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Are You Protecting Our Earth?

Nowadays, many NGO groups are active trying to solve problems, which are generally spread on society. One of the problems is environment. To protect the Global Commons, an international environmental group, the Sustainable Development Network (SDN), was created by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Korea also has one of these groups, Korean Sustainable Development Network (KSDN).
We wanted to know about the KSDN in comparison with other SDNs. So, the Post met Yeon, Je Heon, a staff member of the KSDN..............Ed.

Post: I heard that SDN is related to international environment campaign. What is SDN?
Yeon: UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) was held in 1992. It was focused on the rapidly increasing environmental problems in the world. They needed accurate information concerned with improving the environment. So, UNDP made Sustainable Development Network (SDN) in 1993.
As you know, environmental problems are a big issue not only in developing countries and backward countries, but also in advanced countries. Actually, advanced countries with their industrial pollution cause more environmental problems. For that reason, advanced countries felt that they should take shoulder the environmental responsibility ahead. They created SDN to lead in solving environmental problems.
The Internet also has become a means of communication and a place to exchange information by the 밒nternet Revolution,?which started around 1990. Through SDN, each country exchanges information about its environmental situation. As a result, SDN has been exchanging information since 1993.
Post: Which countries belong to SDN? And what are their activities?
Yeon: At first, SDN's activities were in developing countries. Now members of SDN are increasing all over the world. About 90 countries are registered with SDN.
For example, in Guatemala, the Center for Mayan Women Communicators (CMCM) was made by GSDN (Guatemala SDN), a non-profit organization. Indigenous women in the directive committee determine the center's activities. Women in Guatemala are far from the benefits of civilization. For example, they don't know how to use a computer. CMCM developed their skills in communication technology to enable women to better represent themselves in the world and in the media. Videos and photography are often used as tools for education.
In India, many educational programs about the environment are performed. Indira Gandhi National Forestry Academy (IGNFA) is one such example. The main objectives of the training are to impart professional knowledge of forestry and managerial skills, and to help the probationers imbibe the fundamental ethos of the All India Services.
Also, PSDN (Philippine SDN) conducted a series of lectures to disseminate the results of studies and research on policies related to water resources management. Because the Philippines is a representative country that is having problems with water resources scarcity. It also sponsored the Symposium on Biodiversity Conservation. The symposium was held to examine existing and emerging issues about biodiversity with UNDP and Protected Areas & Wildlife Bureau (PAWB).
Many such issues are interchanged and discussed among SDNs of each country.
 
Post: Korea has also joined with the name of KSDN. Would you tell me about KSDN?
Yeon: KSDN was launched in 1993 by the YMCA (Young Men Christian Association). KSDN is different in comparison with other countries. SDNs are usually subsidiary organizations of governments; in contrast, KSDN is run by a civic organization. KSDN participates in many kinds of social problems including environmental problems. So, it joins with other civic groups, including Recycling Information Center, Korean Alliance for Biosafety & Bioethics, and Environmental Education Center, to solve problems.
The recent business of KSDN is to raise leaders who can teach people about the importance of environmetal protection. Now, we are doing two important projects, "Tree School (TS)" and "Making Green Campus (MGC)."
Most people are living without knowing the importance of trees. TS tries to awaken people about the importance of trees and to protect them. Green lectures will teach us about trees professionally.
Also, we want to make the university an environmentally friendly place through MGC. Our university trains many people who will lead this society. In their routine life, they can try to protect the environment. Recycling and separation of garbage are so easy to practice on campus. These are very small things that university students don't exactly recognize.
KSDN is doing its best to encourage university students to practice environmental protection. During a weekly MGC debate, students point out damage done to the environment at each university campus and try to find solutions. One of Dongguk University's volunteer student groups, Chamsarang Bongsadan is taking part in the program.

Post: What are your next plans?
Yeon: Essentially, SDN is an international organization. However, each country is active only for their local problems.
Thus, KSDN will share its experiences with other countries and join in common projects to solve environmental problems. Currently, we are trying to execute projects concerned with preserving the ozone layer with SDNs in Northeast Asia including Japan and China.

Kim Hye-jeong  bbejeoi@hanmail.net

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