Archive for the ‘Lumber’ Category

On DPRK efforts to join UN carbon market

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

UPDATE 14 (2016-12-8): The Pyongyang Times reports on the CDM project:

Various CDM projects obtain CERs

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change CDM Executive Board recently issued certified emission reductions for the DPRK’s clean development mechanism projects.

Today many countries make great efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of the worldwide bid to prevent global warming, the root cause of climate change.

The DPRK also proactively joins in the international efforts.

It signed the Kyoto Protocol, which took effect in 2005, and joined the Paris agreement on climate change signed by 174 countries in August this year.

The agreement, adopted at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris in 2015, is aimed at reducing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions to the maximum so that the global average temperatine would not rise more than 2 degrees over that in the 1850s, the pre-industrialization period.

As a signatory to the Paris agreement, the DPRK has worked out 2024 and 2030 greenhouse gas reduction plans and pushed ahead with them.

In keeping with the trend when the sales of carbon dioxide emission rights have emerged as CDM and CDM activities are brisk in the world environmental protection market, a non-permanent CDM committee has been set up in the Cabinet and the General Bureau for Cooperation with International Organizations of the Ministry of External Economic Relations plays the role of its secretariat.

While coordinating all CDM project activities in the country, the secretariat also undertakes issuance of CERs for various CDM project activities on the basis of agreements on cooperation for the development of CDM projects with CER buyers, Topic Energo of the Czech Republic and Ohana LLP, Britain.

In the course of this, several projects were registered as CDM projects by the CDM Executive Board. They include Ryesonggang Youth Power Station units 3, 4 and 5, Hamhung Youth Power Station unit 1, Kumyagang Power Station unit 2, Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station unit 2 and package projects for “Treatment of waste water from chemical factories in the DPRK” and “Collection and use of methane gas from coal mines in the DPRK”.

The secretariat ensured that Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station unit 2 and Ryesonggang Youth Power Station unit 4 obtained CERS for the first time after receiving international certification for their power generation in May.

Their CERs issued amount to 15 800 and 27 807 tons respectively.

The secretariat now works to achieve international certification of other registered CDM projects.

By Jong Hwa Sun PT

UPDATE 13 (2014-11-28): The Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No.4 has been completed. According to KCNA:

New Power Station Goes Operational

Kumchon, November 27 (KCNA) — Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 4 went operational.

President Kim Il Sung indicated the orientation of building the power stations on the Ryesong River. Leader Kim Jong Il visited the construction sites several times, setting forth tasks and ways for the construction and bestowing loving care and benevolence on the builders.

Marshal Kim Jong Un appreciated the achievements of the people in North Hwanghae Province when he visited Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 1. He not only took measures for finishing the construction of Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 2 by the concerted efforts of the army and people but also led the construction of Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 4.

The completion of Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 4 is another success in implementing the behests of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to settle the acute shortage of electricity in the North Hwanghae Province by building power stations on the Ryesong River. It also helped lay a more solid foundation for developing economy and improving the living standard of the people in the province.

The completion ceremony took place on Thursday.

Present at the ceremony were Tong Jong Ho, minister of Construction and Building-Materials Industry, Pak Thae Dok, chief secretary of the North Hwanghae Provincial Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and others.

Here is KCTV footage (7:21). Here is UNFCCC data.

UPDATE 12 (2012-12-13): Robert Winstanley-Chesters has some additional data here.

UPDATE 11 (2012-11-25): The DPRK has registered four more power plants with the UNFCCC CDM project.

1. Paekdusan Songun Youth Power Station No. 2 (백두산선군청년2호발전소)
Registered July 13, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The approximate location of the Paekdusan Songun Youth Power Station No. 2

The UNFCCC documents on the registration of the power plant can be seen here.

Total installed capacity of the project will be 14 MW, consisting of two sets of 7 MW hydropower turbines and associated generators.

According to the UN documents, the project is expected to be put into operation on January 1, 2014.

