Click here to go to the following issues:

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

NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA

Click here to go to these sections:

AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is responsible for policies on sustainable agriculture and rural development.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry established a law to promote sustainable agriculture in 1998. In order to use farmland for purposes other than agricultural production or farmland improvement, farmland diversion must receive permission from the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and permission must be granted after considering the value of farmland conservation and effects on other farmland. In agricultural promotion zones, we restrict the construction of any facilities except those for processing agricultural and marine products, agricultural research and testing institutions, community facilities, farmers' houses, agricultural and stock raising facilities, military facilities, rivers, dikes, roads, and railroads. However, diversion of farmlands for the following purposes is banned as follows:

Through close cooperation among its ministries, the Republic of Korea has been annually reviewing national policies related to enhancingfood security in order to meet the basic goal of the 1996 World Food Summit. The fundamental basis for national policy on food security is the "Rural Development Measures and Agricultural Policy Reform Plan", which was drawn up by the Presidential Commission on Rural Reconstruction (PCRR). All of the major stakeholders involved in promoting food security, including farmers' organizations, consumers' organizations, scholars, and representatives from the government, participated in the formulation of participation-based agricultural and rural policies, particularly, policies for food security.And since the inauguration of the new administration in February 1998, a broad-based reform has been undertaken as part of the government's efforts to ensure consistent national food security, in almost every part of the nation including the economic, political, and social areas, in line with the Rural Development Measures, the Agricultural Policy Reform Plan, and the basic objectives of the World Food Summit.

In addition, conservation and sustainable management of genetic resources is pursued under the 'Rule on the Management of Genetic Resources', which was enacted on November 22, 1985.

Major policy instruments and activities to promote sustainable plant nutrition management in Korea includes the followings:

  1. Promotion of model projects for environment-friendly agriculture by adjusting integrated plant nutritional management.
  2. Promotion of environment-friendly agriculture projects ('98)
  3. Selection of environment-friendly agriculture promotion areas: 5 places ('98) to 8 places ('99)
  4. Construction of environment-friendly agricultural model villages: 16 model villages nationwide
  5. Promotion of environmental agriculture that requires the application of fertilizers on the baiss of soil tests
  6. Application of subsidies on drinking water preservation, nature protection, and tourist agriculture.
  7. Compensation for decreases in farmers' income due to the application of chemical and organic fertilizers on the basis of soil tests.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In July 1996, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry established its "Environmental Policy in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for the 21st Century". The main emphasis of the policy is placed on reducing pollution and other environmentally harmful effects of agriculture, conserving and improving the agro-environment, and encouraging environment-friendly farming systems, such as organic farming and low input sustainable agriculture. Specific targets have been set to develop technologies for reducing pesticide use and chemical fertilizer use by 2004.

The Korean Government has adopted methods of maintaining and improving the basic agricultural environment, such as soil and water, has emphasized measures to maximize the positive effects of agriculture on the environment and to develop agriculture as a pollution filtering industry, and has restricted agricultural land diversion. Major policies to accomplish sustainability in the field of agriculture include the followings: 1) to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides properly, in accordance with soil characteristics and pest intensity; 2) to support farmers for fostering environment-friendly farming, such as organic farming and low input sustainable agriculture (LISA); 3) to improve the productivity of sustainable agriculture through new environment-friendly technologies; 4) to support the recycling of agricultural byproducts like straw, livestock wastes, etc., and return them to agricultural fields for use as organic fertilizers, and 5) to expand direct payment policies for environment-friendly agriculture.

Korea is located in a temperate monsoon climate zone where the average annual rainfall of 1,274mm is considered adequate. However, two thirds of the rainfall is concentrated during the summer months and there are frequent early or pre-summer droughts when water demand for agriculture peaks. To overcome these problems, the government has set up a "Ten year Rural Water Development Plan" (1995~2004) with the following objectives:

For the conservation and sustainable use of animal genetic resources, the government adopted the following policies:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

A variety of groups participate in decision making on environment-friendly agriculture, including farmers’ groups, communities, and women groups related to agriculture, and even non-agricultural groups. As the role of women in agriculture is receiving more emphasis, women’s participation is increasing. The common ways of participation for major groups in decision making are as follows:

The government accepts all reasonable opinions and suggestions.

Programmes and Projects 

The Republic of Korea submitted to FAO its Report on the Implementation of the World Food Summit Action Plan in April 1999. The government’s major actions related to the agricultural and fisheries sectors are summarized as follows:

To prevent resource and energy waste, deterioration of the quality of agricultural products, and environmental contamination, a new fertilization system that determines fertilizer application rates based on soil testing was established in 1992: 1) to readjust fertilizer application rates for 73 crops to lower levels to preserve the environment; 2) to establish fertilizer systems for each crop through soil testing; and 3) to study fertilizer application management with bulk blending fertilizers through soil testing.

Status 

Until 1990, agricultural policy focused on increasing crop production through the development of multiple harvesting rice species and high-yield species, and high dose fertilizer application was recommended to achieve this objective. As a result, new problems emerged, such as increasing instances of plant disease and environmental contamination.

Major irrigation facilities are classified as reservoir, weir tube well, infiltration gallery, etc. As a result of the government’s continuous efforts to achieve agricultural modernization, a sound agricultural base for rice production has been established. Accordingly, a total of 882,000 hectares, or 76 percent of the total paddy rice area, is now irrigated.

The government recognizes the need to increase the efficiency of agricultural water use, and great efforts have been made to conserve water and to increase the stability of the infrastructure by renovating superannuated irrigation facilities. Irrigation water is supplied to farmers free of charge, but water distribution costs are charged to farmers. Small-scale irrigation systems are managed by farming communities under the supervision of local authorities, and all expenses are charged to the farmers. Large-scale irrigation systems are managed by the Farmland Improvement Association.

The government has constructed drainage facilities, such as pumping stations, sluice gates, and canals, in areas that are subject to habitual flooding. The construction is usually carried out by the municipal authorities or the Farmland Improvement Associations. Approximately 207,000 hectares of agricultural land are prone to flooding, about 39 percent of which have been improved by 1997. The remainder will be completed by 2010.

As is well known, heavy metals, chemical compounds and organic matter are major sources o water pollution. Effluents, such as fertilizers, pesticides and livestock wastes from farming activities, are also responsible for water pollution. In general, water containing these pollutants flows into rivers after being purged, to some extent, through artificial treatment processes. However, since the amount of effluents from farming activities is, in many cases, beyond artificial treatment capabilities, contaminated water resources are often used to meet various water needs.

If the contaminated water is used to irrigate rice crops in paddy fields, however, a large share of the irrigated water gets purified as the rice crops grow. During rice planting and growth, nitrogen and phosphate, major chemical materials that pollute water resources, are absorbed into rice crops as fertilizer ingredients. And fertilizer ingredients and other pollutants, which are not readily absorbed into rice crops, permeate into paddy soils. Rice paddy farming thus performs the function of purifying water resources.

Area of paddy field where additional irrigation facilities have been installed since 1992: 57,433 ha, which is 7% of the total irrigated paddy field area. Restored water-logged lands: 23,856 ha, which is 12% of the total water-logged lands.

The statistical information on the consumption of primary inputs such as seeds, fertilizer, and pesticides in Korea for the past five years is as follows:

Challenges

In the midst of rapid economic development and urbanization, farming activities have rapidly declined. Urban-rural disparities are widening and food self-sufficiency has dropped. Furthermore, efforts and research are urgently needed to cope with the effects of the Uruguay Round on Korean agriculture.

Among the continuing needs in this sector are: fostering vertical integration of farm production, processing, and marketing; establishing a comprehensive agricultural information network to promote the agriculture-related industry's rational production, marketing, and management decisions; ensuring direct and indirect participation of farmers and farmers' organizations in the agricultural policy, production, processing, and marketing systems.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The government has been carrying out model projects nationwide to promote environment-friendly and sustainable agriculture since 1998. Locations for environment-friendly agriculture have been established in 5 places in 1998 to 8 places in 1999. Environment-friendly agriculture model villages have been built in 16 places in 1999.

The Korean Government has many programs to train farmers in IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and to assist environment-friendly agricultural groups in training farmers who are willing to learn organic farming and low input sustainable agricultural techniques. Soil conditioners are distributed periodically to the farmers to improve soil conditions. Loans and subsidies are given to entitled farmers for certain projects, which are designed to develop sustainable agriculture.

The Korean government usually adopts education and mass media measures to inform the public, especially farmers, of sustainable agriculture. It focuses on why environment-friendly farming is important and necessary and how it is done. Consumers’ role in developing sustainable agriculture is not neglected either. Recently, the Korean government developed a new project through which farmers, consumers, and policy makers cooperate and support each other for sustainable agriculture.

The Korean government has developed energy efficient and energy saving greenhouse blueprints and distributed them to farmers. Research and development are focused on how to increase solar energy utilisation rates and other environmentally sound energy uses. In the agricultural machinery sector, energy efficient technologies are being developed.

The government is taking the following measures to reduce the amount of pesticide use by up to 50% of 1993 levels by 2004:

The IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Program has implemented IPM training for 266 extension staff members (Training of Trainers, TOT) and 9,566 farmers (Farmer Field Meetings, FFM), including season-long field training to provide firsthand experiences in rice paddies.

The IPM Program has implemented IPM validation and training on non-rice crops, including greenhouse crops, potatoes, peppers, apples, persimmons, watermelons, pears, and citrus fruits, in nine provinces since 1997. Fifty-six extension officers were trained as IPM trainees, who in turn trained 600 farmers.

With a view to achieving multiple objectives, such as increasing forage production, preventing soil erosion, improving soil fertility, preserving landscape features, and capitalizing on eco-tourism resources, the Korean government, in close cooperation with farmer’s organizations, is conducting a nationwide campaign to foster the cultivation of winter feedcrops and green manure crops, including Chinese milk-vetch, rye, and Italian ryegrass. It is called the Green Field Movement. For the optimal use of plant nutrients, precise soil tests are done by county governments. Farmers use fertilizers in accordance with the soil test results, whether they are organic or inorganic. The IPM training programme and education programmes for the safe use of pesticides by farmers are supported, too. The Korean Government initiated direct subsidies for environment-friendly farming beginning in 1999. Direct subsidies are granted to those farmers in environment protection areas who are willing to exercise environment-friendly farming practices.

To maintain and improve soil productivity, soil conditioners like lime and silicated fertilizers are distributed to the nutrition deficient areas, and loans are granted to farmers in order to transform soil.

Information 

Agriculture-related information can be found on the Internet web sites at:

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Rural Development Administration

Research and Technologies 

A research system was established to develop sustainable technologies and to monitor the status of the agricultural environment in terms of soil quality, water quality, and the quality of agricultural products. The government has been modeling integrated nutrient management and studying nutrient balancing in crop cultivation since 1998. The relationship between the farming area, the kind of crop and fertilizer, and the amount of chemical and organic fertilizers applied were investigated. SThe amount of nutrient input, plant uptake, remnants in soil, volatilization, etc. were also studied.

With regard to optimizing effective and efficient use of various sources of nutrition, the government tried to establish integrated nutritional management skills. Firstly, the real situation of fertilizer application in farmlands for more efficient nutrient management ('98~) has been investigated, and the amounts and kinds of chemical and organic fertilizers applied were studied. Secondly, nutrient balance has been studied to decide the basic balance of applied nutrients ('96~). The inputs, outputs and balance of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium for major crops have been investigated.

With regard to the effects of ultraviolet radiation on plants, animals, and agricultural activities, researches have been undertaken to study the characteristics of the initial growth of Tilia Amurensis Rupr. seedlings by administering environmental stress through UU-B radiation, the effects of UV irradiation on the growth of vegetables, and the effects of UV radiation on the growth and yield of sweet potatoes. The results indicated that UV radiation decreased the germination rate and the chlorophyll content. It also affected the growth of trees. UV-B radiation inhibited height growth, leaf growth, and chlorophyll formation. The inhibition was UV-dose dependent, and consequently, growth was increasingly inhibited as UV-B radiation levels increased. UV-B radiation caused leaf scorching, glazing or chlorosis, and stunting or dwarfing.

In order to promote crop diversification at the farm level, the government undertook the following:

With regard to early warning systems for the monitoring of factors affecting food supply and demand, meteorological observatories have been established in 72 locations for traversing observations under the Korean Meteorological Administration and in 78 places for agricultural meteorological observation under the Rural Development Administration. Also, a joint committee on agricultural meteorology for stable food production has been established and is managed by the Rural Development Administration and the Korean Meteorological Administration.

Financing 

Rural industrial complexes were established for industrial development and enhancing rural residents' income. As of 1998, 295 complexes were established, locally employing about 57,000 individuals. Also, tourist farms are being developed to promote regional development and increase rural income by linking the natural environment of rural areas with agricultural development. By 1998, 397 places had been designated, locally employing about 2,000 individuals.

Cooperation

In collaboration with UNDP, the Korean IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Program (ROK/93/001, ROK/95/004, and ROK/96/008) has been in operation since 1993. During this time, we have achieved some notable results.

The validation trial of rice IPM methodologies, carried out in 1992, verified that IPM methods can reduce pesticide use by more than 50% without significant changes in yield in comparison with conventional methods.

The IPM Program is providing much stimulation for the success of environmental agricultural policy, which includes the target of reducing pesticide use by 50% and fertilizer use by 40% of 1993 levels by the year 2004.

The IPM Program has strengthened the cooperation systems of the Northeast Asian region in order to reduce crop losses due to migratory pests and pesticide applications through the exchange of IPM experts and information.

There has been no official relationship between the global IPM Facility and the Korean Government/Korean IPM Program.

* * *

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 FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, 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 link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment (MOE) is primarily responsible for decision-making regarding air quality management policies and programs in the Republic of Korea. Several ministries are also participating in activities to address climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion issues as well as air quality conservation. These ministries include the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

In order to secure sustainability of major national development projects, the Presidential Commission on Sustainable Development (PCSD) was established in September 2000. The PCSD is expected to play a major role in integrating environmental concerns into development projects.

An inter-ministerial meeting can be summoned to coordinate different opinions. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is responsible for the supply of low-sulphur oil and research and development into new energy sources. 

The central government is responsible for establishment of laws and regulations, while local governments set local air quality standards and emission limits and implement region-specific air quality control programs.  

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Environmental Policy Act (enacted on the 1st of August 1990, the 6th revision on the 31st December 1999) and the Air Quality Preservation Act (6th revision on the 4th April 1999) has been enacted for supporting air quality control activities. Under these laws, ambient air quality standards and permissible emission limits are established for six and 26 air pollutants, respectively.  

Economic incentives have been applied to air pollution control such as the Emission Charge System and the Environmental Improvement Change System.  The Emission Charge System, introduced in 1983, placed levies on polluters in proportion to the volume of pollutants discharged. Currently, 19 air pollutants are subject the levies. While the Environmental Improvement Charge System, charges the owners of large buildings or diesel-powered vehicles, as they discharge relatively larger quantities of pollutants. The Act on Environmental Improvement Charge System was enacted in December 1991 in a way of embodying the  gPolluter Pays Principlesh into environmental policies.  

The government is also considering new legislation, called the Climate Change Act, to mobilize national resources to help address climate change issue.  

The Labelling Scheme of Fuel Economy for passenger cars using gasoline was adopted in 1992 to provide consumers with information on fuel efficiency and to encourage automobile manufacturers to produce cars with higher fuel efficiencies. This system was expanded in 1994 to cover jeeps and van-type vehicles using gasoline. Another policy to encourage automobile manufacturers to produce higher fuel efficiency cars is the Target Fuel Economy System, whereby the Government designates fuel efficiency targets which the manufacturers should reach within a designated time. The public and business have actively participated in these programs.

Other national plans include the introduction of the Ozone Warning System and the improvement of Emission Charge System, the urban transportation system and environmental standards. The Government will also regulate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emission facilities by conducting a comprehensive review of the harmful effects of volatile organic compounds on the environment, and improve the emission inspection system that measures the actual emission of moving automobiles. In addition, multilateral environmental agreements such as the Montreal Protocol and the Convention on Climate Change are being carefully followed. Regional cooperation is being promoted in efforts to strengthen joint research and to build an information exchange system in East Asia.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Republic of Korea has created an Automobile Pollution Decrease Investigation Plan and will invest 8.2 billion US dollars on the plan from 1996 to 2000 to decrease automobile pollution. The automatic air pollution monitoring network measures seven atmospheric pollutants which includes TSP, SO2, NO2, CO, and O3, among others. Vans equipped with air pollution measuring devices cover heavily polluted areas or areas in which stationary units have not yet been established. The acid rain monitoring network is in operation. The information from these stations is being relayed via telemetry monitoring system (TMS) to the central data bank of MOE in order to assess and coordinate the efforts against air pollution.

The Environmental Vision 21 has provided long-term policy direction including air quality management from 1996 to 2005. The Mid-term Plan for Environmental Improvement (1997-2001) was followed in order to put the Vision 21 into practice in more detail.  

In 1998, a sweeping change was made in the existing Plan reflecting the Asian financial crisis of 1997 so that the Second Mid-term Environmental Improvement Plan was reformulated and implemented until now. 

The State Environmental Vision for a New Millennium was established in the first year of the new millennium in June 2000. The Vision is aimed at building a biosphere in which nature and humans coexist in harmony. To achieve this goal, four principles are presented:

 ·        Conversion of end-of-pipe environmental approaches to pollution prevention

·        Development of environmental policy based on market economy and democracy

·        Integration of environmental concerns into economic and development policies

·        Active participation in international efforts to solve global environmental problems

According to this vision, the MOE is working out the Action Pan for the State Environmental Vision. Moreover, the Comprehensive Plan for Air Quality Improvement in the 21st century is being formulated to single out mid-term policy direction and challenges in the field of air quality management for the period between 2001 to 2010. 

In order to participate in global efforts to combat climate change, the Republic of Korea has undertaken various initiatives on a voluntary and non-binding basis. The government established an inter-governmental committee led by the Prime Minister in December 1998. The committee formulated and has been implementing a National Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

Concerning activities on protecting stratospheric ozone, the government is to push forward with the annual phase-out schedule, which was set out according to the Montreal Protocol and subsequent amendments. To this end, the Act for the Control on Production and Use of Ozone Depleting Substances was enacted in January 1991. The annual consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODS) is being gradually phased out to meet the requirement specified by the Montreal Protocol.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

The office of the Prime Minister organizes meetings to coordinate conflicts between ministries and agencies involved in the decision-making process regarding national air pollution control policies. Local governments play major roles in implementing the national policies, including establishment of local ambient air quality and emission standards, designation and management of Air Quality Management Regions (AQMD), and monitoring and inspection of emissions from discharging facilities.  

In order to secure private sector participation in the decision making process, the MOE holds various policy dialogues with stakeholders. The MOE has been organizing regular meetings, called the gEnvironmental Policy Consultation Meeting,h with the representatives of leading environmental NGOs. Businesses can also participate in establishing and updating environmental policies and programs through regular consultative meetings with the MOE. Policy dialogues are held with the general public in order to collect views as well as increase public awareness. The discussions of the meetings are reflected in the decision-making processes by the MOE.

Non-governmental parties participate in an advisory committee on air quality preservation.

With respect to air quality control, the early drafts of MOE policy reflect various opinions from stakeholders including the general public, businesses, and academia. 

Programmes and Projects 

The MOE has measures to designate facilities according to the amount of air pollution they discharge, restrict and control emissions, and manage volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

Pollution prevention measures are also applied to energy consumption, including regulation of sulfur content for fuel oils (light oil, B-C oil etc.), and obligatory use of clean fuels such as LNG in electric power plants and apartment complexes. 

Gasoline-powered automobiles manufactured from 1987 are required to use unleaded gasoline. The MOE has established emission standards for newly manufactured automobiles and automobiles in operation, and quality standards for various types of fuel. In order to reduce motor vehicle emissions from diesel-powered vehicles, the MOE is promoting and initiating the replacement of diesel-powered buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. The plan is to ultimately replace 20,000 city buses by 2007, beginning with the replacement of 5,000 buses by 2002 in cities hosting the 2002 World Cup.

Economic incentives, such as the emission charge and the environmental improvement charge system, are introduced to embody the polluter pays principles into environmental policy.  

To assess the impacts major development on air quality, an environment impact assessment system was established in 1981. Developers are encouraged to decide development sites and establish air pollution control programs considering potentially adverse effects to the neighboring environment.   

For greenhouse gas reduction, the government has been implementing 36 programs based on the National Action Plan established in 1999. They include the reduction of energy consumption and greenhouse gases in commercial, household and industrial sectors, replacement of diesel-powered buses with CNG buses, enhancement of carbon sinks, and promotion of recycling of landfill gas. 

Especially in the industrial sector, major companies are participating in Voluntary Agreement Programs which are organized by the central and local governments. The government provides incentives such as grants and subsidies to energy saving or greenhouse gas reduction activities.  

With respect to stratospheric ozone protection activities, the government introduced a licensing system for ozone depleting substances production quotas in 1992, and prohibited new construction of ozone depleting substances production facilities in 1995. Moreover, CFCs and Halons production licenses are issued to only one producer of each substance. Any import of CFC-11.12 and Halon 1301, 1211 is prohibited.

The government has established a fund consisting of the levies placed on production and importation of ozone depleting substances since 1992. This fund is used to financially support development of substitutes and alternative technologies and to loan to companies which replace existing CFC-using facilities with non-CFC-using or alternative facilities. 

Also, the government introduced an environmental labeling system for such goods as refrigerators and air conditioners in 1997. The scheme is to induce consumers to choose non-CFC containing products and thus to encourage manufacturers to produce products using CFC substitutes.


Status 

Major threats to the atmosphere in The Republic of Korea derive from increasing intensity of urban air pollution and a high level of energy consumption. The rapid increase of automobiles, traffic congestion, ozone concentration, and high industrialization and economic development, all pose serious problems to the environment. In response to this problem, The Republic of Korea has formulated a number of policies and regulations. In order to reduce emission of air pollutants, the Government has designated industrial facilities as emission facilities and has continued to monitor and regulate emission standards being met at these facilities. The Government has lowered the maximum permissible sulphur content of diesel and B-C oil and has encouraged the use of cleaner burning fuels. Since 1987, unleaded gasoline has been produced and sold in The Republic of Korea. Emission of air polluting substances such as SO2 , TSP, etc. has been reduced as the result of the implementation of new air pollution abatement policies.

Ambient air quality 

Sulfur dioxide concentrations have been substantially decreased with the expanding supply of cleaner fuels and low-sulfur oils. The concentrations of ozone and fine particles, however, still remain a problem in urban areas. This is caused by the rapid increase in use of motorized vehicles in the Republic of Korea. 

Ambient air qualities in selected major cities are shown in the following table.

<Ambient air qualities in selected major cities> 

 

          Division

   

   Seoul

  

    Pusan

   

   Taegu

 

 Kwangju

 

  Wulsan

Environ-mental standard
     SO2

    (ppb)

     e95       17       23       31       10       28 30/ year

 

     e99        7       14       11        7       17
  PM-10

(mg/)

     e95       78       73       81       49       69 80/ year

 

     e99       68       65       66       56       29
      O3

    (ppb)

     e95       13       16       17       16       15 60/8 hour

 

     e99       16       22       17       18       18
     NO2

    (ppb)

     e95       32       27       28       20       23 50/ year

 

     e99       32       19       27       21       21

* Strengthening the standard of SO2 (20/ year, 150/ hour), PM-10 (70/ year) since January 2001.

