Monks walk to save Saemangeum
Three of South Korea’s most prominent spiritual leaders are visiting the United Kingdom to publicise the protest against the world's largest ongoing coastal reclamation. The 40,000 ha Saemangeum project on South Korea's west coast has generated enormous controversy as the area supports the livelihoods of an estimated 25,000 people and some of the largest and most important concentrations of migratory birds in Asia.
WBKEnglish, a UK/Korean conservation network and a Korean NGO, the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM), are holding a "samboilbae" ("three steps and a bow") walk, with the support of the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK).
On July 15th a Korean mid-level court made a historic ruling, effective immediately, stating that the Saemangeum reclamation project must stop. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) appealed, insisting that work should be allowed to continue. A ruling is expected soon. However, reclamation work has apparently already started again.
International protests centre on South Korea's apparent disregard for international conventions it has signed, which should ensure the conservation of Saemangeum and the migratory bird populations which depend upon it.