Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
According to the KCNA, North Korea amended its environmental protection law on August 18, adding development of energy and environmental certification system into the revised act.
The environmental protection law is comprised of four sections and 50 articles, in which articles 38, 39, and 40 were added recently. These contain laws related to the development and usage of renewable energy resources, recycling technology, and implementation of environmental certification system. In addition, articles 44 and 48 were also supplemented in Section 4. They include plans for setting up environmental economic indicators.
According to the KCNA, “Based on this law, each agencies, companies and organizations are reducing fossil energy consumption to protect the environment and promote continuous economic growth. In its place, renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy are currently being explored.”
North Korea has registered eight hydroelectric plants with the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to receive carbon credits which can be sold to earn hard currency. Receiving accreditation toward the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) will allow developing countries to earn tradable carbon credits for emissions reductions from clean-energy projects.
Currently, Ryesonggang Hydropower Plant No. 3, 4, 5 and Wonsangunmin Hydropower Plant No. 1 reached the validation phase while the other four plants are at the prior consideration phase.
On July 26, the KCNA explained the environmental protection law was revised “to beautify our homeland, protect the health and wellbeing of our people, and provide culturally hygienic environment with favorable working conditions.” Accordingly, the environmental protection law passed in 1999 is now ineffective.
In recent years, North Korea seems to be paying keen attention to environmental protection issues. From May 16 to June 10, ten senior officials from the DPRK Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection and National Science and Technology Commission were invited to a training course at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand.
The program was implemented by the United Nations Economicand Social Commission for Asiaand the Pacific (ESCAP) as a part of the project “Promoting Regional and Economic Cooperation in Northeast Asia.” The four-week training program provided highly specialized training on integrated watershed management and reforestation.