<Sectoral Greenhouse Gas Emissions (unit: 1,000 total carbons)> 

Division

1990

1995

1996

1997

Energy

65,578

(81.1)

102,652

(82.0)

112,863

(83.1)

118,562

(83.9)

Industry

7,393

(8.9)

11,531

(9.2)

12,170

(9.0)

12,390

(8.8)

Agriculture

4,383

(5.3)

 

4,237

(3.4)

4,281

(3.2)

4,230

(3.0)

Land-use change and forestry

-6,212

(-7.5)

-5,517

(-4.4)

-6,441

(-4.7)

-7,228

(-5.1)

Waste disposal

10,144

(12.2)

12,210

(9.8)

12,928

(9.5)

13,380

(9.5)

TOTAL

83,286

(100.0)

125,113

(100.0)

135,801

(100.0)

141,334

(100.0)

Parenthesis representing percentage

<Emissions of Greenhouse Gases (unit: 1,000 total carbons)> 

Division

1990

1995

1996

1997

CO2

64,278

(77.2)

105,131

(84.0)

114,688

(84.5)

119,783

(84.8)

CH4

15,640

(18.8)

16,254

(13.0)

16,967

(12.5)

17,417

(12.3)

N2O

146

(1.4)

1,885

(1.5)

1,944

(1.4)

2,055

(1.5)

HFC

-

675

(0.5)

788

(0.6)

1,046

(0.7)

PFC

1,915

(2.3)

390

(0.3)

637

(0.5)

540

(0.4)

SF6

308

(0.4)

778

(0.6)

777

(0.6)

498

(0.3)

TOTAL

83,286

(100.0)

125,113

(100.0)

135,801

(100.0)

141,334

(100.0)

Parenthesis representing percentage

Emissions of ozone-depleting substances (ODS)

There is no data available on the emissions of ozone depleting substances. However, there is data available for consumption of ozone depleting substances. 

<Consumption of ozone depleting substances (units: ton)> 

Substances

Year

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
CFCs 28,740 21,655 11,202 10,946 10,807 9,022 9,813 5,852 7,796
Halon

926

806

408

411

445

499

430

289

298

                                                                        (source: Environmental Statistic Yearbook)

Challenges

Although sulfur dioxide concentrations have been declining since 1990 due to the supply of cleaner fuels and low-sulfur oil, ozone and fine particles (PM-10) still remain a major source of urban air pollution. The government must make a concerted effort to improve urban air quality. Comprehensive approaches are expected to be taken by different governmental sectors such as reform of the energy pricing regime and establishment of an environmentally friendly transportation system. Different views among ministries concerned hamper the establishment and implementation of an integrated air pollution control program. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The government is conducting environmental education programs for the general public including young children, women, entrepreneurs, and scientists. Education is provided for all primary, secondary and university level students and teachers. 

The Environmental Officials Training Institute, a subsidiary of the MOE, provides compulsory education for government officials and engineers involved with pollution control and prevention. The Korea Environmental Preservation Association organizes education and training programs for environmental managers of firms. NGOs and civic organizations are also participating in environmental education activities for the general public, which are supported by the MOE.  

Mass media, such as newspapers and TV, play a key role in improving public awareness in the field of environmental problems as well as climate change issue. Brochures and booklets are also regarded as a useful tool in the Republic of Korea.

Information 

Various air pollution control policies and programs as well as air quality data are available on the MOE website (www.me.go.kr) which is regularly updated. Part of the air quality data is obtained from the website of the National Institute of Environmental Research (www.nier.go.kr). The National Environmental Technology Information Center, under the MOE, provides information related to environmental technology on its website (www.konetic.or.kr).  

Information relating to climate change and energy are also provided on the website of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (www.mocie.go.kr) and Korea Energy Economics Institute (www.keei.re.kr).

Research and Technologies 

The MOE has established a nationwide ambient air quality monitoring network which measures six air pollutants. These pollutants are sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead.  Each station is also equipped to monitor acid rain.  The data collected from these stations are transmitted to the MOE and published periodically on the MOEfs website (www.me.go.kr). 

With respect to research and development in the field of environment, the government has been carrying out the Environmental Technology Development Project from 1992 to 2001.  As follow-up activities, the Eco-technopia 21 will be launched starting from 2001. It is a ten year project aiming for developing environmental technologies to address challenges in the 21st century.  

At the same time, the government is carrying out research on greenhouse gas and air pollutant reduction technologies. 

Financing 

The MOE budget for the year 2000 increased 12.9% from 1,154billion won (910 million USD) in 1999 to 1,302billion won (1,026.8million USD) and now accounts for 2.32% of the governmentfs total budget (125,179 billion won, 98.7million USD). About 3.6% (47 billion won, 37million USD) of MOEfs budget is allocated for air pollution control. This represents a 390% increase in the air pollution control budget, and the budget is expected to continue to increase.

Cooperation

Recently, there is a growing concern about the long-range transport of air pollutants in the East Asian region. Research projects on this are jointly conducted among the neighboring countries of the Republic of Korea, Japan, and China.

 The Republic of Korea is experiencing adverse health effects and daily inconveniences caused by Louiss aerosol, also known as the yellow sand phenomenon, originating from desert areas in China and Mongolia. The Tripartite Meeting of Environment Ministers among Korea, China and Japan reached an agreement to carry out the project on Ecosystem Restoration for the western part of China. The Meeting was held in February 2000, and the Workshop on Ecological Conservation in Northeast China followed in December. 

In the field of transboundary air pollution, a five-year (1999~2004) joint research project is being conducted among the three countries. In addition, the Republic of Korea is participating in the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET), which was initiated by the Japanese government along with ten countries in the East Asian region since 1993.       

In order to study the effect of transboundary air pollution and possible abatement measures, The Republic of Korea is to foster cooperation among the East Asian countries, and joined the Convention on Climate Change in December 1993 to solve the climate change problems. In accordance with the recommendation of the Convention, The Republic of Korea has prepared a national report on the emission of greenhouse gases and has encouraged research into the possible measures to reduce the production and emission of such gases.

The Republic of Korea ratified the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 1993, and signed the Kyoto Protocol in September 1998. The government is ready to constructively join international efforts by fully enforcing the Kyoto protocol by 2002. 

The Republic of Korea also acceded to the Vienna Convention, the Montreal Protocol and its London Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in December 1992. Subsequently, the Republic of Korea accepted the Copenhagen Amendment and the Montreal Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in February 1994 and August 1998, respectively. Domestic measures to phase out ozone depleting substances, which is a requirement of the Convention, the Protocol, and its Amendments, have been successfully taken.

 

 

* * *

This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 2001.

For national information on air quality preservation, click here:
Click here for national information from the Web site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

BIODIVERSITY


Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment is responsible for biodiversity conservation in The Republic of Korea. It shares the responsibility with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Forestry Administration), the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Health and Welfare. There is no governmental unit or research center that operates only for biodiversity related activities. Instead, most of the governmental agencies and research centers are closely related to biodiversity. For this purpose, the Nature Conservation Bureau in the Ministry of Environment is taking a central role. The Bureau conducted a survey on the conservation of biodiversity in The Republic of Korea. They conducted a nationwide study entitled "Biodiversity Korea 2000" in 1994.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In the national legislation, the Natural Environment Conservation Act provides the basic and comprehensive legal basis for biodiversity conservation activities. This act is presently under revision. The Natural Park Act, the Cultural Properties Protection Act, the Forestry Act, and the Law Concerning Wildlife Protection and Hunting are also part of conservation measures. There is a national plan called the Master Plan for Natural Environmental Preservation for nature conservation, including the biodiversity conservation and the National Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation which will be adopted in early 1997. The central Government, local governments, experts, NGOs, and land owners of forest areas and protected areas share the responsibility of biodiversity conservation. However, the Government's role is still the most important.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

While reinforcing existing policies, The Republic of Korea will take additional measures to conserve biodiversity. The National Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation was concluded at the end of 1996. New ecosystem protection approaches are to be applied, in which harmonization between the land owner's right and the efficient management of protected areas will be pursued with great emphasis. The second national survey on the natural environment will be undertaken from 1997 to 2001. The identification of valuable and vulnerable ecosystems and species is one of the main objectives of the national survey.

Various kinds of protected areas such as natural ecosystem protection areas, national parks, bird and mammal protection areas, and natural forest protection areas function as in situ biodiversity conservation areas. They cover around seven per cent of the total land area. In addition, The Republic of Korea has adopted several species protection measures such as creating "Natural Monument", "Special Wild Fauna and Flora", and "Protected Wild Birds and Mammals" classifications to protect endangered or declining wild species. Despite these activities, biodiversity in The Republic of Korea has diminished continuously as a result of rapid economic development. Over 180 species, including tigers and leopards, have disappeared or are endangered.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

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

Financial resources to cover various biodiversity programs have been limited. Although the national budget for nature conservation in 1994 was estimated at 585 billion Korean won (or 730 Million US dollars), finance for biodiversity conservation has not yet been estimated systematically. As the emphasis on these matters gradually grows, financial resources will be expanded.

Cooperation

The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed in 1992 and ratified in 1994. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was signed in 1993 and the latest report submitted in 1995. The Republic of Korea is also preparing to join the Ramsar Convention.

The Republic of Korea has also taken active roles in regional cooperation programs such as the East Asia Biosphere Reserve Network (EABRN) under the Man and Biosphere(MAB) Program of UNESCO.

 

 

* * *

This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on the wild flowers and national parks of the Republic of Korea, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, 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

| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the primary organization responsible for this sector which is most closely allied to forestry issues.

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 

Desertification is one of the most serious regional problems, especially in Africa and Asia. Desertification not only diminishes the environmental quality of affected countries, but also indirectly affects neighbouring countries. Furthermore, land degradation resulting from erosion caused by ecosystem disturbances such as climate fluctuations, deforestation, and agricultural/livestock exploitation raises serious environmental problems. By limiting land use and reducing soil productivity, desertification creates a significant financial burden on soil protection and rehabilitation projects.

Specifically, in the past several decades of socioeconomic turbulence in The Republic of Korea (i.e. the Korean War), deforestation has resulted in landslides, droughts, and floods. Thus, the Government of The Republic of Korea has been actively engaged in rehabilitation and reforestation efforts since the 1960s. Efforts have been focused on degraded mountain regions. Past efforts have been successful in reversing and preventing further soil degradation. The Republic of Korea will continue to contribute to global efforts by rehabilitating degraded land and ecosystem conservation and providing international cooperation for combating desertification. To establish and implement systematic measures necessary for land rehabilitation, a national survey on small dispersed areas of denuded and degradable sites will be carried out and the resulting data will be utilized.

Moreover, the Government will positively consider the ratification of the UN Convention on Combating Desertification and actively participate in international conventions to combat desertification. The Republic of Korea has accumulated valuable experiences and technology from past reforestation and erosion control projects in denuded lands. Therefore, The Republic of Korea's vast experience and modern technology could be used to help solve desertification problems in seriously affected countries. The Government will also strengthen Northeast Asian regional cooperation through bilateral cooperation and multilateral joint projects.

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

The International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa was signed in 1994.

The Republic of Korea has strengthened cooperation with various countries in forestry development and management through such efforts as the signing of the Forestry Techniques Agreement with Germany and the Forestry Cooperation Agreement with Indonesia. Recently, The Republic of Korea has broadened international cooperation with neighbouring countries for the exchange of forestry experts and joint research programs. The Government has also increased forestry cooperation efforts with The Russia Federation through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on forestry cooperation in 1991.

Since the 1980s, the Government has invited many Government officials from developing countries in southeast Asia and other regions working in forest development and management areas, and it has provided educational and training programs for these officials on reforestation, erosion control, forest protection and forest management. Through these opportunities, The Republic of Korea was able to accumulate new information and advanced technologies. In addition, the Government has strengthened cooperation with international organizations such as the FAO and ITTO.

The UNCED's "Forest Principles" points out that an exchange of knowledge and information is critical in solving global deforestation problems. To this end, The Republic of Korea will actively increase bilateral and international cooperation through participating in various activities sponsored by international organizations that aim to implement the Forest Principles and other various international conventions on forestry.

 

 

* * *

This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

| Republic of Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy (MOCIE) manages the Special Account for Energy and takes responsibility for planning and guiding all energy-related activities. In addition, MOCIE plays an important role in sponsoring energy corporations and research institutes such as Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Korea Gas Corporations (KOGAS), Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), and Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI). According to the Rational Energy Utilization Act, MOCIE formulates National Energy Basic Plan every 5 years and takes full responsibility for implementing that plan.  