The organizations listed on the document are the Namgang Hydropower Construction Complex and Topič Energo s.r.o. (Czech Republic)

2. Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 4 (례성강청년4호발전소)
Registered July 20, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The approximate location of the Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 4.

The UNFCCC documents on the registration of the power plant can be seen here.

The installed capacity of the project is 10 MW, which consists of 4 sets of generating facilities with a capacity of 2.5 MW each. The project will generate the electricity energy of 40,030 MWh and supply 38,640 MWh to the WPG in a year.

According to the UN documents, the project is expected to be put into operation on December 1, 2012. This facility was last featured on the DPRK evening news on 2012-11-8. See the footage here.

The organizations listed on the document are the Kumchon Electric Power Company  and Topič Energo s.r.o. (Czech Republic).

3. Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 5 (례성강청년5호발전소)
Registered August 22, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth): Construction work on the Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 5.

The UNFCCC documents on the registration of the power plant can be seen here.

The installed capacity of the project is 10 MW, which consists of 4 sets of generating facilities with a capacity of 2.5 MW each. The project will generate electric energy of 41,150 MWh and supply 40,616 MWh.

Organizations listed in the document include the Kangdong Hydro Power Construction Company and Topič Energo s.r.o. (Czech Republic).

According to the documents, the project is planned to be put into operation on May 1, 2012. The most recent Google Earth satellite imagery is dated Spetember 5, 2011 and the last time the project was featured on North Korean television was November 5, 2011. I am skeptical that the project was finished on time since the opening of the dam has yet to be announced publicly.

4. Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 3 (례성강청년3호발전소)
Registered October 23, 2012

Ryesonggang-power-station-no-3

Pictured Above (Google Earth): Construction work on the Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 3.

The UNFCCC documents on the registration of the power plant can be seen here.

The project with an installed capacity of 10 MW, 4 sets of generating facilities with a capacity of 2.5 MW
respectively. The project will generate the electricity energy of 42,800 MWh and supply the electricity of 41,310
MWh.

Organizations listed in the document include the Tosan Electric Power Company and Topič Energo s.r.o. (Czech Republic).

Though the plant is supposed to go into operation on July 1, 2012, the most recent Google Earth imagery from 2012-11-8 shows the plan remains uncompleted. The last time the plant was featured on North Korean television was 2011-6-25.

UPDATE 10 (2012-10-23): The DPRK has registered its second CDM project: Kumya Hydro Power Plant. (AKA Kumyagang Power Station No. 2, 금야강2호발전소)

Here is the official UN web page containing all of the technical information.

Here is a Google Earth satellite image featuring the dam and power station (39.552132°, 127.156062°):

Kumya-plant-2

The Hanns Seidel Foundation (Facebook page here) visited the site and took this photo:

KCTV footage dated 2014-9-16 shows a completed Kumya Hydro Power Plant (AKA Kumyagang Power Station No. 2). See the footage here.

UPDATE 9 (2012-8-16): The DPRK’s first CDM project registered: Hamhung Hydro Power Plant No. 1 (AKA Hamhung Youth Power Station No. 1)

Hamhung-plant-UNFCCC-Bing

Pictured above (date unknown): On Bing Maps (coordinates: 39.648086°, 127.269219°) we can see construction is underway

A valued reader notified me this morning that the DPRK’s first CDM project was registered in July: The Hamhung Hydro Power Plant No.1.

You can read more about the project on the UN web page here. As I understand it, the CER (the emissions rights) from the plant do not go directly to North Korea but to a Czech company who co-registered the project. It will become operational on January 1, 2013.

UPDATE 8 (2012-6-5): In addition to the seven power plants submitted for approval below, the DPRK is involved in several other “Programmes of Activities (POAs)“. You can see all the POAs by clicking here and selecting DPRK as “Host Country”.

