Jeju environment conference ends without resolution on Gangjeong Village

Posted on : 2012-09-18 14:11 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
While resolution was voted down, activists say issue drew international attention
 as it opened on Sept. 6 at the Jeju International Convention Center. (by Shin So-young
as it opened on Sept. 6 at the Jeju International Convention Center. (by Shin So-young

By Heo Ho-joon, Jeju correspondent 

A resolution on the Jeju naval base issue failed to pass at the World Conservation Congress, held from Sept. 6 to 15 in Jeju. Nevertheless, observers said the issue received international attention through the event.

The Center for Humans and Nature, a US-based group, submitted a resolution to the congress on Sept. 9 demanding a halt to the naval base construction effort, with signatures from 34 groups supporting the move. A heated debate ensued until the last day of the congress, but the resolution was voted down 68 to 20 in the voting by government organizations. Sixty voters abstained.

In the NGO voting, the resolution was approved by a more than two-to-one margin, with 269 votes for to 120 against and 128 abstentions.

According to congress decision-making guidelines, a resolution is only approved with more than 51% of the vote from both government organizations and NGOs.

The resolution may not have passed, but the naval base issue did receive attention in and outside the congress site. The Gangjeong Village Association requested the IUCN’s permission to set up a booth, but seven overseas activists who planned to attend were not allowed into the country.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense and Navy staged press conferences in an all-out campaign to block the resolution, which analysts said only drew more overseas activists’ eyes to the issue.

Gang Dong-gyun, the village association’s head, said that in spite of the government and province’s efforts to block the resolution, the combined vote totals for government organizations and NGOs showed 289 approving the resolution to 188 opposing it.

“This shows that the arguments of the village association and opposing groups were recognized to a significant degree,” he said.


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