The Celebration Ceremony of Korean Getbol World Heritage Inscription

On 27 October, 2021, the Celebration Ceremony of Getbol World Heritage Inscription took place in one of the new World Heritage sites, Shinan County, Republic of Korea (ROK).

Beginning with a strong statement by President Moon Jae-In, highlighting his respect to the local citizens who chose to secure coexistence with nature to conserve the tidal flats, or locally known as Getbol, a global heritage, the ceremony was convened. He remarked on the unforgettable devotion shared by the local governments, ecology researchers and Kyrgyz Republic leading the support for the inscription as the World Heritage Committee member on Getbol. He promised the National Government’s strong continuous support to harmonize co-existence with human and nature through Getbol conservation, and to improve the living conditions for the local citizens. He said, “I truly believe that tidal flats are a treasure trove of biodiversity that connects human and nature, and it is the most valuable school where we learn how to live together with the planet.”

President Moon Jae-In congratulatory remark
© World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat

During the ceremony, the Cultural Heritage Administration presented the appreciation plaques towards the devoted site managers, domestic advisors and international communities who had supported the process of the inscription for the sites, including EAAFP Secretariat, Birdlife International, Royal Society of the Protection of Birds, International Crane Foundation, Wetlands International, Global Flyway Network of New Zealand and experts.

The international community also congratulated the successful outcome of Getbol World Heritage inscription, tracked for over 10 years since 2010. Remarks were shared from Mr. Azamat KADYRALIEV, Acting Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan UNESCO, Ms. Patricia Zurita, CEO of BirdLife International, Mr. Bernard Baerends, Executive Secretary to the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, Mr. Robb Kaler, Chair of EAAFP Secretariat, and Lee Joon-ik, film director of ‘The Book of Fish’. Mr. Peter Shadie, IUCN Senior Advisor on World Heritage, shared that following the inscription of the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I) in 2019, it sparked a new role of the World Heritage Convention to intervene in ‘the large planetary scale migratory corridors critical for biodiversity.’ Dr. Dindo Campilan, Regional Director of IUCN Asia Regional Office, invited ROK to utilize the IUCN West/Yellow Sea Working Group, a unique regional platform to ‘exchange knowledge, and harmonize management with the transboundary country.’

Mr. Doug Watkins receiving appreciation plaque ©GWorld Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat

Ms. Hyeseon Do and domestic experts receiving appreciation plaque©World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat

Ms. Nicola Crockford receiving appreciation plaque ©World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat

Mr. Jens Enemark receiving appreciation plaque ©World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat

The certificates of the World Heritage Natural Heritage sites were also presented to the local governments during the ceremony.

Local governments receiving appreciation plaque ©World Heritage Promotion Team of Korean Tidal Flat

Mr. Kim Hyun-mo, Administrator of CHA remarked on the success of the World Heritage inscription and acknowledged the efforts played by many stakeholders domestically and internationally. Mr. Kim stressed CHA’s devotion and efforts to manage co-existence between human and nature to continue the strong commitment made by the citizens, government officials, and the international community.

Mr. Kim Yung-Rok, the governor of South Jeolla Province gave his congratulatory remark with recognition of the international communities’ contribution. He acknowledged that strong efforts were made to conserve the Getbol and its ecological resource and will further enhance future value for the most valuable asset of mankind by working with local governments. Furthermore, he shared that through creating the ‘Getbol wetland garden’ it will manage the marine wetland ecology and ensure it will serve as the largest blue carbon reservoir. Mr. Kim stressed the necessity to establish a Getbol World Heritage integrated management center to conserve, manage and wisely use the wetland. He concluded in hope that more areas of tidal flats in the province can be included in the UNESCO tidal flat in the Phase 2 nomination.

Then Mr. Park Woo-ryang the head of Shinan County gave a commemorate speech reminding the 10-year efforts of the inscription from 2010 when it initially was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list up to 2021 during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee when the Getbol was announced as a World Heritage. Mr. Park encouraged as around 40% of tidal flats are nominated as a global heritage in ROK, we need to support more local governments to designate wetland protected areas through alleviating the concerns raised by municipal cities and the residents. Moreover, he mentioned there needs to be a government-wide approach prioritizing eco-friendly agriculture and introduce policies such as sewage water quality charges at the Yeongsan River, and Geum River.

The event was co-organized by Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA), Shinan County, and World Heritage Promotion Team for Korean Tidal Flat. Key participants involved the governor of South Jeolla Province, the head of Seocheon County, the Member of Congress for Agriculture, Food, Rural Affairs, Oceans and Fisheries Committee, Cultural Secretary to the President (Blue House), Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Korea (ROK) to UNESCO, Diplomats in ROK (6 countries), EAAFP Secretariat and more.

Congratulatory Speech by Mr. Robb Kaler, Chair of EAAFP 

Watch the Celebration Ceremony of Korean Getbol World Heritage Inscription:

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