally being approved and implemented as a national plan.

Expansion of transport infrastructure (road networks, railways, etc.):  

The Republic of Korea is being carried out in accordance with the National   Transportation Network Plan, which is a long-term plan in infrastructure expansions for the transport sector with infrastructures to be expanded as follows according to that plan.

 

1997

2004

2009

Roads

 

 

 

-                Expressways

1,889 km

3,700 km

4,336 km

-                National roads

12,459 km

12,733 km

113,083 km

Railroads

 

 

 

-                Length

3,118 km

3,472 km

3,700 km

-                Multi-trackage rate

28.9%

38.1%

51.4%

Airports

 

 

 

-                Passengers (persons/year)

42,800

64,000

72,040

-                Cargo (1000 tons/year)

2,020

3,570

4,630

Seaports

 

 

 

-                Capacity

295

598

801

The Republic of Korea will adopt new transport concepts, such as light railway for example.  Two projects, Seoul-Hanam and Pusan-Kimhae corridors, have been designated as pilot light railway projects and will receive partial funding from the central government to be carried out as private participation investment projects.

 Major programs undertaken with regards to the following:

 - Better meeting the commercial, private, and public needs for mobility in both urban and rural areas: the Republic of Korea is       promoting village shuttle buses and other supplementary buses or bus services in remote areas.

 - Promoting traffic efficiency, such as reduction of heavy traffic hours, provision of mass transport modes, etc.:

- Policies implemented in this area include strengthening governmentfs financial supports, to mass public transportation, assessing inner-city traffic congestion fees, and designating special management zones in areas prone to traffic congestion.

- Reducing emissions from transportation, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds:

- Preparing for buses to switch over from diesel fuel to CNG by installing CNG pumps at all public garages constructed and rented by the public sector.  Other policies include tax incentives and parking discounts given to compact cars. 

- Promoting non-motorized modes of transport, such as cycle paths and footpaths:

The Republic of Korea is expanding bicycle routes and storage areas.  In particular, more bicycle parking areas are being added near subway stations in order to facilitate transfer from bicycle to subway.  Further, local governments are strongly recommended to have no-car streets on weekends to promote change over from automobile-oriented to pedestrian-oriented transport policies. Many local governments have implemented this program.

Parking policies is currently putting ceiling on parking in downtown areas to ease congestion in area by making parking difficult, in addition to reducing the availability of parking lots.  Further, will install park&rides at, around, and near subway stations downtown areas can be accessed by subways instead of automobiles

The Korea Transport Institute (KOTI), a government-funded agency, does research on transport problems and acts as the leading research institute for the governmentfs transport policies. 

KOTIfs most recent research activities include research on discounted transfer rates, urban railway construction and operational rationalization, and expansion of bus-only lanes.  Based on this research, KOTI publishes about 30-40 reports a year.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Scholars and researchers take part in decision making of transport related policies via transport related policy-making committees. Views of business people on major policies are reflected through industry groups and transport related civic organizations.  Such consideration of private sector opinions in policy making are stipulated in the relevant laws. The Civil Complaint Processing System and the supervision of the National Assembly are additional avenues for  reflecting  peoplefs opinions on the policies. 

Seoul and its metropolitan area can be said to be the areas that most urgently require solutions to transport problems. The private sector takes part in policy-making by participating in various committees. In addition, it takes on the role of monitor and supervisor of policies by participating as investigators on sensitive issues as well as giving policy suggestions and making civil complaints.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

With regard to the adequacy of the provision of transportation services, in large cities, more mass transport modes such as subways are needed.  Remote and isolated areas need support in purchasing more vehicles to operate on non-profitable routes and support in covering losses. 

<Fuel consumption in the transportation sector> 

 

 

Total consumption

Consumption in transportation sector

Percentage

1998

All fuels

(Gasoline)

39,662,528

(9,713,029 )

29,849,331

(9,178,796 )

75.3%

(94.5%)

1999

All fuels

(Gasoline)

42,445,788

(10,156,633 )

32,739,303

(9,723,523 )

77.1%

(95.7%)

Challenges

Traffic congestion costs in the Republic of Korea has been shown to rise every year, with the exception of temporary decrease in 1998 due to economic recession.  However, in 1999, the cost had gone up again and is acting as an impeding factor in strengthening national competitiveness.  Various policies have been and will be implemented to overcome this problem including expanding transportation infrastructures and enhancing the efficiency of operational systems.