In addition, The Task Force on Energy Pricing teamed up with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Energy, Ministry of Construction & Transportation, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Finance & Economy etc. is working on energy price reform to reduce growing energy consumption in industrial and transportation sectors. 

The Ministry of Construction & Transportation tries to improve urban transportation system and thus reduce air pollutant emissions by enhancing an access to public transportation system in partnership with local governments. 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In 1979 the government promulgated the Rational Energy Utilization Act to implement comprehensive and aggressive policies on energy efficiency and conservation. In 1997, this act was revised to incorporate a Pre-notification System of Energy Prices, which was designed to make consumers more responsive to energy policies.  

According to the Rational Energy Utilization Act:

-         Measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions shall be considered when the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy established National Energy Plan (Article 4) or when City Mayor or Local Governor establishes Local Energy Plan (Article 5).

-         Those who desire to carry out a project of bigger than a specified scale (10 thousand toe/yr.) shall consult a relevant authority after analyzing its carbon dioxide emissions (Article 8, Article 9).

-         To minimize environmental impacts from increasing energy supply, energy suppliers shall reinforce Demand Side Management(DSM)(Article 12(1),(2))

-         To encourage voluntary energy conservation of energy-intensive industries. Voluntary Agreement Program shall be introduced(Article 12(2))

-         If it deems necessary for energy efficiency enhancement, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy may order public institutions to use or install energy-efficient facilities(Article 13)

-         Korea Energy Management Corporation(KEMCO) may function as Energy Service Company(ESCO) to encourage energy-intensive industries to install energy-efficient facilities and to implement CO2 emissions reduction program(Article 76, Article 77(2)) 

Regulations, incentives, subsidies directed at consumers: The government has played a central role in price setting process. For the regulation purpose, the government imposed customs tariffs, VAT, special excise tax, traffic tax etc. to reduce energy consumption including oil, LNG, and coal and increase revenues. A progressive tariff is being imposed to reduce electricity consumption in households. The government has implemented demand side management programs such as load management, time-of-use rate system, discount system for voluntary curtailment, and rebate for efficient lighting systems. To reduce energy consumption in the transportation sector, the government imposes progressive car tax to reduce the demand for motor vehicles and control the demand for large sedans.  

Regulation, incentive, subsidies directed at industries: The government bans the production and sale of appliances and equipment, which do not meet the Minimum Efficiency Performance Standards. The government provides 5% tax credit for the investment in energy-efficient facilities as well as facilities using renewable energy. In addition, 5.5-7.5% low-interest loans are offered for energy service companies (ESCOs) and investment in energy-efficient facilities as well as facilities using renewable energy.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

National energy policy are based on following core principles:

-         high efficiency, low energy intensity socio-economic structure;

-         enhancement of energy security;

-         reduction of greenhouse gas emissions;

-         successful completion of energy industry restructuring;

 The government sets the challenging goal as follows:

-         to provide 2% of  the total energy consumption with renewable energy by 2006

-         to build one million energy efficient homes during the next 10 years by providing tax incentives, subsidies, and performance certification programs.

-         to provide one million households with Combined Heat and power by 2002

-         to sign a Voluntary Agreement with 600 energy intensive industries by 2003

 Development of energy policy options: The Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI), supported by MOCIE, is nations principal energy policy research organization. It provides a broad range of research works on energy policy options to the government, industry and non-profit organizations faced with energy challenges.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Green Energy Family (GEF) Movement: Green Energy Family Movement, started in 1995, was designed to address global environmental problems by enhancing energy efficiency through diffusion of energy-efficient facilities in the Republic of Korea. Green Energy Family is a partnership movement of systematic and voluntary participation from the citizens, companies, NGOs and the press. Green Energy Family is a nationwide volunteered and cooperative economic movement to enhance energy efficiency and reduce social costs. Through participation in Green Energy Family, companies can reduce energy costs, while energy providers can lessen the burden of expanding energy supply capacity. The government can guide technological development with low cost and inform the public of the importance of energy efficiency. Energy conservation problem cannot be solved simply by cost reduction. It should be perceived as environmental ethics of the society. GEF is in pursuit of sustainable development through the actions of harmonizing 3Es(Energy, the Economy, and Environment). Rapid increase in energy consumption causes global warming. GEF is a voluntary nationwide energy/environment movement which started with the purpose of contributing to addressing global environmental problem through energy conservation and COreduction. Companies participating in GEF Movement are 419 companies in Green Lighting Movement, 69 companies in Green Motor Movement, 51 companies in Green Energy Design Movement and 32 companies in Green Cooling Movement, totaling 571 companies in 1,374 operating sites in total. 

Citizen Coalition for Energy Conservation: In 2000, Citizen Coalition for Energy Conservation were established in concert with the government to promote consumer participation in energy conservation efforts. In addition, a lot of experts in energy and environment joined the NGO. The NGO are making efforts to change consumption pattern of consumers as well as to increase opportunities for consumer to play a leading role in energy conservation.

Programmes and Projects 

Direct and government-funded subsidies are widely used to defray the higher, up-front capital costs of renewable technologies. For example, Local Energy Program is greatly contributing to the installation of facilities using renewable energy. Under this program, the central government (MOCIE) provides local governments with subsidies to effectively implement the installation of facilities using renewable energy such as photovoltaics, wind power etc. This program consists of 2 sub-programs: the Infrastructure Build-up Program such as the establishment of local energy planning, the feasibility study on the new & renewable energy with great potential in the local area, and public awareness enhancement of energy efficiency, fully supported with 100% of project costs; and the Demonstration Project to invest in the energy efficient facilities or the utilization of the new & renewable energy with great potential in the local area, provided with 80% of capital costs.

< Local Energy Developments Projects: E6~2000>

 

No. of projects

Subsidy

( million won)

Local Energy Infrastructure

131

6,455

Pilot Project for Local Energy

68

22,956

Total

169

29,411

 Expansion of Combined Heat & Power: It is a program to provide mass energy consumers with heat and electricity through cogeneration including municipal waste incineration, industrial waste heat. There are two major areas; District Heating & Cooling and Industrial Complex Combined Heat & Power (CHP). For the promotion of the program, the government enacted Comprehensive Energy Supply ActEin1991 and has been providing the suppliers and users with tax incentives, environmental regulation relaxation and long-term low interest loan of US$ 1 million since 1983. Until 1999, District Heating have provided to 912,000 households in 18 districts, covering 8.1% of total households. 211 buildings are being supplied with district cooling. In addition, 16 companies are providing Combined Heat & Power (CHP) in 17 industrial complexes.

Financial Support to promote Energy Service Company (ESCO): Energy Service Company invests in energy utilizing facility with guarantee of performance and later collects the invested capital and profit from the saved energy cost. As of 1999, 55 companies are registered as ESCO. The government has supported ESCO with US$54 million of long-term low-interest rate loan and has triggered the market development by demonstration projects and procurements in the public sector.

Green Energy Family Movement: To enhance public awareness about benefits from energy-efficient equipment and facilities, GEF initiated Green Lighting, Green Motor and Green Energy Design Program.

Energy Auditing: Energy Auditing is an information transfer program to assist energy consumers in understanding and employing technologies and practices to use energy more efficiently. MOCIE provides energy auditing services for energy-intensive industries and buildings. Depending on the performance, financial supports are provided if necessary.

Energy Efficiency Standards & Labeling Program: Started in 1992 for market development and public awareness of energy-efficient products, the objective of the program is to encourage manufactures to produce more energy-efficient products by offering incentives so that end-users can have more options to purchase energy-efficient products.

Financial Support for Energy Efficiency Investment: To encourage the installation of energy efficient equipment and facilities, the government funds $330 million a year with long-term low-interest for Integrated Energy Supply, Energy Efficient Facility Installation, Alternative Energy Dissemination and Housing Insulation. Furthermore, it supports energy conservation companies (ESCOs) with initial capital investment.

Voluntary Agreement (VA): An agreement between energy-intensive company and the government. A company sets a goal for GHG reduction and concrete action plan, and the government supports the company with various measures.

R & D and Dissemination of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Technology: MOCIE is supporting research, development and dissemination of energy-efficient technologies, new and renewable energy technologies and clean energy technologies. 33 energy efficiency technology development programs, including those related to industrial boilers, furnaces and motors, are under way, and new & renewable energy development programs including photovoltaics, biomass and wind power are under way. 

Community-driven Energy Projects: Series of projects are developed to support local governments in implementing measures to rationalize energy-use. MOCIE provides energy technology information and supports energy conservation projects of the local governments through KEMCO main local centers. 

Energy Saving in the Public Sector: The government initiated the Energy Saving Performance Contracting Program to help the public buildings sector reduce energy consumption. In addition, the government made it a priority for the central government agencies and local administrations to use energyefficient equipment and appliances such as high-efficiency motors, 26mm slim-type fluorescent lamps. The government continues to monitor the effects of such energy-saving activities and provide related information through workshops and other public campaigns.

Status 

The share of fire woods and other renewable energy, which had accounted for nearly 20% of the Republic of Koreas total energy consumption in the early 1970s, has been reduced to less than 1% in 1999. Since it was introduced in the mid-19980s, LNG grows to cover 9.1% of total energy consumption. The Republic of Korea launched nuclear energy program in the late 1970s and currently supplies 14.2% of its energy needs through nuclear power generation. In 1999, the Republic of Korea paid 23 bil. US$ for its energy import, which was equivalent to 19.0% of its total import. The Republic of Korea, poor in natural resources endowment depends on overseas importation for over 97% of its energy supply. In 1999, the Republic of Korea has been ranked as the 10th largest energy consumer in the world as well as 3rd largest oil importer.  

< Primary Energy Consumption>

(Unit: 1,000TOE)

 

Coal

Petroleum

LNG

Hydro

Nuclear

Fire Wood

& Other

Total

1996

32,200

99,898

12,172

1,301

18,481

1,161

165,213

1997

34,799

109,080

14,792

1,351

19,272

1,344

180,638

1998

36,039

90,582

13,838

1,525

22,422

1,526

165,932

1999

38,155

97,270

16,849

1,517

25,766

1,806

181,363

 

The Republic of Korea has been transformed from a barely self-sustaining agricultural economy into a highly sophisticated and export-oriented industrial one. Since major energy intensive industries such as steel, cement, paper, and petrochemical industries have led manufacturing sector, the Republic of Koreas economic growth has been accompanied by even faster growth in its energy consumption, which resulted in large trade deficit. According to rapid change in consumption pattern and economic growth, transportation, residential and commercial sectors are growing fast while requiring a large amount of fuels.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Public Campaign on Energy Efficiency & Conservation: MOCIE has been actively engaged in the public campaign to draw nationwide public interest in energy efficiency and conservation. To this end, the government produces and distributes VTR cassettes, movies and various PR materials including fans, hats and hangs street campaign banners, although mass media such as TV, radio, newspapers and diverse types of publications are employed as a major PR means. The government also carries out activities in concert with businesses and NGOs in order to enhance the people's awareness and participation in energy conservation efforts. Moreover, it organizes exhibitions and diverse cultural events on a regional basis to publicize successful cases of energy conservation. Practical technologies and information on energy conservation can effectively reach individual industries and homes through those channels. 

Energy Conservation Events : November is designated as the "Energy Conservation Month", when various enlightenment events are held to draw the public people's interest in energy conservation. And the first Friday of every month is designated as the "Energy Conservation Day". Energy Conservation Exhibition named ENCONEX has been annually organized since 1975 to propagate updated energy conservation technologies and equipment home and abroad, and to provide information on specified technologies for interested companies in the industry, buildings and transportation sectors. Energy Conservation Convention has also been biennially held to arouse the energy conservation spirit among people and to award those who made considerable contributions to the cause.

Energy Pavilion: Energy Pavilion was constructed within the Exposition Science Park precinct in Taejon in 1993. It functions as a living text of all aspects of energy. In 1999, total 202,857 people visited this pavilion.

