(1) International Governance Korea made a determined effort to improve international governance in the area of environmental protection. First, several environment-related international documents entered into force for Korea: United States–Republic of Korea Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Aeronautics and the Exploration and Use of Airspace and Outer Space for Civil and Peaceful Purposes (27 April); Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation between Korea and Iran (17 May). The two countries agreed to hold a joint academic seminar on the environment and exchange related information and experts under the memorandum. The areas of cooperation are the comprehensive management of waste and pollutants, the conservation of wetlands, and migratory birds; Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (5 June); Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation between Korea and Thailand (8 June). The two parties agreed to cooperate in the areas of environmental policy and technique, climate change, and the management of air and water quality and waste through the exchange of information, participation in workshops, the provision of training, and so on; Memorandum of Understanding on the Investment Cooperation in the Area of Fisheries between Korea and Russia (3 September); Memorandum of Understanding on Boarding of Observers on Fishing Boats in the Antarctic Sea between Korea and Ukraine under the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (2 November); Paris Agreement (3 December); and Agreement between the Republic of Korea and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regarding the Establishment of the International Centre for Water Security and Sustainable Management under the Auspices of UNESCO (Category 2) (16 December). Second, Korea hosted or attended various environment-related international conferences for the strengthening of regional or global governance: the twentieth high-level meeting of the North-East Asian Sub-Regional Programme for Environmental Cooperation, which was held in Tokyo, Japan, on 1–2 February (at the meeting, the Strategic Plan for 2016–20 was adopted to promote environmental cooperation among Northeast Asian countries and to decide the direction of its future development); the tenth and eleventh meetings of the Joint Commission for Environmental Cooperation between Korea and Russia and the second and third meetings of the Sub-Committee for the Conservation of Endangered Species of the Joint Commission, which were held in Seoul, Korea, on 4–5 February, 6 December, 3 February, and 5 December, respectively; the eighteenth Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting of Korea, China, and Japan, which was held in Sizoka, Japan, on 26–7 April; the first Trilateral High Level Cooperative Dialogue on the Arctic between Korea, Japan, and China, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 28 April; the fifth Forum on Environment and Human Health between Korea and China, which was held in Kaifeng, China, from 31 May to 1 June (participants discussed the impacts of environmental hazardous materials on the health of the fetus and child; the second session of the UN Environment Assembly held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 23–7 May under the overarching theme of ‘Delivering on the Environmental Dimension Agenda for Sustainable Development’; the eighteenth meeting of the Joint Commission on Environmental Cooperation between Korea and Japan, which was held in Hongcheon, Korea, on 6–7 July; the sixth meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Korea and Mekong River Basin Countries, which was held in Vientiane, Laos, on 24 July (the Korean minister emphasized the importance of green growth in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and called for rapid processing of the establishment of Asia Forest Cooperation Organization); the eleventh Policy Forum of the Seoul Initiative for Sustainable Development, which was co-hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and held in Seoul, Korea, on 7–9 September; the Global Green Growth Summit and General Assembly of the Global Green Growth Institute, which was held in Jeju, Korea, on 8–9 September; the third Forum of the Global Partnership for Environmental and Developmental Cooperation, which was held in Busan, Korea, on 6–7 October (at the forum, the Korean representative emphasized the effective implementation of the 2030 SDGs based on the Busan Principles: respect for the important role of developing countries, developmental cooperation centred on the results, inclusive partnership of development and transparency, and mutual responsibility); and the fourth Korea–Pacific Island Countries Senior Officials’ Meeting, which was held in Busan on 25 October. At the meeting, environment-related issues were included in the agenda such as climate change, development cooperation, and cooperation in marine affairs and fisheries; Third, Korea provided financial and technical support and education and training opportunities to developing countries to help develop capacity building in the protection of the environment: The National Institute of Environmental Research, which was designated as a cooperation centre by the World Health Organization, provided training programs on air pollution, water quality, land and underground water, waste energy, and climate change for related officials from fifteen developing countries including Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Vietnam, and so on. The Korean Ministry of Environment delivered a global environmental scholarship program that provided financial and accommodative support for a Master’s degree program on the environment to twenty-one environment-related officials from thirteen developing countries, including Cambodia and Vietnam, which are two of Korea’s main partners of environmental cooperation. The National Institute of Environmental Human Resource Development provided the nineteenth training course for experts in environmental technology to eight Latin American countries and the Inter-American Development Bank on 21–5 November. (2) Climate Change and Air Pollution Korea made a continued endeavour to improve its response to climate change and air pollution