The history of the Ministry of Environment, the environmental authority of the Republic of Korea, stems from Pollution Section of the Ministry of Health and Society established in 1967, which was expanded to Pollution Division, in charge of environmental administration, in 1973. After several reform and expansion of environmental authority, Environment Administration was launched as a subsidiary of the Ministry of Health and Society in 1980. In January, 1990, Environment Administration was promoted to the Ministry of Environment under the Office of Prime Minister, in order to efficiently integrate and coordinate environmental issues. In December, 1994, the Ministry of Environment was given greater authority to establish and implement its own policies.


The mission of the Ministry of Environment is to protect the national territory from threats of environmental pollution and improve the quality of life for the public so that the people can enjoy ambient natural environment, clean water and clear skies. Furthermore, we aim to contribute to the global efforts to protect our one and only Earth. In February, 2008, Korea Meteorological Administration became a subsidiary of the Ministry to facilitate countermeasures against climate change.

The tasks of the Ministry of Environment include enactment and amendment of environmental laws and regulations; introduction of environmental institutions; building up framework structure for environmental administration; drafting and implementation of mid-long term comprehensive measures for environmental conservation; setting up standards for regulations; providing administrative and financial support for environmental management to local governments; inter-Korean environmental cooperation; and environmental cooperation with other countries.

History of ME

2015 Jan
  • With an aim to reinforce chemicals control and strengthen prevention and response to chemicals accidents, Chemicals Management Division of the head office was reorganized as Chemicals Policy Division and Chemical Safety Division. Chemicals Management Division of six regional environmental offices (except Wonju Regional Environmental office) was reorganized as Chemicals Safety Management Team to reinforce on-site management of chemicals.
  • Climate Change Mitigation Division was newly established for implementation of the Emissions Trading Scheme.
2014 May
  • Air Quality Forecasting Center was newly established in the National Institute of Environmental Research to enhance accuracy of air quality forecast.
2014 Mar
  • Task Force for Environmental Industry Test-bed Complex was newly established with a temporary period to March 2017 to support technological R&D and export of environmental companies.
2013 Dec
  • "Institute of Chemical Safety" was launched as an affiliated agency under ME for prevention of and response to chemical accidents. Chemical management divisions were newly established in Wonju and Daegu Regional Environmental Office.
  • Natural Resources Division at the ME head office was separated and reorganized to Biodiversity Division and Park Ecosystem Division in accordance with the launch of National Institute of Ecology.
  • Water Quality Division was newly established in Daegu Regional Environmental Office for reinforced water quality management of Nakdong River
2013 Mar
  • The 4th grade and 5th grade teams of the head office such as Public Relations Team, Environmental Inspection and Investigation Team and Greenhouse Gas Management Team were dissolved and Environmental Industry Team and Waste-to-Energy Team were converted to Environmental Industry Division and Waste-to-Energy division.
2013 Jul
  • ater Quality Management Division was newly established at the ME head office for reinforced water quality management and monitoring in the four major rivers.
  • The name of Jeongju Regional Environmental Office was changed into Saemangeum Regional Environmental Office for reinforced environmental management for the Saemangeum development project sites, and the rank of the head position was upgraded from 4th grade official to senior executive level.
2012 Mar
  • "Task Force for the Construction of National Institute of Ecology" was dissolved with the end of its temporary period.
  • A total of 5 personnel were reduced from the head office in accordance with the government wide restructuring plan. (one person from 5th grade, two from 6th grade, one from 7th grade and one from 8th grade)
2012 Jan
  • Environmental Health Management Division and Greenhouse Gas Team at the head office were newly established. National Wetland Center at National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) was newly established.
2011 Sep
  • Construction Committee of the National Institute of Nakdong River Biological Resources was newly established.
2011 Jan
  • NIBR was reorganized as an executive agency.
2010 Jul
  • Greenhouse Gas Inventory & Research Center was established.
2010 Jan
  • Korea Environment Corporation (KECO) was established.

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Last modified : 2018-11-13 15:10

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