Fostering Training Course: This course is to foster operators of energy-equipment subject to certification inspection, operators of gas boilers and certified energy managers. Anyone who is not a certified engineer but desires to become the operator of energy equipment subject to certification inspection takes this course. This course, consisted of 20 hours (3 days) includes structure and operation of the boiler and pressure vessel, fundamentals of boiler management, fuel and combustion control, etc. Anyone who is a certified engineer of the equipment subject to either general or certification inspection, but desires to become an operator of the gas boiler at the same time takes this course, too. It includes fundamentals of the LPG and LNG, operation, maintenance and safety control of the gas boiler, etc.  

Education for Local Energy Planning Officials: In 1999, 290 local officials responsible for local energy planning were educated for five days on local energy planning guidelines, governmental energy conservation policies, and so on.

 Early Education: The Ministry of Education designated 26 elementary and 6 middle schools as "Demonstration Energy Conservation Schools" in 1999. In addition to financial assistance of about US$ 5,417 per each school, the government supports educational aids such as books, videotapes and diskettes for the designated schools. As authorized by the law, KEMCO is in charge of training programs for the energy managers and operators of energy equipment and facilities to upgrade their skills as well as enhance their safety control proficiency. There are a variety of training and education courses. 

Practical Business Training Course: All energy manager or operators of energy-equipment in a company are eligible for this training course of one day (7 hours). The curriculum includes policies of energy conservation, law & regulations related to rational energy utilization, efficiency & safety of energy-equipment, new technologies of conservation, measures of preparing for the Convention on Climate Change, etc.

 Other Training & Education Courses: There are other training & educational courses for the staffs of cooperative organizations in the field of energy conservation, the staffs in charge of PR & education in energy-related organizations, managers of energy appliances manufacturing companies and managers of outstanding companies in energy management.

Information 

MOCIE supports energy conservation business through collecting, analyzing, processing and disseminating energy information through internet, PC communication networks and publications. Analyzed and processed information and data is also available for end-users such as universities, industries, research institutes and the general public.

 Energy Statistics Materials Gathering and Publication

 MOCIE and KEEI collect and analyze energy information about supply and demand trend from diverse domestic and foreign sources. Processed statistical data & information are published and circulated in the form of printouts and books so that end-users may have access to the basic data for their energy conservation business.

Energy Data & Information Service through PC Communication Networks and Internet 

Through PC communication network and Internet homepage (www.mocie.go.kr),  MOCIE offers the latest energy information. 

Operation of Business Promotion Office  

MOCIE provides total business service network named "Inno-Net"(http://innonet.ne.kr) to strengthen the competitiveness of the small- and medium-sized companies competitive power.

 Energy Cyber Adventure

 Energy Cyber Adventure was held on Internet (http://event.kemco.or.kr) for a month in Sep. 1999 with various kinds of events such as energy conservation quiz, games, etc. to draw public attention to energy conservation. About 30,000 people participated in the events.

Publications  

KEMCO publishes and distributes periodicals which contain useful and diverse new energy conservation technologies and systems, successful cases of energy conservation in some companies, outstanding and effective energy conservation policy programs in some governments, etc., with a view to playing a bridge role in information exchange among organizations concerned. "Energy Management", a monthly staple magazine of KEMCO, has a circulation of some 7,000 a month. About 7,000 copies of "Energy Conservation Handbook" containing energy information such as energy policies and the present energy situation at home and abroad are biennially published. It also publishes some other books including "Energy Products Directory", "Statute Book of the Rational Energy Utilization", "Energy Consumption Statistics", "Technical Information Pamphlet", and so on.

Research and Technologies 

New & renewable energy accounted for 1.05%(1,901 thousand tons of oil equivalent) of total energy supply as of the end of 1999. Municipal and industrial waste represents 92.7% of total new & renewable energy. Although solar thermal water heating units have successfully been commercialized and deployed, they are still less competitive in energy market and thus account for only 2.2%. Also photovoltaic system technologies have completed basic research phase and entered the utilization phase, expanding use of photovoltaic power system in isolated small islands. But only 0.2% of the total renewable energy comes from photovoltaic system due to a variety of market barriers. 

<Use of New & Renewable Energy: 1998>

 

 

Biomass

 

Solar Thermal

Small Hydro Power

Photovolatic Power System

 

Wind Power

 

Total

Amount

(1000toe)

1,640.4

(1,577.2: waste)

44.0

27.2

3.7

0.4

1,715.7

Share

(%)

95.6

2.6

1.6

0.2

-

100

 Photovoltaics

 In 1980s photovoltaic systems for telecommunication, navigation lights, and measurement equipment, has been installed for demonstration. The demonstration of monocrystalline silicon photovoltaic module was achieved through R&D program. In addition, operation & maintenance technology development has facilitated photovoltaic system deployment. As a result, electricity generation cost of photovoltaic systems on island is similar to, even lower than those of diesel power plants because they require relatively low maintenance cost. The government concluded that photovoltaic systems are the most appropriate power systems for small islands with less than 50 households. Rural electrification by photovoltaic systems was initiated to provide remote areas with electricity in remote islands in 1990s. A stand-alone photovoltaic system of 100KW on Ho island in Chungnam province was built with domestic materials and equipment in 1993, and another facility on Hawa island in Chungnam was upgraded from 25 KW to 60 KW in 1995. To effectively create a market for photovoltaic systems, a new exhibition center was opened in 1997 at Jungyeo Park in Kwangju city. Total installed capacity of photovoltaic systems amounted to 3.7MWp by 1999. But more R&D investments will be needed to make photovoltaic systems competitive in energy market. A portfolio of measures will play an important role to broadly install grid-connected photovoltaic systems.

Solar Thermal Energy

 Unlike the other heating systems, solar thermal types require relatively low initial investment cost and have proven to be cost-effective. The government is making efforts to spread residential use of solar water heating systems in rural areas and small- and medium-sized cities. Currently, low-temperature solar thermal system is commercially available and medium-high solar collector systems are under development. 178,000 units of residential solar thermal water heater have been installed as of 1999. There is a large market potential in the areas such as fish farming, swimming pool, process heat and so on. For more deployment, investments in solar thermal energy infrastructure and demonstration project of solar thermal energy technology should be enhanced.  

Wind Power 

Energy generated from wind power would be economically feasible if the average wind speed is more than 4~5m/sec. In the Republic of Korea, wind energy resources are available along coasts, on high mountains and in small islands. By the end of 1999, 17 wind plants have been installed with a total capacity of 6.8MW in Jeju island, Muan, and so on. Especially, the central government in partnership with local governments is implementing a wind power project in Jeju Island as a benchmark for renewable energy deployment in the Republic of Korea. As of February 2000, 7 units are in operation and 3 units are under construction. In addition, a feasibility study was conducted for the power plant using both photovoltaic and wind power in small islands which do not have access to the national electricity power grid system. Meanwhile, the private sector is involved in development of blade and induction generator technology. 

Renewable Energy and Biomass 

To promote energy from municipal waste and reduce burden on landfills, the government continues to disseminate municipal solid waste incinerators linked with district heating and industrial waste incinerators. Combustible municipal waste has a calorific value of more than 5,000 kcal/kg, with high conversion potential into heat energy. In 1993, the Waste Management Law was revised to encourage industrial complexes to use waste as a feedstock for waste heat production. New industrial complexes with areas of greater than 500,000 m2 are required to install collective industrial incinerators. However, installation of incinerator has brought about complaints about air pollution from local community. Therefore, significant prevention measures and campaign will be required to make those facilities much more acceptable in the local community. In the future, the government will promote industrial incinerators to solve waste disposal problem as well as to make most of the heat energy generated from waste incineration. 

Landfill gas recovery has a significant potential because organic waste generation accounts for 26.5% of total municipal waste at 11,774 ton/day (1998), 70.4% of which are stored in landfills. Despite its high potential, landfill gas recovery is still relatively at a primitive state of development. There has not been the project on commercial landfill- gas recovery in the Republic of Korea yet. But 14 large-scale landfill sites present attractive opportunities for project development with the estimated gas generations of 647 thousand m3/day.  

Methane gas recovery from agricultural and industrial organic waste is also available, totaling 310.8 steam ton/day at 104 facilities such as livestock farms, water treatment facilities, and liquor factories as of the end of 1999. In the meantime, as an alternative to fuel wood, use of fuels made of rice husk, which is one of the largest wastes, generated at rice paddy, amounted to 24 thousand toe. 

Currently, renewable energy is not economically feasible in the Republic of Korea. Compared to the conventional fossil fuels, renewable energy is still costlier. The generation cost of wind power installed on Jeju island is nearly 0.1$/kWh without considering labor cost for O & M. For photovoltaics, the generation cost is more than 1$/kWh. But, it can be competitive with other power plants in remote islands. Nuclear power is considered to be much cheaper than renewable energy. However, in the face of strong complaints and opposition from local communities it has difficulties finding a place for nuclear waste disposal. Hydropower is also cheaper electricity power source. However, it is difficult to find appropriate sites for hydropower projects. 

The government established the 10-year National Plan for Energy Technology Development (1997-2006) which incorporates three energy technology plans: new & renewable energy, clean energy, and energy efficient technology. The main goals of the plan are to meet 2% of total energy supply by new & renewable energy by 2006; to reduce 10% of final energy consumption by 2006; to advance clean energy technologies, especially to reduce SOx, NOx, dust and CO2.

<10-year National Plan for Energy Technology Development>

 

High-Priority Program

General program

Energy

Efficient

Technology

Industry

Chemical Separation Technology

Dryer

Energy Conversion  & Storage

HVAC

Industrial Energy

Combustion

Dying Machinery

Paper Machinery

Process Control and Automation

Chemical Reaction Process

Heat Exchange

Structural Materials

Functional Materials

Buildings

Energy Efficient Building Technology

Building Energy Management

Building Automation System

Building Insulation

Transportation

 

Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Electricity

Lighting System

Induction Motor

Small-Scale Cogeneration

Refrigeration

Customer Electricity Management

Electric Exchange

Energy Storage

Electric Heat

Superconductivity Power Equipment

Demand Side Management

New & Renewable Energy

Solar Thermal

Photovoltaics

Fuel Cell

IGCC

Biomass

Wind Power

Coal Utilization Technology

Clean Energy

Fluidized Bed Combustion

Coal Ash Utilization Technology

Combustion Treatment Technology

New Catalyst for Oil Refining

CO2 Separation and Recovery

Coal Preparation

Pulverized Coal Combustion

Regeneration and Treatment of Used Catalyst

Biocatalytic Desulfurization and Pro-cess Development for Oil Refining

Fixation and Utilization CO2

To meet this challenge, the government established goals for energy technology, taking into consideration current technological level, available funds and market potential. In addition, the government selected 21 high-priority programs to promote early commercialization and deployment and make R & D program more effective taking into consideration: firstly high energy saving potential; secondly environmental friendliness; and lastly high initial capital cost which increases private investment risks.

High-priority programs are selected by the following criteria: a technology which has a large potential for energy conservation, energy security, and environmental protection; a technology which the private sector finds it difficult to develop due to the lack of economic feasibility, and thus should be initiated by the government.

 Four high-priority programs among 11 new & renewable energy technologies were selected taking into account the market potential and competitiveness of those technologies. The high-priority programs thus selected are solar thermal energy, photovoltaic power system, fuel cell, and IGCC.

Financing 

Investment in energy-saving facilities or R&D of energy technologies entails great expenses, which is a practical burden on manufacturers. Besides, small- and medium- enterprises may not have adequate access to normal banking channels. The preferential long-term loans and/or various tax incentives provided by the government may encourage voluntary participation in energy efficiency and conservation investments.  

The government has provided long-term and low interest rate loans from the Fund for the Rational Use of Energy (hereinafter referred to as the "Fund"), along with tax incentives, for energy efficiency and conservation investments. KEMCO funded by the MOCIE is in charge of its management and monitoring.  

Types of Projects to be Funded and Size of Loan 

The fund for rational use of energy supports rational use of energy, mass energy supply projects and dissemination of alternative energy projects. 

Rational use of energy may be achieved by the installation of energy conservation facilities which include cogeneration facilities for industry & large buildings, production of high-efficient products, non-electric cooling systems, installation of energy conservation facilities, regional energy development projects and energy service companies (ESCOs).