in various ways. First, two international documents entered into force: (1) the United States–Korea Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Aeronautics and the Exploration and Use of Airspace and Outer Space for Civil and Peaceful Purposes (27 April) and (2) the Paris Agreement (2 December). Under the agreement with the United States, the parties agreed to cooperate in the development of satellite for environmental remote sensing and the removal of debris in outer space. Second, Korea participated in, or hosted, several related international conferences: the eighteenth Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting among Korea, China, and Japan, which was held in Sizoka, Japan, on 26–7 April (at the meeting, the ministers recognized the Five-Year Work Plan for the Joint Response to the Particle Materials of Working Group for Atmosphere Policy Dialogue; under the plan, cooperation for monitoring of particle matter (PM) and ozone and management of volatile organic compounds will be strengthened); the third Consultative Meeting for Climate Change Policy between Korea and Singapore, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 4 May; the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement, the forty-fourth session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Implementation, and the forty-fourth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice, which were held in Bonn, Germany, on 16–26 May (at the meeting, Korean representatives attended the Workshop for the Facilitative Sharing of Views of Non-Annex 1 Countries and shared the experiences of the Korean emission trade system and responsive measures in the area of energy; as a member of the Environmental Integrity Group, Korea revealed coordinated opinions with member countries, especially on a cooperative approach to Article 6 of the Paris Agreement; tried to become a member of Paris Committee on capacity-building as home country of the Green Climate Fund (GCF); and introduced related activities); the first meeting of the Korea–China Joint Commission on the Climate Change Cooperation, which was held in Busan, Korea, on 23 June (the commission was established according to the Cooperative Agreement on Climate Change between Korea and China, which entered into force in 2015; the two parties shared information on energy policy, climate change technology, and reporting and monitoring systems, and Korea proposed cooperative projects on capacity building for adaptation to climate change and carbon capture storage); the meeting of the Asia Thematic Working Group on Air Quality of the Asia Forum for Environment and Health, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 23–4 July; the fourth Korea–Pacific Islands Countries Senior Officials’ Meeting, which was held in Busan, Korea, on 25 October. Climate change was one of the agenda items for the meeting; the sixth Korea–Caribbean Countries High-Level Officials Forum, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 26 October (the cooperative response to climate change was included in the agenda of the forum); the ninth Trilateral Meeting of the Research Institute of Korea, China, and Japan, which was held in Cunming, China, on 1–2 November); the twenty-second Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, which was held in Marrakesh, Morocco, on 7–18 November. At the meeting, Korean representatives played an intermediary role between developed and developing countries on conflicting issues such as financial contributions and global stocktake. They also contributed to the discussion on the establishment of an environmentally sound, international carbon market and transparent reporting and monitoring systems with assistance from the Environmental Integrity Group, and requested active contributions to smooth the taking off of the GCF, whose headquarters are based in Korea. Korea also promised to contribute US $23 million to the Climate Technology Centre and Network of the Paris Agreement system; the nineteenth Trilateral Meeting (China, Japan and Korea) of the Experts in Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutants in Northeast Asia, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 16–18 November (participants discussed methods and means to respond transboundary air pollutants such as PM10, PM2.5, and ozone and agreed to strengthen their cooperative relationship and to promote research projects on long-range transfrontier air pollutants); and the second Roundtable on Transboundary Air Pollution in Northeast Asia, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 9 December. Third, the Korean government held an international workshop in Incheon, Korea, on 5–9 September to provide an opportunity to share experiences on carbon emission quantity estimation to forty-four developing countries with assistance from the UNFCCC Secretariat. Fourth, the Korean Committee on Green Growth completed and proclaimed the first Framework Plan for Response to Climate Change and the National Basic Roadmap for Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas for 2030 on 6 December. The plan showed the mid- and long-term directions of strategy and policy for the national response to climate change, especially to the new Paris Agreement (post-2020). The plan adopted a comprehensive approach by the related ministries, a technology and market-centred approach through an implementation monitoring system every five years, and a cooperative approach between civil society including industries and government. The mitigation goal of 2030 is 315 million tons, of which 219 million tons will be from domestic mitigation endeavours and the remaining 96 million tons will be achieved through emissions trading within foreign carbon markets. The Act on Circulation of Resourses entered into force on 29 May. The act encourages recycling and the reuse of energy and resources through the introduction of a management system of recycling, nurturing the recycling industry, introducing a penalty system for incineration or reclamation of used resources, simplifying regulation, and so on. (3) Biodiversity First, Korea concluded a biodiversity-related international document, the Letter of Intent on Research Cooperation between the Korean National Institute of