3rd UNESCO Training Course
One thing that one quickly learns in the UNESCO family is that you are not alone, but I still was surprised to receive an invitation to the 3rd UNESCO Training Course for Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves Managers from 19 to 22 October 2015 on Jeju Island Biosphere Reserve, Republic of Korea. Fortunately, the board of directors was supportive of my suggestion that we should make use of this and what an eye-opener it was for all of us here at the KBRC!
So what did I learn from this experience:
- Since 2012 there has been a World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves, which have the aim of studying, implementing and disseminating island and coastal strategies to preserve biodiversity and heritage, promote sustainable development, and adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. The network has two technical headquarters: an office on the volcanic island of Jeju (Republic of Korea) that focuses on climate change issues, and another in Menorca (Spain) which specializes in sustainable development.
- Once known as an island of too many women (widows of fishermen who perished at sea), rocks and wind, Jeju transformed itself into a world class educational and tourist destination. Recognised as one of the modern seven wonders of the world (Table Mountain is also one), Jeju receives now more than twelve million visitors per year and has one of the busiest airports in Asia.
- Jeju is utilizing its triple crown status as world heritage site, biosphere reserve and modern wonder of the world to its full advantage through signage, branding and marketing.
- The government of Jeju has accepted climate change as a fact and is preparing itself for the impacts that it will have on its terrestrial and marine environments.