Types of Fund to be Loaned Installation Costs  

which are eligible for loan include: the purchase of the proper facilities and their incidental facilities & equipment; installation and retrofit works; design and superintendence (including expenses for the introduction of technology) and; test run of the facilities, expenses for the purchase of land and expenses for erecting buildings which do not contain constructions indispensable for the installation of the facilities. But, in case of mass energy supply projects by local governments and government-sponsored institutes, the expenses for the purchase of the building site for installing facilities are funded and in case of regional energy development projects by local governments, the expenses for feasibility study are funded. 

Operation Costs  

Those are confined to the expenses needed for the operation of one-rotation (3 months) of the facilities on the basis of the annual or estimated sales of the products produced by the facilities.

Terms of Loan (as of 1999) 

The loans for installing energy-saving facilities or equipment in most cases have 3- to 5- year grace period and 5-year repayment period with 5.5-7.5 % of interest rate which are about half the market or prime rates. Up to 90-100% of investment money can be provided to the applicants. The maximum amount eligible for industrial energy-saving facilities and VA is 3 billion won per project; 5 billion won per project for ESCOs and regional energy development; 1 billion won for energy-saving facilities in building and transportation; 10 million won per house for home insulation retrofit for housing. Funds are available to both the public and the private sector companies.  

Tax Incentives 

The government provides tax incentives for energy efficiency investments. Until 1997, the replacement with or installation of energy-efficient facilities and equipment has been qualified for 10% of income tax credit for domestic products while 3% for foreign ones. But since 1997, a 5% income tax credit has been applied regardless of its origin provided, Replacement of old industrial kilns, installation of energy-saving facilities, alternative energy facilities, other facilities which are assessed to save more than 10% of energy-consumption.

Cooperation

To address energy and environmental challenges, the Republic of Korea are strengthening the cooperation with the international agencies. Through this activity, the Republic of Korea maintains various channels with foreign countries to exchange technical and policy information and development of joint programs, and disseminates the information to the interested parties at home and abroad. 

Bilateral Cooperation 

KEMCO keeps close relationships with other relevant organizations abroad to exchange energy information and staffs, and to develop collaborative programs such as training, joint seminar or joint research. Its main partners are ECCJ, NEDO, DOE, ADEME. 

Multilateral Cooperation 

The Republic of Korea has actively participated in 11 programs by established IEA and energy cooperation in APEC.

The government has played a leading role in dealing with climate change. In order to formulate and implement measures to deal with the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), an inter-ministerial committee on the FCCC, comprised of related government agencies, research institutions and private companies, was established in April 1998 with the Prime Minister as the head of the committee. In December 1998, comprehensive measures to cope with FCCC were formulated, and have since been promoted.  

Poor in endowment of energy resources, the Republic of Korea has been aware of the importance of the rational utilization of energy and promoting systematically designed programs for energy conservation.  

After the Rio Conference, energy-saving efforts of the government of the Republic of Korea have been further strengthened. The government amended the Rational Energy Utilization Act, in January 1999, in order to mitigate CO2  emissions by coordinating the domestic energy conservation efforts with the global environmental issue.

* * *

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

 

| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Forestry Administration under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the primary organization responsible for the whole forestry sector, including policy formulation and coordination in the Republic of Korea. Under the direction of the Forestry Administration, five National Forest Offices and 30 Stations control the national forest management and provide extension services to local levels. In addition, there are two national research institutes, the Forestry Research Institute and the Forest Genetics Research Institute. The responsibility for managing public and private forests belongs to local governments.

After the Rio Summit meeting in 1992, forest policies have focused on sustainable forest management and conservation with regards to ecological functions of forests. In order to achieve this objective, institutional systems have been strengthened, including new divisions for conservation of forest environment at the Forestry Administration and Forestry Research Institute. Also, organizations of national forests have expanded, and to implement ecologically sound forest management, the Forest Law was substantially revised to elaborate directions toward sustainable forest management in Korea, and to include criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In accordance with the Forest Law, which was enacted in 1961 and amended in 1994 to reflect emerging challenges and opportunities in forest resource management, especially sustainable forest management as stressed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, the Fourth 10-year Forest Plan was formulated. The Fourth 10-year Forest Plan, initiated last year, puts emphasis on laying the groundwork for intensive forest management and sustainable forest management that will maintain a healthy and vital forest ecosystem and will produce forest products on a sustainable basis. To accomplish the policy’s goals, target areas were established for efficiently monitoring valuable forest resources, fostering competitive forest industries, and maintaining healthy and enjoyable forest environments.

National land use is one of the important factors affecting the implementation of sustainable forest management. Until recently, Korean forestlands were classified into two categories (reserve and semi-reserve forests). This classification has hindered more efficient and rational forestland development, mainly because it was inappropriate for the conservation and utilization of forestlands. To establish a more efficient forest land use system and more comprehensive management of the economic and environmental values of forests, the forest land use system was revised through the amendment of the Forest Law in 1994 to include three categories (production, environmental, and semi-reserve forest lands).

The Forestry Promotion and Advancement Law was recently formulated to promote the intensive management of private forests, which make up 71 percent of all forests in Korea. The management of private forests has been negligible because of a shortage of labor in rural communities, sharply increasing wage levels, and low timber prices. Its major goals, therefore, are to induce private forest owners to actively participation in managing forests and to strengthen the governmental subsidy systems in order to increase timber resources through strong governmental support and assistance.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In 1973, the first 10-year National Forest Plan was devised to complete the afforestation of bare forestlands and to enhance the protection of the existing forests. Through the Forest Plans, Korea has successfully afforested the country. In recent years, the primary theme in managing natural resources has been sustainable development so as to achieve and maintain a balance and harmony between development and conservation, as emphasized at UNCED and a variety of other international meetings. Therefore, the implementation of sustainable forest management is embodied in the Fourth Forest Plan, which was launched last year.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

To represent forest owners' interests, Forest Cooperative Associations are established, including central, provincial, and county associations. They undertake various forest management projects under concessions. Also, various interest groups participate in policy formulation and decision making process. To achieve sustainable forest management, major groups, including Model Forest Managers, local communities, environmental organizations, and educational societies play important roles.

Programmes and Projects 

The Forestry Administration launched the Comprehensive Development Projects of Mountain Village Regions in 1995 to promote the economy of mountain regions by developing new income sources and to put the residents in mountain villages in the forefront of implementing sustainable forest management.

Status 

Forests make up 65% of total land mass and are the most important natural resource in the country, and a dominant feature in shaping our traditions and culture. Outside of forests, about 20 percent of our land area are classified into croplands and the remaining 15 percent for other purposes, including housing development, industrial use, and other public uses. In comparison with other countries, the land area available for other purposes is quite small.

Since the early twentieth century, more than half of the forest resources had been devastated through the Japanese colonization, the Korean War, and other social turbulence. The denuded forestlands have been rehabilitated from successful forest greening movements and erosion control projects actively implemented since the 1960s. As of 1995, the forest area is about 6.5 million ha. The total growing stock reaches up to 296 million m. and the average stock per ha. Is about 48m, which is five times greater than in 1960.

While reforestation has been successfully accomplished, harvestable forest resources are extremely limited because about 90% of forests are under 30 years old with little economic value. The value of public benefits of forests including watershed function and recreation was estimated to account for 10% of GNP as of 1995. The domestic timber supply was 0.73 million m. which accounted for just 11% of the total demand in 1995. About 0.08% of forestland is harvested through small-scale clear-cutting or selective cutting of less than 5 ha. a year, and it is replanted immediately thereafter.

Eighty four percent of total waste wood is processed by the manufacturing industry and construction sectors. Although the ratios of recycled waste wood differ by origin, about 43 percent of total waste wood was recycled on average in 1997. The main products from recycled waste wood are panel products like particle board and MDF. Due to the implementation of relevant policies for encouraging recycling, it is expected that the ratio of recycled waste wood will increase.

Challenges

One of the most difficult obstacles hindering effective and intensive forest management practices is the excessive number of private owners, which results in forests that are too small to be managed efficiently. In many cases, the motives for privately owning forests is not for managing them, but rather for other purposes, such as real estate speculation, family graveyards, and inheritance. The private forest owners usually have not shown any interest or voluntarily participated in forest planning and management practices. With the recent amendment of regulations on forestland purchases that favor easier transactions, the number of private forest owners is expected decline in the future.

The forest sector is not considered a great possession to Korea's national economy, even though its environmental contributions are being emphasized much more than before. This situation has led to an insufficiency of information for determining the extent of market demand for certified timber products in Korea. At the same time, however, Korea is now considering environmental management systems, including timber certification, as a useful tool for attaining the goal of sustainable forest management and its potential application at the forest management unit level.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The various activities promoting the general public's awareness of forest cultures are under progress to ignite the traditional thoughts on nature of recognizing the harmony and balance among heaven, earth, and human beings and to refurbish nature-oriented environmental ethics.

Seventy-one percent of forestland is privately owned by over two million people. The active management of small-scale private forests is, therefore critical in achieving sustainable forest management. To promote safe forest management, projects for cooperative management of private forests and multiple purpose management related with short-term income sources, including mushrooms, mountain vegetables, bee-keeping, and wild flowers for improving living environments in rural communities are under progress across the country.

It has been emphasized that environmentally sound forest management or sustainable forestland management should be incorporated into forest resource management and planning. Also, environmental impact assessments of forest development have been recommended in order to achieve sustainable forest management.

Information 

Various kinds of information on forest-related policies can be accessed through the Internet. (http://www.foa.go.kr)

Research and Technologies 

At the Korean Forestry Research Institute, research was carried out to evaluate the accessibility of data for criteria and indicators at the national level based on those of the Montreal Process. These research projects are at the preliminary stage, and more research on criteria and indicators will be added in order to implement sustainable forest management in Korea. Currently, a research project on the methodologies for implementing sustainable forest management at the unit and site level is in progress.

Some preliminary research has been carried out on the elements discussed during the IPF (Intergovernmental Panel on Forests) and IFF processes, such as forest-related knowledge, transboundary air pollutants, criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, evaluation of the multiple benefits of forests, trade and environment, and timber certification. Relevant research will be strengthened and broadened, and the results will be utilized to implement IPF and IFF proposals for action through existing and, if appropriate, new legislation, forest policies, long-term forest plans, and forest programmes.

The feasibility of an assessment system for large-scale forest conversion has been continuously studied for possible introduction. The regulations on restoring degraded forestlands will be reinforced, and criteria for converting forest to other land uses will be established to help select forestlands that are more suitable for development and facilities that are more environmentally sound, based on the characteristics of the surrounding natural and other environments.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

Korea has actively participated in international initiatives on criteria and indicators and contributed to the progress toward sustainable forest management of all types of forests around the world. Korea has been a member of the Montreal Process Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests, the 12 member countries of which account for 90% of the world’s temperate and boreal forests. To promote international cooperation, Korea hosted the ninth meeting of the Montreal Process in Seoul in 1997.

Korea has also actively participated in every IPF (Intergovernmental Panel on Forests) session from its organization in 1995 through the fourth session in 1997, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Seoul participated as well in international meetings on the development of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, such as the Montreal process. Korea has been a member of the Montreal Process Working Group on Criteria and Indicators for the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Temperate and Boreal Forests and hosted the ninth meeting of the Montreal Process in 1997.

After the adoption of the Report of the UN Ad hoc Intergovernmental Panel on Forests at its fourth session in February 1997, the Korean government classified the actions proposed for implementation at the national level into 149 items. Such a classification of the proposed actions aims at identifying options for practical approaches to implementing the proposed actions at the national level. The assessments are in progress and their results will come out soon.

 

* * *

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 Forestry Administration, click here:

| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Construction and Transportation are responsible for nationwide policies on protection of the quality and supply of fresh water respectively. This divided responsibility sometimes becomes a constraint in achieving the Government's goals in this sector. When the Ministries opinions differ considerably the the Commission on Protection of the Quality and Supply of Freshwater Resources under the Prime Minister coordinates policies. This Commission is also charged with integrating and coordinating water management policy and water quality improvement works between the central and local governments. In addition there are bodies at the sub-national level dealing with water management such as the Regional Environment Management Offices and the Regional Construction and Management Offices. At the river basin level, there are the Committees on Rivers Management and the Committees on Water Management Countermeasures. These offices and committees are entrusted with working out local environmental policies, performing EIAs, and operating the air and water quality measurement network. They are also in charge of consulting on the management and development of water resources, including the maintenance and management of local water quality in cooperation with the local government and related agencies.

