Since 1998, The DMZ Forum, Inc. has been talking to people around the world about the Demilitarized Zone in Korea. We have talked with them about how the DMZ can be a key to peace and environmental restoration on the Peninsula. With the vital help in these early days, from individuals like Dr. Robert Lee, from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Ms.Yasko Karaki, the concepts and ideas were developed and have evolved into today's DMZ Forum. The ideas have caught people’s imagination wherever we have shared them.
Nature’s resurgence, with almost no human intervention in the DMZ since 1953, has excited the strong interest of scientists and citizens alike. They are eager to know what environmental science can learn from this special land and how we can use what nature has accomplished in the DMZ to restore its globally unique natural resources. People are hopeful that the DMZ can be designated as a peace park, teaching visitors from around the world about the environment, with great benefit to all of Korea. And they are hopeful that this common enterprise of North and South Korea can contribute to peace and broad cooperation between them.
Preserving the DMZ for all these purposes has been an easy idea to sell. People everywhere quickly embrace it. Several have volunteered financial support before even asked. Distinguished scientists and public policy leaders have testified to the power of the idea of preserving the Demilitarized Zone as an eco-tourist peace park and environmental laboratory. Their testimony demonstrates that the idea is scientifically valid and socially important and provides substantial hope that the goal of DMZ conservation can be achieved.
CNN founder Ted Turner addressed the 2005 DMZ Forum conference and visited North Korea in support of the DMZ Forum’s mission. He had previously established the Turner Foundation to protect the world’s natural systems-healthy habitat for wildlife and humans-stimulating new constituencies for a healthy world environment. He also had committed a billion dollars to the United Nations Foundation to promote international cooperation through the UN. And he had established and co-chairs the Nuclear Threat Initiative to protect the world from nuclear disaster. Ted Turner’s dedication to the goals of the DMZ Forum is one testimony that the goals have global significance.
The DMZ Forum already has begun to help protect important bird habitat in both North and South Korea. At a meeting with North and South Korean environmental experts and scientists from five other countries, a program was launched to increase farm output in North Korea in an area adjacent to the DMZ, while also providing the food essential for the very survival of endangered cranes and other threatened bird species migrating through the area.
We thank all of you for joining in this momentous effort.
Kim, Ke Chung, Chairman and Co-Founder
Lee, Seung-ho, President and Co-Founder