Environmental Research and the US National Wildlife Health Centre (5 June). Second, Korea invited or attended some related international conferences: the twenty-eighth meeting of the Man and Biosphere-International Coordinating Council of UNESCO, which was held in Lima, Peru, on 29 March; the eighteenth meeting of the Joint Commission on Environmental Cooperation between Korea and Japan, which was held in Hongcheon, Korea, on 6–7 July (at the meeting, parties agreed to conclude an agreement for the protection of migratory birds in the near future and negotiated the content to be included in the agreement); the sixteenth Korea–China Forum on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS), which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 13 July. More than 50 percent of genetic resources that were used in Korean bio-industry were imported from China, and on 8 June China ratified the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Nagoya Protocol). The forum provided an opportunity to understand Chinese legal regulations for the operation of ABS systems of the Nagoya Protocol; and the thirteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which was held in Cancun, Mexico, on 2–17 December. The Korean representative introduced the sustainable marine initiative and the biosafety initiative for the support of implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the CBD and encouraged parties to contribute to international financial funds, including the Global Environmental Fund. He also emphasized substantial advancement in the protection of biodiversity, which is the core element of the SDGs, through mainstreaming the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Third, Korea endeavoured to provide assistance to analyse useful elements in natural resources in Asian developing countries and publish the results. The first report on 196 plant species in Cambodia and Laos was published. Fourth, the status of Korean national parks and protected areas changed, or were allowed to expand. First, Taean National Sea Park changed its status of a protected area under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from Category V (protected landscape/seascape) to Category II (national park), and three protected areas in Dadohae National Sea Park and Deogyusan National Park were designated as Category I(a) (strict nature reserve) under the IUCN on 13 January. Second, the Shinandadohae Biosphere Reserve was allowed to expand to 3,238 square kilometres by the Man and Biosphere-International Coordinating Council of UNESCO on 29 March. (4) Water, Marine Resources, and Pollution In the area of water, marine resources, and pollution, four international documents entered into force: (1) the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (5 June); (2) the Memorandum of Understanding on the Investment Cooperation in the Area of Fisheries between Korea and Russia (3 September); (3) the Memorandum of Understanding on Boarding of Observers on Fishing Boats in the Antarctic Sea between Korea and Ukraine under the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (2 November); and (4) the Agreement between the Republic of Korea and UNESCO Regarding the Establishment of the International Centre for Water Security and Sustainable Management under the Auspices of UNESCO (Category 2) (16 December). The objectives of the centre are (1) to build an integrated and problem-solving research system to achieve sustainable water resources management, related, in particular, to addressing challenges faced by developing countries; (2) to operate case/field-oriented education and training programs based on the needs of participating countries; and (3) to develop a globally networked hub for sharing water resources information, thereby enhancing global scientific and technological knowledge on water resources (Article 6). Korea actively took part in, or hosted, the following related international conferences: International Symposium for the Conservation of North Pacific Spotted Seal between Korea, China, Japan, and Russia, which was held in Jeju, Korea, on 24 February; the Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), which was held in Madrid, Spain, on 2–3 March; the thirty-ninth Conference of the Parties of the International Maritime Organization and the tenth meeting of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection, which was held in Suva, Fiji, on 7–11 March (the Korean representative revealed that Korea successfully achieved zero level of land-oriented waste disposal into the marine area); the twelfth meeting for Cooperative Investigation of Marine Accidents between Korea and China, which was held in Hangjou, China, on 19 April (at the meeting, the parties concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Investigation of Marine Accidents in which the obligation to cooperate for investigation was provided); the meeting of high-level officials on the Marine Environment between Korea and China, which was held in Jeousan City, China, on 26–8 April (the parties agreed to conduct a joint observation project for the monitoring of ecological environment of the Yellow Sea); the first Trilateral High Level Dialogue on the Arctic between Korea, Japan, and China, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 28 April; the Working Group Meeting for the Implementation of the Agreement of the Korea–China Joint Commission on Fisheries, which was held in Beijing, China, on 28 April; the twenty-fourth meeting of the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, which was held in Busan, Korea, on 16–20 May; the seventh World Fisheries Congress, which was held in Busan, Korea, on 23–7 May; the twentieth meeting of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, which was held in Reunion, France, on 23–7 May (the total allowance of catch (TAC) for Korea was reduced by 15 percent to 7,520 tons due to decreased resources as a result of overfishing); the second International Symposium on the ABS of Marine Genetic Resources, which was held in Seochun, Korea, on 9 June; the Third Conference of the Parties of the Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement, which was held in Reunion, France, on 3–8 July; the ninth Korea–China Cooperative Meeting on Fisheries