Here is a summary:

1. Methane Utilization and Destruction Programme from Animal Waste Management System (AWMS) in DPR Korea

2. Methane Utilisation and Destruction Programme from Industrial Wastewater in DPR Korea

3. CarbonSoft Open Source PoA, LED Lighting Distribution: Emerging Markets

4. Coal Mine Methane Utilisation and Destruction Programme in DPR Korea

5. International water purification programme

6. CFL Lighting Scheme in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)

UPDATE 7 (2012-6-2): The creator of Nord Korea Info passed along the following information on the DPRK’s CDM projects:

1. Naenara, one of the DPRK’s official news outlets, has posted numerous CDM documents. You can see them here.

2. Information posted to the UNFCCC web page on specific CDM projects:

A. Kumya Hydropower Plant (AKA Kumyagang Power Staiton No. 2)
B. Ryesonggang Hydropower Plant No.3 (Comments) (AKA Ryesonggang Youth Power Station N. 3)
C. Ryesonggang Hydropower Plant No.4 (Comments) (AKA Ryesonggang Youth Power Station N. 4)
D. Ryesonggang Hydropower Plant No.5 (Comments) (AKA Ryesonggang Youth Power Station N. 5)
E. Paekdusan Songun Youth 14MW Hydropower Project No.2 (AKA Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station No. 2)
F. Wonsankunmin Hydropower Project No.1 (Comments) (AKA Wonsan Army People Power Station No. 1)
G. Hamhung Hydropower Plant No.1 (AKA Hamhung Youth Power Station No. 1)

No new information is available on the Hamhung 20MW Hydropower Plant No. 2 (AKA Hamhung Youth Power Station No. 2). So I am unsure what has happened to it.

UPDATE 6 (2012-5-31): Bloomberg Businessweek reports on the DPRK’s efforts to sell carbon credits:

[U]nder the terms of the [Kyoto] protocol, North Korea, as a developing country and a member of the United Nations, has the right to build clean energy projects that may apply for Certified Emission Reductions, or CERs, popularly known as carbon credits. The North Koreans can then sell them to a rich country or company that needs the credits to offset its own greenhouse gases. Dig into data from the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, and you will find seven North Korean projects registered for carbon trading.

This is where Miroslav Blazek comes in. Blazek, director of Czech company Topic Energo, acts as a link between North Korea and potential carbon credit buyers. He says his experience as manager of a tractor factory in socialist-era Czechoslovakia is invaluable for doing business with the communist North Koreans. “I can work with them because I understand how their system works,” he says. “If I send an e-mail and still don’t have a reply in several days, I know it’s not because they didn’t see it but because it had to work its way through the chain of command. For me it’s like a trip down memory lane.”

North Korea is now building seven hydroelecrtric plants, which provide some of the cleanest energy going. Most can earn tradable carbon credits. Blazek says the North Koreans “jumped” at the opportunity to get into carbon trading: “They immediately grasped that this is a way to make money.” Korea’s seven dams may generate as many as 241,000 CERs a year, worth almost €1 million ($1.3 million). “The projects are already in a relatively advanced phase,” says Ondrej Bores, director of carbon advisory services at Virtuse Energy in Prague, who’s worked with Blazek on other deals.

Still, selling anything made in North Korea has its challenges. More than 30 potential buyers pulled out because of the U.S. embargo on trade with North Korea. Blazek finally struck a deal with a Chinese-controlled conglomerate that needs credits to offset emissions from facilities in Europe. He won’t name the company, citing a confidentiality clause.

The Prague Post also reported on this story.

UPDATE 5 (2012-2-14): I have been notified that the certification program is proceeding. From a reader:

There has been a statement by the 1718 committee (on sanctions) that CDM projects in NK do not violate UN rules.

[Seven] hydropower plants did get their validation and underwent a process of “clarifications and corrections” as foreseen by UN rules. After the final report (which might have been already issued or might be issued soon) they will go for final vote to the UNFCCC.