 <Traffic congestion costs> 

Year

Cost

1995

11.5 trillion won

1996

15.9 trillion won

1997

18.5 trillion won

1998

12.2 trillion won

1999 (estimated)

17.1 trillion won

Bus industry of the Republic of Korea is run mostly by private operating companies.  The management of bus companies has been worsening recently with decrease in bus transport demand.  Following this, the image of buses has changed from private to public goods by emphasizing the publicness of buses on the condition that they maintain clear transparency of management.  At the same time, the government has been making efforts to increase government supports to the bus industry. 

The subways, despite the fact that they are huge projects and a highly efficient mode of mass transport, are being built even by local governments whose transport demand is not so high.  This leads them to spend enormous amounts on construction costs and to be in deficit in operations arising from the difficulty of recovering bonds issued at the time of construction.  Various methods, including increasing government subsidies, promoting greater usage by expanding amenities and convenience facilities, and enhancing management by restructuring, are being considered as solutions to such problems. 

In recent years, the number of automobiles has risen rapidly.  Statistically, every 4-member family now owns a car. Most users of mass transportation are elderly, students, and working-class people.  Damages from improperly managed mass transportation have the greatest effect on this group of people.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

With regard to measures taken to encourage enhanced use of public transport, car-pooling, non-motorized transport, etc.:

- The Republic of Korea introduced bus-only lanes and is exempting traffic congestion fees for high occupancy vehicles.

- Every Monday in designated as gPublic Transportation Dayh and people are encouraged to use public transportation.

- Expanded areas where transport cards can be used for both buses and subways in order to  make transfers between buses and subways more convenient.

- Adding more elevators and moving walks inside subway stations, in addition to installing more bicycle parking areas near subway stations. 

With regard to measures taken to educate the public on traffic safety:

     - Opened the Childrenfs Traffic Park to educate children on traffic safety.

     - Introduced traffic safety education in curriculum at primary and secondary schools.

     - Introduced rehabilitative education for traffic violators and drunk drivers has been made mandatory.

A mutual association has been set up so that transport companies can be responsible for their own insurance in cases of accidents involving buses and taxis.  However, many disputes have arisen between accident victims and mutual associations that are responsible for insurance settlements. As a result, a dispute settlements committee was set up as a government organization to coordinate and mediate the disputes.

A national transportation database is being set up as part of the ITS project.  Traffic volume and Origin/Destination (OD) surveys will be brought together with GIS technology, which utilizes electronic maps to compile statistics that can provide appropriate background information for transport policies.

Information 

Traffic volume and traveling speed are being studied by local governments. The MOCT conducts traffic studies for expressways, national highways, government-supported local roads, and other major local roads. 

Aside from this, information on nationwide traffic volume and OD is collected for inclusion in the index map which will be used in establishing transport policies.  This project began in 1998 and national traffic volume and major cities traffic studies have been completed so far.  The traffic study for Seoul is in progress at present; in 2001 traffic studies of cities with population of over 300,000 will be conducted.  All this information will be inputted into the traffic database whose data will be updated every five years.

Information related to traffic conditions can be found at the Surface Transportation Bureau section of the MOCT homepage (www.moct.go.kr) and at KOTI's database (www.kotidb.re.kr).

Research and Technologies 

A national transportation database is being set up as part of the ITS project.  Traffic volume and Origin/Destination (OD) surveys will be brought together with GIS technology, which utilizes electronic maps to compile statistics that can provide appropriate background information for transport policies.

Financing 

Main sources for building infrastructure:

In order to build the transport infrastructure, the "Special Account for Transport Facilities" has been set up at MOCT.  This special account consists of revenues from traffic taxes (gasoline and diesel taxes), automobile consumption taxes, and airport/seaport service charges.  This special account is further divided into five accounts: road, railroad, airport, port, and wide area transport accounts.

As part of the mass transport infrastructure, construction and operation of subways is handled by the railroad account. Support for building public garages come from the wide area transport account.  Financing Special Account loans money to the private sector when fund support is needed to upgrade passenger terminals. 

It has been difficult to induce private investment in the light railway project, which has been implemented as a private participation investment (PPI) project, because of low government support.  The government, therefore, in an effort to promote private investment, has raised its support rate to 40% of the construction cost along with the land costs.  At present, negotiators for Seoul-Hanam and Pusan-Kimhae lines, which are being implemented by MOCT as pilot projects, have been selected and negotiations are in progress.  These two pilot projects are scheduled to be completed in 2005.

Cooperation

The Republic of Korea has concluded air agreements with 73 countries and maritime agreements with 12 countries and is also a member of ICAO, UIC, IMO and other international organizations. The Republic of Korea is making every effort to actively participate in international transport-related activities and discussions via OECD, APEC, and WTO.

 

 

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea to the 9th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 2001.