Problems, which was held in Gwangju, Korea, on 5 July (at the meeting, the Korean representative asked their Chinese counterpart for effective enforcement of Chinese regulations on illegal fisheries within the Korean exclusive economic zone and the Yellow Sea area around the northern limit line between the two Koreas); the thirty-second meeting of the Committee on Fisheries of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which was held in Rome, Italy, on 11–12 July; the thirty-eighth annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization, which was held in Havana, Cuba, on 19–23 September; the twenty-third meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna, which was held in Taiwan on 10–13 October. Due to the conspicuous restoration of bluefin tuna, the TAC of the species for Korea will increase by 100 tons to 1,240 tons next year; the 118th meeting of the Committee for Fisheries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which was held in Paris, France, on 17–19 October; the Plenary Session of the General Assembly of International Oil Pollution Compensation, which was held in London, United Kingdom, on 17–20 October; the thirty-fifth meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, which was held in Hobart, Australia, on 24–8 October (at the meeting, Korea was exempted from the list of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fisheries in the Antarctic Sea); the twentieth meeting of ICCAT, which was held in Vilamoura, Portugal, on 14–21 November; the Asian Regional Conference for the Sustainable Management of Fishery Resources, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 29–30 November. Six countries from Asia and several international non-governmental organizations, including the Environmental Justice Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, attended the conference and discussed effective means for sustainable fisheries of Asian countries, methods for strengthening the legality and transparency of fisheries and efficient international cooperation, and so on; and the tenth International Forum for Maritime Affairs, which was held in Busan, Korea, on 15 December. The Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the US Naval Research Laboratory conducted a joint survey of the sea area around the Korean Peninsula from 20 May to 6 June. The environmental situation around the sea area, including the red tide problem, was monitored through the satellites and research ships of the two states. Korea endeavoured to provide assistance to various developing countries in the area of the marine environment. First, Korea co-hosted the second Sustainable Ocean Initiative Training of Trainers Workshop in the area of marine coast management with sixteen developing countries, including Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cambodia, Eritrea, and Mozambique, contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity. The workshop was held with the Secretariat of the CBD in Yeosu, Korea, on 18–22 July. Second, Korea gave financial and technical support to the Philippines for the management of the marine reserve zone Visayas. Finally, on the domestic front, the Korean Ministry of Marine Affairs established a Task Force for the Response to the Impact of Climate Change on Fisheries and held a couple of meetings. In addition, the Korean Ministry of Marine Affairs established an information centre for ABS information on marine living resources. (5) Energy First, an amended international document on energy issues entered into force—the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (8 May). Second, Korea participated in, or hosted, the following related international conferences: the first plenary session of the United States–Korea High-Level Bilateral Commission on Nuclear Power, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 14 April. At the session, the representatives concluded the terms of reference and work plan for the implementation of the newly adopted United States–Korea Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of Nuclear Power last year; the third session of the United States–Korea Energy Security Dialogue, which was held in Seoul, Korea, on 10 May; the United States–Korea Ministerial Meeting for the Nuclear Energy Security, which was held in Vienna, Austria, on 5 December. The ministers discussed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Conference on Nuclear Security: Enhancing Global Efforts and the US–Korean cooperation on nuclear power and climate change; and the fourth Northeast Asia Energy Security Forum, which was co-invited by UNESCAP and held in Seoul, Korea, on 15 December. At the forum, the participants (from China, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, and Korea) discussed various issues such as financial support, legal regulation, and inter-governmental and multilateral cooperation for the establishment of a cooperative network of electric power among Northeast Asian countries. (6) Toxic Chemicals and Hazardous Waste Korea hosted the eleventh Workshop on Information the Clearinghouse for Persistent Organic Pollutants of East Asian Countries in Incheon, Korea, on 27 September. The workshop was planned to provide an opportunity to share information for the effective implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and to provide education and training analysis technology for persistent organic pollutant monitoring to developing countries. Domestically, the Korean Ministry of Environment concluded a standard model implementation agreement on the common registration of hazardous chemicals with four Korean chemical companies. The agreement is expected to inspire other chemical companies to participate actively in the common registration system. (7) Other Events At the 197th meeting of the Joint Commission of the Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Korea, the parties agreed to continue to implement cooperative measures to solve the oil pollution problem on the Yongsan US military base through an Environmental Joint Working Group and to rehabilitate the land and the environment of the site, which had been used as a military base. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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