Suncheon, Republic of Korea

Implementation, Impact and Replicability

How does the initiative demonstrate evidence of a track record of success against pursued objectives?          

The Suncheonman National Garden, created to prevent the expansion of Suncheon City, attracts more than 5 million tourists every year.  And the number of international rare migratory bird wintering in Suncheonman Bay wetlands increased from 80 (99′) to up to 3,400 (21′).

  • Hooded cranes: 80 (’99) → 138 (’03) → 525 (’10) → 871 (’13) → 1,725 (’16). In 2021, 3,400 cranes, the largest ever, safely finished wintering.
  • The number of tourists: 100,000 (’03) → 1.28 million (’05) → 2.95 million (’10) → 6.99 million (’13) → 5.43 million (’16) → 6.17 million (’19)
How has the initiative had a ripple effect beyond the scope of the initiative itself, thereby demonstrating a change in the city’s and/or its partners’ way of working with plants?

(Farmland) Create a habitat for hooded cranes led by residents.

  • About 282 electric poles of agricultural land were removed, and eco-friendly rice cultivation was carried out in farmland (59ha) around Suncheonman Bay from 2009.
  • Create jobs for residents such as supplying healthy food for winter birds, providing stable habitats, and protecting migratory birds.
  • The number of hooded cranes increased from 80 (1999) to 3,400 (2021), enhancing the brand value of Suncheonman Bay.

❍ (Tidal Flat) Production of various seafood products

  • Eleven fishing villages are distributed in Byeolryang-myeon, Haeryong-myeon, and Dosa-dong, and the proportion of fishing houses around the area accounts for 417 (40%) out of a total of 1,051 households.
  • Various marine products such as black cockles, cockles, razor clam, crabs, mudskippers, oysters, and corbicula (Theora fragilis) are produced in the clean tidal flat.
  • In order to prohibit illegal catch and overfishing of fish during the spawning season of fish(from July to August), a prohibition period is established to protect fish resources and promote autonomous fishing village management projects.
  • In the event of heavy rains in spring and autumn, the tidal flat purification project is carried out with 11 fishing village members to dispose of garbage flowing from land.
How have other cities expressed interest in the initiative, or what potential does it have to interest other cities and be customised to their own circumstances?

The efforts of Suncheon city to preserve wetlands and tidal flats re-examined the value of tidal flats, and in the 2010s, the paradigm of national policy shifted from reclamation to preservation. The five local governments (Suncheon, Sinan, Boseong, Gochang, and Seocheon) adjacent to the tidal flat jointly applied for UNESCO World Heritage registration in January 2018 but were rejected because there were not enough heritage zone and buffer zone. Accordingly, each city and county held a joint briefing session and made efforts to expand the heritage zone and buffer zone through heated discussions. With these efforts, the World Heritage Committee, which consists of 21 member countries, unanimously decided to register the five mudflats as a World Natural Heritage Site in July 2021 in recognition of their outstanding universal value.