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13th Ramsar Conference Closes in Dubai, Korea’s RAWES Formally Adopted

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The Ministry of Environment (Minister Kim Eunkyung) announced that Korea’s RAWES approach was officially selected just prior to the closing of the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (“COP13” for short), held in Dubai, UAE.

The Rapid Assessment Wetland Ecosystem Services, or RAWES, is a simple and rapid method for assessing four service areas (cultural, regulating, supporting and provisioning). The field assessment sheet breaks these areas down into thirty-six assessment categories, which receive scores ranging from “potential significant positive benefit” (++) and “potential positive benefit” (+) to “negligible benefit” (0), “potential negative benefit” (-) and “potential significant negative benefit” (--).

RAWES is an inexpensive way to assess wetland ecosystems and value quickly and easily. Such features are expected to be of great assistance to efforts to assess and protect wetlands in developing countries, which are typically plagued by budgetary restraints and a lack of technical specialists.

Korea initially developed RAWES in 2017 in order to implement the Fourth Ramsar Strategic Plan (2016?2024), adopted at COP12, held in Uruguay in 2015. A draft resolution on the rapid assessment of wetland ecosystem services was submitted for consideration at COP13.

The representatives of the 170 contracting parties to the Ramsar Convention unanimously supported this draft resolution, and RAWES was selected at the Dubai conference as the officially-recognized assessment tool for wetlands.   


Meanwhile, the North Korean delegation that attended this year’s conference gave a presentation at an accompanying event, introducing the use of the RAWES approach in assessing the Rason Wetland in the Tumen Estuary and Mundok Wetland at the mouth of the Ch’ongch’on and Taeryong Rivers. These were the first Ramsar sites in North Korea to be registered, a process that was completed in May of this year.

COP13 was attended by representatives from 170 countries, including the Republic of Korea, and the attendees adopted the Report of the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties in the afternoon of October 29, after which the meeting was formally closed. 

The Report covered twenty-six draft resolutions put forth by 26 contracting party nations, including the “Rapid Assessment Wetland Ecosystem Services” from Korea, “Wetlands and Agriculture” from the Czech Republic, and “Preservation and Management of Small Wetlands” from China. Thus, during the conference, various plans for international cooperation were discussed regarding the preservation of wetlands in countries around the world.

COP14 is scheduled to open in 2021, and the location will be determined at the 57th Meeting of the Standing Committee in Switzerland in the second half of next year. 

The Republic of Korea hosted two events in conjunction with COP13, which ran between October 21 and October 29. The first was on Rapid Assessment Wetland Ecosystem Services, providing an opportunity to share

case studies on assessment tools, while the second covered a Ramsar Wetland City accreditation program, inviting discussion on plans for local community participation. These activities were an effective way to inform the international society of Korean efforts to preserve wetlands.

Eighteen communities in seven countries received accreditation as “Ramsar Wetland Cities” during a ceremony at COP13. These included four from the Republic of Korea: Jeju City, Suncheon, Changnyeong-gun, and Inje-gun. 

Natural Environment Policy Office Director General Yoo Seung-gwang says, “The international standing of the Republic of Korea was elevated at COP13. The Ramsar Wetland City accreditation program, which we proposed, was applied for the first time during the conference to qualify eighteen different urban areas. Our Rapid Assessment Wetland Ecosystem Services approach was also adopted officially. Going forward, we will lead the international social movement to preserve and wisely utilize wetlands.” 


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Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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