Local authorities are responsible for creating environmental preservation policies in the area under jurisdiction and other activities delegated to them by MOE. Especially in this field, NGOs play an important role as an intermediary between the Government and the people. NGOs promote understanding and voluntary participation of the people to preserve water quality, while conveying demands and concerns of the public to the Government.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Water Quality Preservation Act(1997), Rivers Act(1989), Multi-Purpose Dams Act(1993) comprise the general legal and regulatory framework for water resource management and development in Korea. The Agriculture and Fishery Improvement Act(1997) covers the use of water by agriculture; the Potable Water Act(1997) and the Sewer System Act(1997) cover its use by industry and the Potable Water Act(1997), and Drinking Water Management Act(1997) its use by households.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Freshwater is essential to the survival of living species and plants. Although the supply of water seems infinite, freshwater is limited. Of the total supply of annual water resources in The Republic of Korea, which is estimated to be 126.7 billion tons, about 54.8 billion tons are lost and about 42 billion tons are discharged or lost during floods. Because the country has limited water resources, it is imperative that it secure the required amount of water resources to sustain its future economic development. The Long Term Comprehensive Water Resources Plan is being formulated and implemented in order to promote the efficient allocation of water. To protect against drought, a water supply plan for distant rivers and the development of a plan for the use of underground water has been formulated and implemented.

In order to secure high quality water resources, in view of the rapid industrialization and urbanization, The Republic of Korea is formulating and implementing a Water Environment Plan. This plan includes measures to prevent the pollution of freshwater supplies such as: EIA requirements which have been promulgated, environmental and emissions standards that have been established and basic environmental facilities which have been expanded. The designation and management of Water Resources Protection Areas and Special Zones has been undertaken in order to conserve freshwater. Also there is the continuous measurement of water quality and limitations placed on the location of industrial facilities.

For comprehensive water resource development and establishment of an efficient management system, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, setting the year 2011 as the target year, will establish a long-term water resource development plan and take a systematic approach to water resource development. Actions to be taken for creating this system include:

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

The Central Environment Preservation Consultative Committee and the Consultative Committee for Water Policy Adjustment are the mechanisms which provide for participation of all major stakeholders in the decision-making process. Major environmental policies are discussed with the Policy Council of Private Environmental Organizations which consists of sixteen private environmental organizations. The private sector participates in the establishment and implementation of policies related to freshwater resources through councils or committees.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

Industry is responsible for only 9.2% of total fresh water use, and water supply is not a constraint to industrial development. The Government is, however, implementing strict regulations on industrial waste water discharge, including the designation of 29 water polluting substances and standards for the discharge of each of them. Industries are trying to develop waste water reuse technologies and are vigorously expanding investment to wastewater treatment facilities in industrial complexes.

Since The Republic of Korea is heavily dependent on its surface water resources, the Government places a high priority on the recovery and improvement of water quality of the surface water resources. For this purpose, the Government is strengthening standards for the permitted level of emission of industrial water effluents and the discharge of effluents by public waste disposal facilities. The Government has induced reduction of pollutant emissions by public waste disposal facilities and is introducing the effluent charge system which assess a discharge fee according to the quantity of actual discharge. Furthermore, inspection, development, and management of underground water resources is under way as well as the development of water conservation measures.

The capacity for treating waste water in Korea is 12,003 thousand cubic meters/day; Fifty-two point eight per cent (52.8%) of urban sewerage is treated (1996 figures). The specific target established for coverage of water supply is to increase it from 83.6% in 1996 to 95% in the year 2005; for sanitation coverage it is intended to increase the coverage from 53% in 1996 to 80% in 2005.

The technological needs for waste water treatment are the elimination of nitrogen and phosphorus and treatment of indissoluble materials; for water purification it is technology to assist in the elimination of algae. Some of these technologies are being developed in Korean research institutions.

To effectively manage water resources and secure the necessary water supply, the Government has constructed many multi-purpose dams. About 34.8% of the 29.9 billion tons of annual water consumed is supplied from these dams. Twenty-one percent of total water consumed is used for domestic purposes, 50% for agricultural purposes, 9% for industrial purposes, and 21% for nature preservation. Of the total population of 45.5 million people, about 37.35 million, or 82% of the total population are beneficiaries of the public water supply system. As of 1994, daily per capita water consumption has been about 408 liters. About 40-60% of the total water costs are recovered through pricing and the government will raise the percentage of water costs gradually.

Nineteen per cent (1994) of water is treated before usage for drinking purposes.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Although the general public and industries are, in general, insufficiently aware of the importance of environmental protection, efforts are being made to increase awareness. For example, the Korea Water Resources Corporation has a campaign to "save water" and the government sponsors a variety of activities to remind people of the importance of water on March 22nd (World Water Day) every year.

Information 

An information network for water resources management is being sought. The Ministries of Agricuture and Forestry and of Construction and Transportation collect information from the agricultural sector; the Ministries of Environment and of Construction and Transportation collect it for the household and industrial sectors. These Ministries distribute the information through the media to related agencies, including research institutions, and the general public. Foreign distribution is accomplished through a World Wide Web Site.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

The Korean government will invest about USD 30billion by 2005 for water supply and water quality improvement. There are no external resources invested in this sector which is funded in its totality by the National Treasury.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *


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.

For national information on water quality preservation, click here:

For information on water compiled by the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, click here:

| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation is responsible for nationwide land management plans and policies, but much of the policy and decision making authority regarding land resources use and management are left to the local governments. The role of the central government is to collect opinions from the local governments and to set or recommend the general direction of government policies. Experts participate in related advisory committees and residents have the right to attend the hearing process.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The legal system for land ownership consists of the Constitution, civil laws, and a variety of public laws. The Constitution guarantees land ownership, civil law contains legislation on land ownership, and public laws stipulate the restrictions and limitations. The supreme law with respect to the utilization and development of mountainous areas is the Forestry Act.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Based on the Act on Comprehensive Planning for Construction on National Lands, an integrated land use plan has been implemented in order to enable sustainable land resources management. Additional acts and regulations that support the procurement of sites for housing and industrial complexes were implemented to make up for the shortage of land resources. Recently, GIS techniques and Land Information Network Systems are being utilized for comprehensive and efficient territorial management.

The Comprehensive National Plan is the highest-ranking plan in the area of national land development and maintenance. In particular, the Fourth Comprehensive National Plan concentrates on the process of planning itself as well as the results and on the pursuit of cooperative planning that actively involves the central government, local governments, and community residents from the beginning to the end. It adopts a bottom-up approach of gathering opinions from various regions and social strata instead of the routine top-down approach.

The central government, local governments, and local residents are all encouraged to take part in land use planning. Furthermore, much importance is being given to discussions and coordination among relevant ministries as there is much difficulty in implementing policies that have not been agreed to by all concerned.

The Fourth Comprehensive National Plan also aims at establishing a full-scale management system to enhance harmony between the development and conservation of the national land environment. First, the Plan puts priority on the conservation and restoration of mountain, river, and coastal ecosystems. Second, the Plan is designed to provide a clean and sound living environment by purifying and preventing environmental pollution. Third, to provide a clean water supply, an integrated foundation for water resource management should be built by zone to secure the quality of water resources.

The goal of the Third Comprehensive National Developmental Plan (1992-2001) is to accomplish a balanced national development, including the establishment of industrial belts, for the purpose of improving public welfare and environmental conservation. In the face of the newly emerging global trends, such as globalization, localization, and informatization, which are rapidly unfolding in the 21st century, however, it is imperative that the Fourth Comprehensive National Plan assume the leading role in successfully coping with this global trend.

Three Comprehensive National Development Plans have been implemented since the 1970s. The First Plan (1972-1981) focused on establishing developmental centers along with the Seoul-Pusan axis as the foundation for rapid economic growth. The Second Plan (1982-1991) sought to control the excessive population concentration in the capital region and to foster regional development by balancing population distribution throughout the nation and by improving the living environment. For public welfare and environmental conservation, the Third Plan (1992-2001) is aimed at balanced national development by building industrial belts.

As urbanization increased with economic growth, an immediate necessity for housing sites and industrial sites arose, and various policies were implemented to efficiently supply housing and industrial complexes. But, despite efforts to implement systematic and environmentally friendly land use plans, side effects, such as difficulties in developing suburbs and traffic-related problems, have arisen. At present, the government is in the process of drawing up the Fourth National Plan (2000-2020). Unlike the previous plans, the Fourth Plan sets active conservation of the national land environment as the main goal for effective sustainable development planning. All sectors of national planning, including SOC construction, urban development, industrial siting, and tourism development, are geared toward the goal of creating an environmentally friendly nation.

Food security: The authorized exclusive use zone was extended, while that for exclusive agricultural use was diminished. That is, when building barns or rural residences not directly related to crop production within the Agriculture Promotion District, a permit is required instead of the routine report system.

Rural development: The Fourth Comprehensive National Plan aims to expand environmentally friendly crop production by fostering organic farming, actively developing overseas agricultural markets, and developing rural new towns to meet rural housing and recreational demands.

Viability of rural areas: To promote the urban-rural exchanges and boost rural household income, Green Business and Green Tourism are to be launched by expanding tourist farms.

Environmental aspects : The Framework Act on Environment Policy and water and air pollution-related regulations are being amended or newly enacted with the objective of harmonizing the environment and development in national land planning.

Social aspects: The Fourth Comprehensive National Plan also enacts the provisionally titled "Basic National Land Law" to substantiate the power of execution for sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

While the previous three Comprehensive National Development Plans were primarily led by the central government, the Fourth Comprehensive National Plan encourages the active participation of local governments, residents and NGOs as well as the central government. Whereas the central government plays a relatively passive role in introducing guidelines for national land policy and in enforcing pertinent laws, the local governments take charge of establishing and implementing feasible plans. Private enterprises are expected to engage in expanding local investment and cooperating with academia. Local residents and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) play a major role in expanding participation and monitoring.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

From 1991 to 1997, 560.0km2 of mountainous area was converted into farmland, residential land, factory sites, golf courses, ski resorts, and other uses (66.6 km2, 65.0 km2, 86.7 km2, 67.2, and 275.4km2, respectively). 493.4 km2 were converted to non-agricultural purposes.

Challenges

The currency crisis in late 1997 generated new housing problems by aggravating income discrepancies between social classes. Housing prices plummeted drastically in 1998, and purchasing opportunities have increased as a whole. Nonetheless, as far as low-income groups are concerned, housing prices dropped less than income. As a result, low-income classes are more burdened with housing expenses than ever before.

The Ministry of Construction and Transportation has been implementing such measures as policies for stabilizing housing prices and enhancing the living conditions of middle- and low- income groups. To this end, first, the construction of small- and medium-sized housing is urgently needed in order to provide low-income families with easier access to house ownership. Second, financial assistance and tax breaks should be expanded. Third, to relieve the burden of expenditures on purchasing houses, more rental housing will be constructed, and financial assistance for "Chonsei (bulk deposit)" will be provided.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Information on land management and resources is made available to the general public through the Internet and other channels. (Internet Homepage of Ministry of Construction and Transportation: ) The public may also access information on land use by exercising the right to request the release of information, filing a formal inquiry, and accessing open documents.

Information 

The National Geographic Information System Project is under way at the national level. It aims to use national lands efficiently and manage national spatial information comprehensively in order to prevent various disasters and to prepare for the highly advanced information society in the 21st century.

The project’s activities during the first stage (1995-2000) cover the development of topological maps, common thematic maps, and computerized cadastral maps. It also involves computerization of underground facilities, development of GIS application systems for public purposes, development of GIS-related technology, training of professional staff in GIS, standardization of the GIS, and assistance for research projects on national GIS.

