Story | 25 Apr, 2023

IUCN and Korea strengthen cooperation to support Nature-based Solutions for water management in the Mekong region

On 24 March 2023, during the UN Water Conference in New York, IUCN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea (MoE) and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water).

The MoU establishes a framework for cooperation on resolving water issues in Asia-Pacific , with a focus on the  implementation of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) in the Lower Mekong Region. The agreement supports the goals of each of the partners’ plans, including RoK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, IUCN’s Nature 2030 Programme, and K-Water’s Korea-Mekong Water Management Collaboration Research Center (KMCRC).

Moreover, the agreement formalises the partnership between the three institutions, and builds on previous collaborative work. The Republic of Korea has been an IUCN State Member since 2006, a Framework Partner to IUCN, and has recently hosted the IUCN Leader’s Forum in Jeju in October 2022.

We expect to conduct planning and research for a trilateral cooperation project that will commence this year and expand it to a green-grey infrastructure project for the Mekong region as part of MoE’s official development assistance program, said Dr. Wha-jin Han, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea.

Dr Bruno Oberle, Director General of IUCN, said: “More than ever, we are aware of how important water is for societies and economies, as well as how scarce freshwater is. It is important to manage water and its ecosystems so that they can deliver benefits to society and the environment. Nature-based Solutions supports the achievement of these results.”

We believe that NbS will provide an optimal solution to support the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity of Mekong countries, while effectively addressing water issues in the region, added Dr. Pyung-rock Park, Executive Vice President of K-Water.

The MoU will help the three signatories achieve their common goal of promoting effective water resources management in the region, through fostering exchanges between the public and private sectors, and pooling technical resources and experts to increase effectiveness.