Currently, North Korea works on projects as diverse as methane gas from coal mines, bio-gas and electricity-saving light bulbs.

UPDATE 4 (2011-7-11): I just checked the UNFCCC web page, and it appears that in addition to the hydro power plants mentioned below, the North Koreans also submitted the “Energy Efficiency Improvement Project in Pyongyang Textile Factory” [sic] for carbon offsets on May 23, 2011. According to the UNFCCC web page, the project is in the portfolio of the Carbon-Trade Division, GBCIO, Ministry of Foreign Trade.

UPDATE 3 (2011-7-11): DPRK begins construction of Ryesonggang Power Stations 3 and 4

On June 25th the DPRK evening news featured footage of the construction of the Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 3 (례성강청년3호발전소). I have uploaded the footage to YouTube and you can see it here.

On June 28th the DPRK evening news featured footage of the construction of the Ryesonggang Youth Power Station No. 4 (례성강청년4호발전소). I have uploaded the footage to YouTube and you can see it here.

UPDATE 2 (2011-3-11): The DPRK has apparently registered eight power plants with the UNFCCC. According to Reuters:

North Korea has registered eight hydroelectric plants with the United Nations, and if approved, could allow the world’s most reclusive state to sell carbon offsets to earn precious hard currency.

These hydropower projects were registered with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for prior consideration in getting carbon credits, some of which have a capacity of 20 megawatts, the UNFCCC website showed.

Prior consideration is the first step for accreditation toward the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism that allows developing countries to earn tradeable carbon credits for emissions from clean-energy projects.

Bernhard Seliger, a messenger for North Korean officials on these projects, said the United Nations uploaded the information on Thursday after he submitted related forms on behalf of the North Korean government’s carbon trade division in late February.

“I have no idea when the U.N. makes a decision… North Korea has to finish the power plants, which up to now are only half-finished dams,” Seliger, Hanns Seidel Foundation’s representative in South Korea, told Reuters via email.

Analysts questioned the demand for carbon credits from North Korea, concerned the money might be siphoned off to nuclear arms or other military projects.

According to the UNFCCC web page (select Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the “Host Party” box), these are the eight power stations that have been submitted for consideration:

Hamhung Hydropower Plant No.1 (AKA Hamhung Youth Power Station No. 1)
Hamhung 20MW Hydropower Plant No. 2 (AKA Hamhung Youth Power Station No. 2)
Kumya Hydropower Plant (AKA Kumyagang Power Station No. 2)
Paekdusan Songun Youth 14MW Hydropower Project No.2 (AKA Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station No. 2)
Ryesonggang Hydropower Project No. 3 (AKA Ryesonggang Youth Power Station N. 3)
Ryesonggang Hydropower Project No. 4 (AKA Ryesonggang Youth Power Station N. 4)
Ryesonggang Hydropower Project No. 5 (AKA Ryesonggang Youth Power Station N. 5)
Wonsangunmin 20MW Hydropower Project No. 1 (AKA Wonsan Army People Power Station No. 1)

And according to an email from the UNFCCC:

This list contains all the projects which have already started and for which a notification of CDM prior consideration has been submitted. This notification is necessary to prove that the incentive of the CDM was a decisive factor for taking up the project when a project has started before a project design document (PDD) has been published for global stakeholder consultation or a new methodology in connection with the project has been submitted. However, kindly note that these projects have not yet entered the CDM project cycle as lined out in the CDM rules, requirements and procedures, and to submission for registration has yet been made.

Further details on the CDM project cycle are available here: http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/diagram.html

UPDATE 1 (2011-3-8): According to the Guardian:

North Korea hopes to earn much-needed hard currency by selling UN-backed carbon offsets from a series of hydro-power projects, as the country faces sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme.

If approved and registered by the UN, these would be the first projects for North Korea under a scheme called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This allows developing countries to earn tradeable carbon credits for emissions reductions from clean-energy projects.

Some analysts questioned the demand for carbon credits from North Korea, with fears the money might be siphoned off to nuclear arms or other military projects.

The government has asked the Hanns Seidel Foundation of Germany, which focuses on humanitarian issues, to act as a go-between by working with UN-approved verification agency TUV Nord.

According to Bernhard Seliger, the foundation’s representative in South Korea, North Korea is initially looking at trying to get approval for three hydro power plants of 7-8 megawatts (MW).

Seliger visited the three hydro-plant construction sites in the north-east corner of the country in January.

In a statement, TUV Nord confirmed the foundation had engaged their services.

“In this respect, TUV Nord intends to verify hydropower dams in North Korea once pre-registered with United Nations framework conventions on climate change [UNFCCC] via the Beijing branch of its Chinese subsidiary TUV Nord Guangzhou,” it said.

If registered, the plants could yield millions of euros over several years.

Beijing-based lawyer Tom Luckock, who specialises in projects that curb greenhouse gas emissions, estimated that an 8 MW hydro plant could yield about 23,000 UN offsets a year.

The offsets, called Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs), are generated from registered CDM projects, such as wind farms, that are rewarded for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The offsets currently trade at nearly €12 (£10) each and are bought by governments in rich nations that need to meet UN emissions reduction targets.

Europe is the biggest buyer, with large polluting firms allowed to buy the offsets to meet a portion of their emissions reduction targets under the EU’s emissions trading scheme.

“Finding ways to secure foreign currency is the priority for North Korea, which is linked to everything from food to raw material imports to boost reduced productivity,” said Cho Myung-chul, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.

Seliger said North Korea, which signed the UN’s Kyoto Protocol climate pact in 2005, was also interested in biomass power generation projects under the CDM.

The UN-approved national agency that assesses and approves CDM projects in North Korea was not available for comment.

Questions remained on demand for North Korean CERs.

“Even if they open up, who in the world wants to pay for North Korea that is blamed for its nuclear weapons programme?” said Choi Soo-young, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

Cho said the UN needed to prevent outside cash going into its nuclear development activities, while Luckock, of global law firm Norton Rose, said: “Their limited access to hard currency has to be a concern for buyers – the damages clauses will carry limited weight without some security there.”

Another challenge is that North Korea would have to make public its energy consumption and generation data and disclose information on the amount of energy linked to the hydro project.

“Annual inspection, constant measurement and energy flow posting on the [UNFCCC] website – all these things are new for North Korea,” Seliger said.

According to the AFP:

“We are talking about eight power plants, with the smallest size about 7.5 megawatts. These are not big projects but small or medium-sized projects,” Bernhard Seliger told AFP.

None has yet been completed, he said.

“I saw some (construction) sites in South Hamkyong province but that’s not all. There are other plants in other regions,” Seliger said, adding that some of the projects are led by the UN Development Programme.

The Hanns Seidel Foundation has been working since 2003 to build the North’s development capacity, and in 2008 organised a seminar on carbon trading for Pyongyang officials at their request.

The tradeable credits, called Certified Emissions Reductions, are awarded for approved clean-energy projects such as hydropower plants or wind farms.

Big polluters elsewhere in the world can buy them as part of their efforts to cut emissions.

Seliger said his foundation is helping the North to prepare for the auditing process required to join the UN carbon credit trading system known as the Clean Development Mechanism.

“One good thing about this project is that it is very transparent, involving monitoring and auditing on an annual basis… I think it is very good for North Korea to participate in such an international regime,” said Seliger.

An official at a South Korean state agency, the Korea Energy Management Corp, said registration would take at least a year or two and it was unclear how much the North would be able to earn if approved.

The official, who declined to be identified, said a typical eight-megawatt hydropower plant could yield about 19,500 carbon credits each year, each of which was currently traded at 12 euros in global markets.

This would amount to around $327,000 a year.

But some buyers may shun the communist state, given its history of nuclear and missile development which has led to international sanctions.

