May started for HSF Korea with a visit from the German Forestry Council and colleague Pierre Clinquart, Project Manager of HSF DR Congo. Together with the visitors, HSS Korea took part in various events and activities. The reason for the visit was the XV World Forestry Congress, which took place in Seoul from 2-6 May.
On 12 May, Dr. Bernhard Seliger, representative of HSF Korea, gave a lecture on biodiversity on the Korean Peninsula as part of an online seminar series on Korean Studies at the University of Melbourne. The lecture focused on the current situation around biodiversity in North and South Korea as well as the protection and opportunities offered by inter-Korean and international cooperation.
One day later, on 13 May, HSF Korea was pleased to receive a visit from Seoul City University. Together with Dr. Yu-Hyun Cho, Director of the Institute of Seoul Studies at Seoul University, and two researchers from the Institute, Dr. Tae-Yoon Kim and Young-Seok Son, they discussed the cooperation of various projects. Last year, both partners signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the Seoul City Council on research and cooperation with a view to possible cooperation between Seoul, Pyongyang and Berlin to overcome the division between North and South Korea. However, this project is proving to be extremely difficult, especially now that there is a Corona outbreak in North Korea.
On 16 May, HSF Korea together with the EAAFP Secretariat, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Birds Korea and Hwaseong Eco Foundation visited the Hwaseong Wetland. During the visit, participants observed waterbirds ranging from 5,000 to 8,000, including Great Knot and Curlew. As HSS Korea is committed to the conservation of Hwaseong Wetlands, it will organise the 2022 International Symposium for Hwaseong Wetlands this year together with Hwaseong City, Hwaseong Eco Foundation, EAAFP and other partner organisations.
Dr. Seliger and Dr. Hyun-Ah Choi, senior researcher at HSF Korea, participated in the roundtable on forest cooperation on 18 May. This was organised by the Korea Forest Service and Green One Korea, who invited experts from various fields. Dr. Sung-Hyun Nam, the new Minister of the Korea Forest Service, also participated in the round table.
On 25 May, Dr. Choi participated in a field trip to Panmunjom as a member of the Health and Medical Cooperation Platform. This place has been considered a symbol of peace on the Korean peninsula since 2018.
Most recently, on 26 May, Dr. Seliger visited the inter-Korean Forest Centre in Paju, which was only opened in 2020. Last year, HSF Korea was already able to organise a seminar with the Forest Centre. The head of the centre, Mr Youngjin Kim, and his employees showed the smarthouses, tree nurseries and other agroforestry areas during a tour of the Forest Centre. Trees are grown there, which hopefully one day can be planted in North Korea.