The project activities during the second stage are classified into the four following major sectors: framework establishment, data production, data distribution, and data application.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

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.





| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

MOUNTAINS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is the primary organization responsible for mountain lands most closely affected by forestry policy.

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 

Integrated rural development projects initiated by the Korean Forestry Administration have been under progress since 1995, with the major objectives of improving living conditions, promoting eco-tourism, and raising the income level by developing new income sources, including forest byproducts in forest communities. These projects are expected to achieve balanced and harmonized national land use and promote sustainable development in secluded mountainous areas in The Republic of Korea.

To keep the forest ecosystem from forest fires, insects and disease, and other environmental stress including acid rain which recently emerged as a damaging factor, and to maintain the productivity and health of the forest ecosystem, various projects and programmes have been initiated to enlarge the human resources for fire detection and prevention, modernize fire equipment, operate the monitoring and early warning system for outbreaks of forest insects and diseases, improve the biological control measures including application of natural enemies, establish acid rain monitoring systems, and to ameliorate forest soil quality.

Status 

The Republic of Korea is a typical mountainous country where forests account for 65% of total land mass. Forest ecosystems are vulnerable to degradation due to soil conditions and heavy rains that occur during summer. Since the early 20th century, forests have been devastated through excessive and illegal cuttings. Recently, the public demand for various benefits provided by forests, including watershed management and recreational sites has increased, thereby pressuring the Government to implement sustainable mountain development.

To improve watershed capacities, forest management in the areas surrounding major rivers is intensified and erosion control dams are continuously constructed. Valley erosion controls are to be also tightened. The forest areas for recreation activities are increasing to meet the rapidly growing demand for recreational sites and to improve public health by adding forest bathing sites.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

In The Republic of Korea, ecosystem management for sustainable mountain development has focused on three major areas:

  1. an establishment of geographic information systems on forest environments and of ecological management techniques as a basis for forest ecosystem management;
  2. the prevention and control of forest fire, insects and disease, and environmental stress which degrades the integrity of forest ecosystems; and
  3. the promotion of various environmental functions inherent in forests.

Along with the 10-year periodic forest inventory, site surveying across the country has been under progress since 1995. Geographic maps are being computerized into digital data bases. Research on classification of forests based on ecological characteristics and development of suitable management planning and practices are ongoing.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997


| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

To effectively implement oceans and marine policies, the Government established a new Government organization, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fishery (MOMAF), in August 1996. This ministry enforces policies designed to protect ocean and marine resources and is responsible for policies on marine environmental protection and sustainable use of marine living resources. The central Government, local governments, fisheries cooperatives, and research institutes share the responsibility of protecting ocean and fisheries. However, the role of the Government is still most important.

In addition, two mechanisms have been established to facilitate coordination among all responsible organizations. These are the commission on Protection of the Quality and Supply of Fresh Water Resources, under the office of the Prime Minister, and the Committee of Maritime Pollution Response of MOMAF.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Action is envisaged through various strategies, including the following: the National Action Plan for Agenda 21, the Marine Development Plan, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Vision 21 of Korea, the Five-Year Action Plan for Marine Pollution Preventionand National Major Tasks of People's Government. There is, in addition, an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan currently being established. A policy of Total Allowance Catch (TAC), as well as an ongoing restructuring of fishery activities, governs the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources. Further, the Wetland Conservation Act is being established to form firm legal ground for the conservation and management of tidal flats.

Other legislation and regulations that pertain to oceans and seas include the following:

In addition, codes of practice, standards and guidelines have been established by the Government, and these are mandatory in nature.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Among the Major Groups involved in decision-making in this area are the National Committee for Marine Environment Conservation, the National Committee for Port Policy, and the National Committee for Fisheries Management.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

The major current uses of the coastal areas in the Republic of Korea are as follows: twenty-five cities and twenty-two industrial complexes exist in coastal areas; thirty-three percent of the total population lives in these areas. Twenty-eight trade ports and twenty-two coastal ports are also established in coastal areas. The percentage of the economy contributed by fishing was 0.74 % of GNP in 1996.

Since the 1980s, there has been a decline in the deep-sea fishing industry and a rise in production of marine aquaculture. As the public demand for high quality protein sources increases, this trend is expected to continue. However, the disruption of the coastal fishing industry by land reclamation projects, industrial water effluents, waste disposal, and oil spills has had significant effects on the sustainable development of coastal fisheries. The ecosystem surrounding The Republic of Korea is very vulnerable to the coastal activities of adjacent nations, such as the Russian Federation, China, The Democratic Republic of Korea, and Japan. Under such circumstances, regional and international cooperation is required to effectively protect and preserve the marine ecosystem and resources in the sea. The impact of other coastal-and marine-based industries (including tourism) on sustainable development of coastal areas include:

The primary sources of land-based pollution of the marine environment are sewage, Industrial effluents, dumping, etc. The primary sources of sea-based pollution of the marine environment are oil spills, aquaculture, and dredging.

In addition to activities carried out through the various strategies and plans enumerated above, support is given to NGO activities related to the conservation of wetlands, etc.

Challenges

Priority constraints to implementing effective programmes to address the issues raised in the programmes areas are the following:

Issues related to the development, transfer and use of environmentally-sound technologies in this programme area include:

Decisions regarding choice of technology are made on the basis of whether the system provides grounds for scientific decision-making to decision- makers at the pollution site or not.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

In the last 30 years, the development of industrial complexes and many new cities in the Korean coastal area has made the disposal of industrial water effluents and sewage from urban areas an urgent issue. For the conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources, Korean waters have become the focus for the prevention of marine pollution from land-based activities and sea-based activities. The Government conducts a long-term research program to monitor and assess changes in the marine ecosystem caused by marine pollution. Based on the results of the research, ecosystem distribution status is reported and an environmental sensitivity map and a map of the wetlands is made.

A Special Training Programme for Sustainable Coastal Management is being conducted by the Institute of MOMAF, and several awareness-raising campaigns are organized, including:

Information 

The country has established a Network for Marine Pollution Monitoring and continuously observes sea-level variations at the twenty-three tidal stations on the coast. There is also a research programme to develop an index on the marine environment.

The information collected is used to study sea-level variations, protect coastal areas and support leisure activities. Part of the data can be accessed through the Internet at the Web sites referenced below.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing 

All activities are financed by the national budget.

Cooperation

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was signed in 1993 and ratified in 1996.

The Government is strengthening regional and international cooperation for the protection of the marine environment and living marine resources. The North-East Pacific region has abundant biological and mineral resources. It accounts for the production of over 1/3 of the global annual fish-catch, and its seaways are used for over 1/3 of global transportation activities. The region is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the world. The Republic of Korean Government places a high priority on regional and international cooperation and actively participates in cooperative international marine activities.

The Republic of Korea is actively participating in international programs such as the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, the Study of Climate Variability and Predictability, the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, and the Global Ocean Observing System under the auspices of the IOC and the WMO. The Republic of Korea has bilateral fishing agreements with 14 nations and is a contracting party to 8 international fishing organizations. The Government of The Republic of Korea is promoting regional and international cooperative research efforts of the International Oceanographic Committee in order to exchange relevant information and data.

The Republic of Korea is a Party to the following oceans-related international agreements:

In addition, the Government is a Member of the OECE (Fisheries Committee) Resources Conservation Working Group and is a Party to several Fishery Conventions (Organizations), as follows:

 

* * *

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.

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

To access the Ministry of the Environment of the Republic of Korea, click here

Click here for the Republic of Korea Oceanographic Data Center

Click here for the Korea Meteorological Administration

| Korea | All Countries | Home |

 

WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   


The Ministry of Environment formulates nationwide policies for solid waste management. Local authorities are responsible for formulating and executing waste management policies which include reduction, collection, and disposal of wastes in the area under jurisdiction and other activities delegated by the MOE. Non-governmental parties participate in the advisory committee. NGOs play a critical role in raising public awareness in the field of waste reduction.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

On December 1993, the Government established the Comprehensive Waste Management Plan, a long-term plan (1993-2001), under the Waste Management Act. This plan includes the national waste management goals, waste minimization targets and instruments, the promotion of recycling, and the construction of incinerators.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

Municipal and industrial wastes of 148,000 tonnes were generated each day in 1995. Until 1992, the amount of municipal wastes generated was greater than that of industrial wastes. The recent trend indicates that the amount of municipal wastes continues to decline, owing to the implementation of the Volume-Based Collection Fee System for waste minimization and the reduced use of coal briquettes. However, industrial waste generation is on the rise due to the expansion of manufacturing and service industries.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

Source reduction, reuse and recycling of wastes, and waste minimization technologies are important components of any waste management strategy. Recycling, resource recovery, and waste minimization technologies not only slow the consumption of natural resources and limit pollution loadings, but also significantly reduce the costs to the society of proper waste management. Appropriate waste treatment includes the expansion of incineration and sanitary landfill facilities.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

For national information on waste management, click here:

Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Environment is most directly involved with hazardous waste management. A permit on transboundary movement of hazardous wastes belongs to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. Related industries and environmental bodies (NGOs) are also involved.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In February 1994, The Republic of Korea became a party to the Basel Convention in order to prevent illegal transboundary movements of hazardous waste and to promote international cooperation. To implement the Basel Convention, the Republic of Korean Government enacted the Law on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal on December 8, 1992 and enforced the Law on May 28, 1994. Under the Law, 118 specified wastes are being controlled on their movement with clear customs procedures

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 

Efficient and safe management of hazardous waste generation, storage, transport, collection, disposal, and reclamation are vital for human health, protection of the environment, resource management, and sustainable development. In order to harmonize both development and preservation of the environment, positive support and involvement of countries, industries, and international society are crucial. For this purpose, it is necessary to develop human resources, facilities, technology and funding.

The general goal in the management of hazardous wastes is to find safe methods of handling and managing hazardous waste to protect public health and the environment and to prevent and minimize adverse effects of hazardous waste. The development of clean manufacturing technology, expansion of the Polluter Pays Principle, proper management of hazardous waste treatment facilities, strict control of the discharge of hazardous wastes, and the affiliation with the Basel Convention are the keys to effectively controlling the generation, storage, treatment, recycling, and reuse, transport, recovery, and disposal of hazardous wastes. The money used to dispose illegally dumped wastes with unknown sources comes from the national budget. The objective is to minimize and manage the generation of waste so that it will not cause harm to human health and the environment.

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

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was signed and ratified in 1994. The latest information was provided to the Basel Convention Secretariat in 1995.

As an OECD member country, the country will implement the OECD Control System on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes in harmony with the Basel Convention. The Republic of Korea will also actively promote international cooperation through bilateral and multilateral agreements with countries that frequently import and export hazardous waste.

 

 

* * *

This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For national information on hazardous waste management, click here:
For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

 

Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Science and Technology is responsible for the control of transport, handling, and disposal of radioactive industrial wastes. Residents participate in the public hearing process.

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 

The release of radioactive materials into the atmosphere is harmful to human lives. Consequently, greater demand for nuclear energy due to the rise in living standards is resulting in a greater quantity of spent fuel to manage. In order to ensure safe management of radioactive wastes and spent fuels which are temporarily stored at nuclear power plants, a permanent repository for low and intermediate level radioactive wastes (LILW) and an interim storage facility for spent fuels are required. To achieve efficient use of a currently planned low and intermediate level radioactive wastes (LILW) repository, advanced volume reduction and solidification technologies are being developed.

The radiological impact due to the disposal of LILW will be managed by taking due account of the ICRP's recommendation of an annual personal exposure limit of 0.01 mSv and an annual dose commitment of 1 man Sv. Domestic standards and practices will follow the guidelines of IAEA and other international organizations for the disposal of LILW to ensure safe radioactive waste management. To safely transport radioactive materials, safe transportation technology will be developed and implemented. It is the goal of the Government to safely manage accumulated radioactive wastes. With respect to spent fuel, due to its high radioactivity, an interim storage facility of an appropriate size will be designed and constructed to prevent radiological accidents and securely manage spent fuels. The Republic of Korea will participate and collaborate with international organizations and countries to share and exchange information.

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.

 

* * *

This information is based on The Republic of Korea's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.


| Economic Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |

| Korea | All Countries | Home |