“Government buyers will certainly shy away from dealing with the North,” said Koo Jung-Han, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Finance.

“But private companies have few reasons not to buy credits from the North as long as it can offer a competitively low price. However, the big question is whether the North will be able to build the plants without outside financiers.”

Koo said that countries hoping to buy carbon credits from upcoming overseas projects often encourage investment in the ventures by their own finance companies.

“But what kind of financial companies will take a plunge in projects in such a volatile, politically risky country like North Korea?”

The North suffers persistent power shortages even in the showpiece capital Pyongyang.

Many rural areas receive power only during key agricultural seasons, and must rely for the rest of the year on alternative fuels, according to a recent policy paper published by the Nautilus Institute think-tank.

Here are the web pages for the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Program.

A reader writes in with the following comments:

I would like to share some comments on the potential CDM projects in north Korea as i have been working on this field for many years now.

Concerning existing hydro-power plants:
To be eligible as a CDM project, one of the first criteria is the additionality of the project. You have to prove (the rules are very strict) that the project would not have been launched without the consideration of the revenues from the reselling of the CERs. So the dams that have already been buit are not eligible.

Concerning hydro-power plants that are being implemented:
The first step of a CDM project is to notify to the UNFCCC secretariat and to Designated National Authority (in this case the Secretariat of the National Coordinating Committee of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for Environment) that you are seeking to establish your project as a CDM project. Up to now, no such notification has been received by UNFCCC so it would be quite difficult for projects being implemented to ask for the CDM status (I mean nearly impossible).

Some facts concerning future hydro-power projects:
From the day you send the notification that you are seeking the CDM status to the day you are actually given the status, it takes in average 2 to 3 years (they would have to build the plants during this period). Then it can be at least another year before you receive the CERs. The price of 12 euro for a CER is for secondary market. The price for primary CER (directly sold by the producer) would be much less than 8 euro.

The figure of 20 000 CERs/year is completely unpredictable for the moment, here is a simplification of the calculation: One CER is equal to one tonne of CO2 equivalent that would be avoided by producing clean electricity. For example when you produce 1 MW electricity from coal, the process releases X tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere but when you produce 1 MW from a hydropower plant, you do not release CO2. In order to calculate what the CDM project would be able to claim, we would have to know the CO2 emission factor of the North Korean grid and then multiply it by the amount of MWh produced by the CDM project. If most of the electricity produced these days in North Korea already comes from hydro-power plants, then the national emission factor will be low and the CDM project will not avoid a lot of CO2 emission (and so not earn a lot of €) Without the capacity of the future project and the national emission factor, it is impossible to estimate the amount of CERs the project could generate.

The CDM status seems quiet unrealistic to obtain for North Korean projects but other international agreements are discussed these days and their outcome may be more adapted.

ORIGINAL POST (2011-1-31): According to Radio Free Asia:

Nuclear-armed but cash-starved North Korea has expressed interest in joining the world carbon market in an apparent bid to earn precious hard currency and avoid international sanctions, an expert told RFA.

But the secretive Kim Jong Il regime has to disclose critical information, such as energy consumption data as well as methods by which it derives energy, to be eligible for funding under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), said the North Korea expert, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The CDM is aimed at encouraging companies or organizations in the developed world to invest in carbon dioxide emissions-saving projects in developing countries.

In return for funding and technology transfer, investors receive carbon credits, which can then either be traded on carbon markets or used to reduce their own emissions tally if they are subject to a domestic cap.

The Kyoto Protocol set emission caps for 38 countries through 2012, establishing the CDM as a worldwide carbon market. It is a cornerstone of the group’s efforts to tackle global warming.

The North Korea expert told RFA on Jan. 13 that Pyongyang intended to apply for funding via the CDM and that the regime might list its proposed hydro-electricity power projects under the U.N. mechanism.

UN refrains from comment

When contacted on the North Korea move, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the secretariat charged with implementing the global environmental treaty to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, said it would refrain from commenting on individual country projects.