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

In the Republic of Korea, the Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Nature Conservation Bureau , Ministry of Environment are responsible for sustainable tourism at the national level, and the Tourism Divisions of local governments are responsible at the locl level. NGOs, local governments, tourism agencies, and experts participate in policy making conferences at which they express their views and opinions.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Legislation which seeks to ensure sustainable tourism and that sets aside specific areas or preserves for eco-tourism and nature-based tourism include:

There are, in addition, Tourist Guidelines for bird watching(1998). Eco-tourism guidelines will be established by consulting with the relevant government ministries, tourism-related organizations, environmental organizations, and experts(1999).

Procedures to monitor sustainable tourism development include: Environmental Impact Assessments, which must be undertaken for building the following projects exceeding a certain scale.

  1. Tourism development sites, exceeding 300,000m2,
  2. Park districts (within natural parks) exceeding 100,000m2
  3. Amusement parks exceeding 1000,000m2

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Sustainable tourism is included as part of the Ten-Year Project for Tourism Promotion and the National Tourism Resources Development Plan. In addition, a Strategy for developing eco-tourism and sustainable policy of tourism resources was included as part of the National Report, "National Strategy for Biological Diversity (1997)" An Annual Action Plan for eco-tourism is being established as part of the National Nature Environment Conservation Plan in 1999. The Strategy addresses issues of harmonization between the environment and tourism development, the possibilities for commercialization, local governments' concerns, income allocation to residents, establishment of eco-tourism, and the pursuit of sustainable use of natural resources.

It is interesting to note that, at this stage, eco-tourism is regarded as a part of the national strategy for the conservation of biodiversity rather than as an integral part of the national strategy on sustainable tourism. Eco-tourism is under consideration to develop various tourism products.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

Major programmes in effect to promote sustainable tourism include mandatory Environmental Impact Assessments prior to developing and operating any tourism development projects, and the designation of national parks and ecosystem conservation areas to conserve ecosystems. Tourism and nature-based tourism are being promoted through the following:

Status 

Tourism currently comprises 3.9 percent of GDP and employs 9.9 percent of the population. Tourism is regarded as a high value-added industry and is expected to play an important role in overcoming the economic crisis in the Republic of Korea.

Foreign visitors to Korea for tourism purposes have increased from 1988 to 1998, from 2,340,000 to 3,908,000 visitors, an increase of sixty-seven percent. Seven million visitors are expected from 1999 to 2003. Tourism profits have increased, from 1988 to 1998, from US$ 3.265 billion - 5.116 billion, a 56.7 percent increase. US eleven billion dollars is expected from 1999 and 2003.

Tourist complexes, ski resorts, golf courses, etc. are destroying ecosystems and biological diversity. Further, the increase in the number of visitors to wetlands and national parks adversely affecting biodiversity and increasing environmental pollution. At the same time, a number of private organizations, with the participation of the youth and public, are carrying out nature-based programmes, such as the following:

Challenges

Constraints to pursuing sustainable tourism include a lack of interest and low expected profit. Sustainable tourism, such as eco-tourism, is being recognized as generating low profits in comparison with other general types of tourism Lack of finances for promoting eco-tourism is also a constraint.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Private environmental organizations conduct an education programme for students and the youth on the state of fauna and flora in each region. The Korea National Tourism Organization is conducting research to seek ways and means to promote sustainable tourism. Two publications include: Environmentally Sustainable Tourism (1997) and Directions and Prospects of Eco-Tourism Development (1996).

Information 

National information available to assist both decision-makers and the tourist industry in promoting sustainable tourism includes the following:

In addition, Natural Environmental Surveys have been conducted since 1986 and an inventory of natural resources has been established. A map indicating all nature zones in Korea was developed (1990), and an eco-system map is being developed (2002). The result of the Natural Environmental Survey is being published and distributed to regional environmental administrations and local governments. Materials on the current status of the natural environment can be obtained through the Internet at the addresses given below.

Research on an Eco-system Index Development for Sustainable Development is being carried out between 1999 and 2001.

Research and Technologies 

Technology-related issues that need to be or are being addressed include disposal of wastes, illegal capture of wild fauna and flora and destruction of habitats, and land degradation around hiking areas.

Financing 

Financing is provide through the National Budget and private sector partnership.

Cooperation

Model tourism destinations are:

Within the country, cooperation takes place with local authorities, for financial support and simplification of administrative procedures for constructing basic eco-tourism facilities; with the private sector, for investments in the development of tourist products, marketing, and advertising; and with private environmental organizations for information exchange and funding.

At the bilateral and international level, cooperation takes place in the following areas:

 

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This information was provided by the Government of the Republic of Korea to the 7th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: December 1998.

Click here for the Ministry of the Enviroment of the Republic of Korea.

Click here for the Korean National Tourism Organization.


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