The President of the Republic of Korea
Mr Roh Moo-hyun1 Sejongno,
Seoul, South Korea
13 August 2003
Dear President Roh Moo-hyun,
I am writing to urge you to oppose the continuation of the Saemangeum project to enclose 40,100ha of tidal flats and shallows behind a sea wall. If the project proceeds, it will have serious environmental impacts on water quality, birdlife and fisheries. The reclamation of the Saemangeum wetlands, which are a critical feeding area for shorebirds along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, will eliminate extremely important habitat for hundreds of thousands of shorebirds, including threatened species such as the Spotted Greenshank, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Saunders Gull.
Many of South Korea's important wetlands have already been reclaimed, therefore, the remaining wetlands and waterways are extremely important for the future conservation of migratory waterbird species that pass through more than 20 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, China and Mongolia. South Korea, as a signatory to the Ramsar Convention and the Convention of Biological Diversity, has international obligations to conserve the populations of these migratory species that it needs to fulfill.
WWF Australia believes that the only responsible management decision is to ensure that it does not proceed. WWF, as an international NGO, has enclosed a petition with 3,220 signatures (that were compiled within the space of only a week) urging you to oppose the reclamation of Saemangeum wetlands. We ask that you strongly encourage your government to cancel the reclamation project and thereby maintain South Korea's vital role in the international protection of these migratory species.
Chief Executive Officer
CC Mr Yoon Young-kwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
CC Ms Han Myeong Sook, Minister of the Environment
CC Mr Sung K Huh, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries