What happened at the end of last year (2003)?

  • 12 December:

    "Birding World" publishes "Fulfilling a lifelong ambition".Vol 16 No 11 of the widely-read UK magazine "Birding World", published this month, contains Dave Parmenter's essay on seeing Spoon-billed Sandpipers at Saemangeum, "Fulfilling a lifelong ambition". This essay has now appeared on websites and in magazines all over Europe.

  • 04 December:

    Saemangeum threat posted on GreenNet.A brief item with links to Birds Korea has today been posted on the UK-based GreeNet website. The URL is http://www.gn.apc.org/news/alternet/103%2004-12-03.html#a9

  • 20 November:

    WWT publish article on Saemangeum.The Wildfowl And Wetlands Trust has this month published an article in their magazine looking at the threat to Saemangeum, part of which is reproduced below:


    In a letter to the Prime Minister of South Korea, WWT has expressed its concern at the continued threat posed by a reclamation project to the internationally important tidal flats of the Saemangeum Esturary. Of particular concern are the 30 or so species of waterbird that use the site in intgernationally important numbers - the estuary would easily qualify as a Ramsar site. At least four of the species - Black-faced Spoonbill, Spotted Greenshank, Saunders's Gull and Chinese Egret - are globally threatened with extinction . In addition, the loss of fishery and other wetland values and benefits stand to seriously harm South Korea's international reputation."

  • 20 November:

    EcoPrior feature in Korean newspaper.Using a title guaranteed to alarm any Tourism Minister, "Saemangeum more famous than Korea?", the influential environment correspondent CHO Hong-sup of the Hankyoreh Daily Newspaper (circulation 400,000) today reported the story of EcoPrior's efforts to support the Birds Korea campaign and published a photo of the group.

    Within two days over 150 visits to the Birds Korea website came as "click-throughs" from the article.

  • 17 November:

    EcoPrior post report on CBBC. Matthew Osment, one of EcoPrior's members, today had a passionate letter he wrote to Children's BBC posted on the CBBC website. The letter seeks to promote awareness of the Saemangeum Reclamation project, and protest about the possible extinction of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

    To see the posting go to, http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/club/your_reports

  • 04 November:

    The Appeal against the suspension of work on the Saemangeum Reclamation was due to be heard on October 31st. The hearing went ahead, and according to representatives from the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), Korea's largest environmental NGO, the "expert witnesses" called by the pro-reclamation Ministry of Agriculture and Farming (MAF) added very little to the arguments that have already been set out. The current feeling is that a final decision on Saemangeum's future will now not be made before the beginning of next year at the earliest.

  • 24 October:

    "ONTBIRDS" listserver posts information about petition. The Ontario Birds listserver today posted a request for its members to sign our online petition - resulting in over 150 signatures in 24 hours. Thankyou to David Milsom and Mark Cranford.

  • 23 October:

    Finnish politician contacts EU about Saemangeum. Heidi Hautala of the Finnish parliament to the European Union Delegation for relations with the Member States of ASEAN, South-east Asia and the Republic of Korea, has written to Patricia McKenna asking "if there is anything that can be done on the Saemangeum project in South Korea" and "whether there has been any discussions on this topic in the delegation meetings".
    As previously stated Government level approaches are highly important in trying to show the global disapproval that now exists for the Saemangeum Reclamation project.

    (Thanks to Annika Forsten for this information.)

  • 22 October:

    Bath (UK) Students collect 4000 petition signatures in three weeks! EcoPrior, a student group led by 16 year old Tobias Nowlan, has just handed 4000 petition signatures to Birds Korea. For the full story, please go to EcoPrior.

  • 17 October:

    UK Birder spreads the word about Saemangeum. Dave Parmenter visited Korea with Birds Korea in September, and has been so moved by seeing Spoon-billed Sandpipers and Saemangeum first-hand that he was written a passionate essay and sent it to websites around the world. Go to "Fulfilling a lifelong ambition"

  • 02 October:

    Bath (UK) student fights Saemangeum reclamation. A student at a school in the UK city of Bath has set up an environmental-action group - and the first campaign they are getting involved with is the fight against the Saemangeum reclamation! Tobias Nowlan, 16, has been handing out copies of our petition and holding regular meetings to recruit fellow-students. Birds Korea has been actively supporting his superb efforts, and we will be posting the full story soon.


Go to Campaign News from the end of 2003 for more details.

Campaign News from September

Court hearings delayed and more publicity against the Saemangeum reclamation project.

  • Sightings of Spoon-billed Sandpipers and Spotted Greenshank at Okku, Saemangeum.

  • Birds Korea's "Rebutting MAF's arguments" Report posted.

  • Saemangeum Court Date announced. A press-release from Korean NGO KFEM stated that the date for the next part of the Court trial to decide Saemangeum's future will be held on October 31.

  • UK Member of Parliament James Gray forwards a letter from Bill Rammell, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, responding to questions about Saemangeum asked on our behalf.

Go to Campaign News from September for details.

Campaign News from August

Court decisions and Embassy visits: another crucially-important month in the campaign against the Saemangeum reclamation project:

  • KFEM photographed rocks being dumped below the water mark in gaps in the sea dyke on Saturday, in clear contradiction of the court ruling that construction must halt immediately.

  • Letter released from the Hon Dr David Kemp MP, The Australian Government's Minister of State for the Environment and Heritage, supporting opposition to the Saemangeum reclamation project.

  • Simon Bevilacqua, a journalist from The Sunday Tasmanian in Hobart, Tasmania, has written an article, "Awaiting sound of birds' survival call", on the Saemangeum reclamation and its impact on Australia and Tasmania's migratory waders.

  • Ramsar Gen-Sec Peter Bridgewater sends a diplomatic note protesting the reclamation to the Korean Government.

  • Reports of the Embassy visit in Seoul (see below) have been covered by Korea's Yonhap News Agency; on the MSN (Korea) news home-page; and it was the front page story in Focus - a free media outlet with a very large circulation.

  • Birds Korea's Nial Moores conducts a 1-hour telephone interview with Nature Magazine (Tokyo office) about Saemangeum.

  • John Wall, webmaster of the campaigning website "WorldTwitch" posted an excellent update on the Saemangeum campaign.

  • Allan Archer, conservationist and webmaster of the website talk:Wildlife posts an excellent update.

  • Paula Palmer, Global Response: "The Colorado Coalition for Peace and Justice is featuring the Saemangeum campaign and the practice of 3 Steps 1 Deep Bow on their new website. See http://www.coloradopeace.org/AroundTheState/

  • August 20th: Birds Korea representative Nial Moores, Seo Joo Won, Gen Sec of KFEM (with ca 87 000 members), and Choi Seung Guk, Vice Sec Gen of Green Korea United (with ca 15 000 members) today met CHUNG Rae-kwon, of the International and Economic Affairs Bureau at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Seoul at 10:30 local time.

  • Charlie Moores of Birds Korea, Dr Nigel Collar, Chairman of the Oriental Bird Club, Alan Sharpe, Finance Director of the RSPB, Gareth Gardiner-Jones of Birdlife International, and Hannah Griffiths of Friends of the Earth presented signed letters of protest, the Birds Korea/KFEM petition to date, and the Birds Korea "Birds of South Korea" video to HAN Sung Rae at the Korean Embassy in London.

  • Friends of the Earth-US hand deliver letters of concern to the South Korean Embassy in Washington DC.

  • The American Bird Conservancy sends protest letter to the Korean Ambassador and copied it to John Turner, Assistant Secretary of Oceans and International Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

    Other American organizations that have shown strong support for South Korean people opposing the reclamation include the Sierra Club, Global Response, and the American Birding Association. Communications have also been received by key researchers in the US's government's Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • Bernadette O'Leary of WWF Australia delivers a "Save Saemangeum" petition with 3,220 signatures (collected through WWF's "Panda Passport" scheme) to the Korean Embassy in Canberra, along with a signed letter from WWF-Australia CEO Mark Butcher.

    Wetlands International-Oceania, Birds Australia and WWF also collaborated on a press release.

  • New Zealand's Royal Forest and Birds has been helping to lead protests within New Zealand, along with the Australasian Wader Studies Group members and the Miranda Naturalist's Trust where many of Saemangeum's Bar-tailed Godwits spend the northern winter.

Go to Campaign News from August for more details.

Campaign News from July

TVE's "Dike Hard" and suspension of the reclamation: a crucially-important month in the campaign against the Saemangeum reclamation project:

  • July 7th: After years of domestic protests, the international media reported on Saemangeum. Television Trust for the Environment's (TVE) superb 30-minute documentary "Dike Hard", was broadcast daily for a week from July 7th on BBC World's "Earth Report", and repeated on Korean channel YTN.

  • July 15th: In a stunning victory for Korean environmental leaders a mid-level court (the Third District of Seoul Adminstrative Court) made a historic ruling on a case brought by South Korean environmental groups and 3 539 local citizens: the Saemangeum project must stop, effective immediately!

  • July 16th: The Agriculture Minister resigns in protest.

  • July 18th: Birds Korea posts an online petition co-signed by KIM Choony, KFEM's International Co-ordinator, and mails out to listservers worldwide.

  • July 19th: The newly resigned ex-Agriculture Minister, apparently states in a public meeting that the courts have no right to involve in such a case, and questions the ability of the lead judge expected to deliver the final verdict in this case, as the judge, who is only in his 40s, is "too young".

  • July 22nd: A report in the Korean Times suggests that for the first time the Government is considering a "viable" compromise - an "eco-park" and tourism complex.

  • July 23rd: Korea's fourth Agriculture Minister since August 2000, Mr HUH Young-kwan, is appointed to one of the hottest jobs in Korean politics!

  • July 27th: New Zealand Conservation Group, Forest and Bird, publish Press-Release: July 27, 2003 - Wellington

Go to Campaign News from July for more details.