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New vision needed for nature and development

Oct. 19, 2011 - 18:40 By
Fahad Al Attiya, chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Program

I welcome you to Korea, where nature and development are in perfect harmony. I am happy to hold the 10th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, under the slogan “Care for Land, Land for Life.”

I highly appreciate Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik for taking a time to be here despite his busy schedule.

The U.N. General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the U.N. undersecretary-general Sha Zhukang, the UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja, South Gyeongsang Province governor Kim Du-kwan, and other high-level officials from each country are all here to discuss DLDD (drought, land degradation and desertification).

As we all know, DLDD is a global dilemma that threatens not only our generation but also the next generation. If land and forests become desolated, environmental problems such as climate change and natural disasters are going to provoke challenges for the economy. Land is an asset of human beings.

This recognition arrives from responsibility to share nature with the next generation. As the UNCCD Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja mentioned at the first session of COP, preventing desertification and land management are essential for sustainable development.

To approach the root of the problem, we need a new vision for nature and economic development. Preventing desertification requires continuous land management. The whole process should be done in a new paradigm called green growth.

In this sense, I would like to emphasize the timely action of the Korean government when it introduced its “Low Carbon Green Growth” strategy in 2008. Under the strategy, Korea has been increasing the number and volume of environmental benefits by well managing forest and water resources. It has also urged other nations to share the same values and take action toward a green society.

Korea has expressed its will to work with international society on environmental issues several times. “Ecosystemic development,” which was recently introduced by the government, suggests new direction in dealing with the aforementioned problems. Ecosystemic development also stresses that partnership between developing and industrialized nations can only make a positive change toward sustainable development. This is a universal value we all share and the Korea Forest Service will turn this philosophy into reality by establishing Asian Forest Cooperation Organization at the high-level meeting this morning. Leaders from each country have expressed a strong will to combat DDLD. I would like to say that developed countries and influential leaders hold a crucial role in this matter. Like Korea overcame its difficult times in history, cooperation between governments and international organizations will be able to pull through the situation.

Thank you again to Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and officials from abroad who came here to work together on DLDD. Enjoy your stay in Korea.

By Lee Don-koo, Korea Forest Service minister

(Unofficial translation)