Press Release

Board View

Proposing a Five-Year Strategy for the Establishment of a Circular System for the Conservation and Utilization of Biodiversity

▷ Establishment of the 5th National Biodiversity Strategy (2024-2028), deliberation and approval by the State Council

The Ministry of Environment (Minister Han Wha-jin) has announced that the “5th National Biodiversity Strategy (2024-2028)” will be established following its approval in the State Council on December 12. The National Biodiversity Strategy is a comprehensive, cross-ministerial top-level plan outlining a five-year strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Under the vision of creating a society where everyone enjoys the benefits of nature sustainably by wisely conserving and equitably utilizing it, the current strategy includes goals such as 1) fulfilling international obligations through achieving biodiversity conservation objectives, 2) sharing the benefits of nature with local communities, generating economic effects, and expanding policy acceptance, and 3) mainstreaming biodiversity with the participation of all members of society.

This strategy, adapted from the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF*) with 23 action targets adopted at the 2022 United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15), has been tailored to 21 domestic action targets. It is organized into three major policy areas ? conservation, utilization, and enforcement strengthening ? considering the interconnections among the objectives. The strategy further categorizes these into 12 key tasks.

* Global Biodiversity Framework: Outlines 23 specific and challenging goals, including the protection and management of 30% of terrestrial and marine areas by 2030, and the restoration of 30% of degraded ecosystems.

The key contents of the strategy are as follows.

⑴ Conservation of ecosystem and species

First, increase the total area of outstanding nature and reduce threats to biodiversity. Efforts will be made to manage 30% of the entire land area as protected areas or other management areas by 2030. In addition to regulated protected areas, natural and coexisting management areas* (Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measure, OECM), which are areas contributing to biodiversity conservation without regulatory measures, will be identified and expanded. To achieve this, support for residents** inside and outside protected areas will be strengthened, and ecotourism utilizing outstanding natural features will be promoted to spread demand to local communities, enhancing policy acceptance.

* Considering the limitations of managing 30% of the global terrestrial and marine areas as protected areas, the international community proposes a goal of achieving 30% through the integration of protected areas and natural and coexisting management areas (OECM).

** Implementation of an ecosystem services payment system, giving weight to incentives for residents and local governments demonstrating excellent management, and land acquisition initiatives, etc.

The restoration of degraded ecosystems will be expanded. By 2027, based on a nationwide survey of degraded areas, priority restoration targets will be identified, and concentrated restoration efforts will be planned for these areas. Efforts will include supporting ecological restoration projects to be recognized as offsetting carbon emissions, fostering restoration experts, and enhancing the professionalism of restoration companies, among other initiatives, to simultaneously create a new business ecosystem.

The management of national protected species is advanced by shifting from a focus solely on the number of biological species to evaluating genetic diversity as well. Additionally, measures to prevent the introduction of invasive alien species are strengthened*, and tailored control methods are enhanced for already introduced alien species to protect domestic ecosystems.

* Expansion of invasive species monitoring, expansion of collaborative inspection centers for alien species, continuous surveillance in border areas, etc.

⑵ Sustainable utilization of ecosystem and species

Secondly, the strategy aims to sustainably utilize biological resources and simultaneously address climate change and biodiversity reduction through nature. Initially, regulations related to integrated land-environment management will be revised to ensure biodiversity considerations. Plans include expanding forests and water spaces within cities to enhance the quality of life for urban residents.

Carbon absorption sources such as forests will be expanded further, and the integrated multifunctional riparian ecological belt and the creation of ecological retention basins will be expanded. This aims to actively utilize various functions of nature, including disaster prevention and water quality purification, to address biodiversity loss and climate change.

Furthermore, disease control through wildlife and crackdowns on illegal trade will be implemented. Additionally, policy support* will be provided to ensure that agriculture, forestry, and fisheries are conducted in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.

* Expansion of environmentally friendly agricultural practice areas, total allowable catch (TAC) in the adjacent seas, and certified forest management areas

⑶ Improved implementation through greater participation of all society members

Thirdly, it encourages the participation of all members of society to integrate the value of biodiversity into various aspects of society. Considering the international community’s movement to highlight biodiversity from an economic perspective, support for enhancing corporate response capabilities, such as establishing natural capital disclosure standards and improving the expertise of businesses related to natural capital, will be expanded.

* Initiation of a pilot project for natural capital disclosure reporting and implementation of education to share international trends and enhance capabilities

Moreover, the strategy ensures the participation of various stakeholders in the formulation and implementation process, including enhancing citizen participation in environmental surveys. Obligating the establishment of regional biodiversity strategies by local governments will be implemented to foster the foundation for biodiversity conservation and utilization in the region. Additionally, institutional support will be strengthened to promote a culture of green consumption.

* Expansion of green stores and nationwide dissemination of green purchasing support centers

To activate industries related to biological resources, continuous development of key biotechnology and biological resource conservation technologies will be pursued. International collaborative research will also be increased. Moreover, there are plans to swiftly establish key indicators presented in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) and conduct science-based implementation assessments.

The government is discussing ways to transition biodiversity harmful subsidies to environmentally friendly methods. It aims to expand ‘Green Official Development Assistance (ODA),’ which includes biodiversity, linking it with green industry exports to enhance the competitiveness of Korean exporting companies.

This strategy was developed through continuous communication with various stakeholders from the early stages of its establishment. Representatives from relevant ministries and more than 100 experts participated through inter-agency consultation committees, collaborating to structure the strategy and discuss its tasks. 

Additionally, various discussions and forums were held with key stakeholder groups such as local governments, industries, youth, women, and civil society. Public opinions were also gathered through public hearings. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that, for the first time in the history of formulating the national biodiversity strategy, a nationwide idea contest was organized, and the adopted ideas* from this contest were incorporated into this 5th strategy.

* Biodiversity enhancement participation programs and pilot projects for natural capital disclosure reporting

The Ministry of Environment plans to collaborate with relevant ministries to ensure the smooth implementation of the 5th strategy. Additionally, there are plans to annually assess the progress of the strategy’s implementation and transparently disclose the results.

Ahn Se-chang, the Director General of the Nature Conservation Bureau at the Ministry of Environment, stated, “The formulation of this strategy signifies Korea’s exemplary participation in international efforts to address global biodiversity decline.” He added, “In the future, we will closely collaborate with relevant ministries, industries, and local governments, aiming to successfully implement this strategy and raise public awareness of the benefits of nature.”