Shorter are the days that separate us from the IUCN World Conservation Congress. That was the motivation driving the D-100 celebrations held on Saturday 2 June at the International Convention Centre Jeju (ICCJ).
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General, travelled from the headquarters of IUCN in Switzerland to take part in the ceremony on the prized Korean island.
“In only 100 days from now, we will welcome thousands of conservationists, business leaders, community representatives, philanthropists and government delegates from all corners of the world to this wonderful place,” she said to an estimated 3,500 spectators.
“I will be personally speaking about the Jeju Congress in less than two weeks from now at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil. The Jeju Congress will be the first major international event after Rio, where we will start putting Rio commitments into action.”
Ms Marton-Lefèvre was joined by Yoo Young-Sook, Minister of Environment; Woo Keun-min, Governor of Jeju Special Self-governing Province; Lee Hong Koo, Chairman of the Korean Organizing Committee (KOC) and former Prime Minister of Korea; and Kim Chong Chun, KOC secretary general.
In the opening speech, Chairman Lee described the Congress as “the most influential conference in seeking possible solutions to global environmental challenges”.
Minister Yoo gave a positive message on the Republic’s environmental commitments: “We will try to ensure that the IUCN Congress will serve as an opportunity to broaden the horizon of Korea’s conservation policies and move toward an environmentally advanced nation.”
The Ministry of Environment, the Jeju Special Self-governing Province and the Korean Organizing Committee, which was set up specifically for the IUCN Congress, are highly engaged in making the next IUCN Congress one of the best and most impactful to date.
In front of the numerous attendees who came to show their support, Governor Woo said: “Great interest and efforts of you all here today are very important to ensure that the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress will seed a new era in global environmental history.”
People from Jeju and mainland Korea were present at the ICCJ to enjoy the open concert organized to raise awareness of the Congress. One of the highlights that kept the younger crowds on their feet was the live performance by 2am, one of the country’s most popular boys band.
2am sing the Congress campaign song, “Let’s Go Green Together”, which calls on people’s willingness to care for the Earth.
D-100 was also an occasion to recognize the contributions by online supporters, with other activities taking place, including an essay competition for Korean students and a photo exhibition.
The high participation rate in this day of festivities is a boost in the right direction for the World Conservation Congress, as the countdown thins down into the two-digits.