6 – Oct: Co-management of multi-designated sites-Webinars for EABRN members(4)
Question 1 to Prof. Shim
MAB is not recognized in the same way in every country. Therefore, how could we make MAB more relevant and more important in terms of linkage with economy and eco-system services?
In ROK we have done some public polls to investigate the recognition of various UNESCO designations. In the Jeju Island case, World heritage is the most recognized and well-known one, followed by Biosphere reserve and Geopark. Other sites in ROK are more or less the same. This indicates that BR still has a lot to improve regarding the recognition of the local community.
Biosphere Reserve usually covers a variety of ecosystems and is quite diverse. It is an advantage, but could also be a disadvantage, since it could halt the forming of a significant, vivid image or symbol of BR, especially compared with World Heritage Site. One of the solutions to this question is promoting model areas or projects in BRs. Recently in Jeju Island, we are carrying out projects related to the branding of local products and eco-tourism villages, which would enhance the linkage between BR, local communities, and the tourists.
How to solve the problem of possible conflicts between local administrative authorities (governments) and BR administrative authorities, especially from the legal aspect, if they are not the same unit?
In terms of Jeju Island, the site managers do meet some difficulties, because different areas and designations are under the jurisdiction of different government departments and different laws. For instance, natural world heritage is governed by the natural management law in ROK, while BR is under the national park departments and laws. Generally speaking, the problem is less significant at the local level, because those different departments are usually under the same bureau. But at the national level, coordination between different ministries could be much more difficult and complex.
We have done a worldwide survey regarding the laws about BRs and we found that the situations are very diverse. In ROK, BRs are treated as international programs, instead of natural protected areas and some of the areas (for example, transition zone) are managed by the local governments.
In China, there are also difficulties caused by multi-department management, but the governments are trying to do some integration to address this issue. In the Huangshan administrative committee, we have 3 different offices for 3 different designations, and meetings, as well as joint activities between 3 offices, are regularly organized to break the boundary between each other.