|Shinan Getbol (yna.co.kr)|
On July 26th, Getbols (Korean tidal mudflats) were registered as a United Nations Educational, Scientific , and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in recognition of their value to biodiversity conservation. This is the 2nd World Natural Heritage Site in Korea after Jeju Volcanic Island and the Lava Tubes. Getbols were on the provisional list of World Heritage Sites in 2010 for the first time, but the application for UNESCO status was rejected in 2018. After that, Korea reapplied in January 2019, but the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the advisory and assessment council for UNESCO, turned it down, saying that the heritage site and its buffer zone were not enough. However, Korea did not give up, and finally, the efforts of the foreign ministry, local governments, and residents paid off. There are four registered Getbol sites: Seocheon, Gochang, Shinan, and Suncheon Bay. All four locations are protected as wetland conservation areas, and some of them are Ramsar wetlands, internationally important waterfowl habitats. These are especially important habitats for 22 endangered waterfowl species, five marine invertebrate species, and 47 endemic species. While recognizing the registration by UNESCO, the World Heritage Committee recommended expanding the buffer zone, management of development, and the protection of endangered migratory birds until the 48th World Heritage Committee. The Korea Cultural Heritage Administration announced to fulfill those recommendations by discussing them with other organizations.
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