The North Korea expert estimated that one ton of carbon dioxide would trade for about U.S. $26 dollars and if a hydro-electric power project was registered under the CDM, depending on the carbon credit bid price, about U.S. $1 million dollars could be earned annually.

A hydro project registered under the CDM would need to be evaluated by U.N. inspectors for it to qualify for carbon credits. Usually, it would be evaluated continuously for about 14 years.

Details, including the amount of energy linked to the hydro project and potential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, would have to be submitted.

North Korea has been mostly reluctant to share information about its energy generation activities.

According to the expert, North Korea has recently displayed “great interest” in the possibility of operating hydro-electric power stations to alleviate its domestic energy shortages and to acquire “carbon credits” that it could, in turn, sell on the international carbon market.

Hard currency

As North Korea’s economic crisis worsens, Pyongyang is seeking ways to earn hard currency following a failed currency reform and due to sanctions imposed by the international community over its nuclear and missile developments and provocations targeting South Korea.

The interest in the CDM is likely to be part of this search.

The North Korea expert also said that earning hard currency through “carbon credits” would not be subject to sanctions imposed on Pyongyang under UN Security Council resolutions, and that any North Korea’s application for participation under the CDM “may stand a chance.”

“For North Korea, this could be an opportunity to earn hard currency without engaging in illegal armament sales, while operating an electric power station in transparent fashion, and accepting strict monitoring by the UN, and abiding by applicable international standards.”

The United States has been pressing China to use its influence to persuade North Korea regime to end recent provocations and return to disarmament talks involving the three countries and South Korea, Russia and Japan.

The six-party nuclear talks were last held in 2008. The impoverished North has been seeking a restart to the nuclear negotiations, which propose to reward its gradual nuclear disarmament with phased infusions of economic aid.

In a bid to renew dialogue and ease chances of conflict, South Korea recently proposed holding a preliminary meeting with North Korea on Feb. 11 to prepare for high-level defense talks. On Friday, the North suggested parliamentary talks between the two sides.

Read the full story here:
North Korea Eyes Carbon Market
Radio Free Asia
1/29/2011

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Kim Jong-un: urban planner [Book on land management]

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

UPDATE 2 (2013-9-10): According to Yonhap:

A speech made by North Korea’s young leader Kim Jong-un last year that detailed his plan on land management has been published in Chinese, a state media report said Tuesday, in what is believed to be his first Chinese-language publication.

The Chinese-version of Kim’s speech, titled “On Brining About a Revolutionary Turnabout in National Land Management Work to Meet the Demand of Building a Powerful Socialist State,” was published on Sept. 3 in Dandong, China’s border city with North Korea, China News Service reported.

According to the report, the speech by Kim was published by a Chinese printing firm named “Longshan,” but it did not give other information, including the name of its publisher or whether the publication is being sold.

Kim, who took power in late 2011 following the death of his father, Kim Jong-il, made the speech on April 27 of last year, while convening a meeting of key members of the North’s Workers’ Party of Korea and economic organizations.

During the April 27 meeting, Kim said, “Land management is a patriotic work for the eternal prosperity of the country, and a noble work for providing the people with better living conditions,” according to a report by the North’s state media at the time.

Kim also ordered officials to improve water management, including the improvement of rivers and streams as well as dams, lock gates and “gravity-fed waterways and irrigation channels.”

Read the full story here:
N. Korean leader’s plan on land management published in Chinese
Yonhap
2013-9-10

UPDATE 1 (2012-11-19): Aidan Foster-Carter has sent me a Naenara link to Kim Jong-un’s full remarks (published in English).

I have put the entire speech into a PDF which you can view here.

ORIGINAL POST (2012-5-8): On 2012-5-8 KCNA posted two articles citing a publication by Kim Jong-un on “land management”. The paper, titled “On Effecting a Drastic Turn in Land Management to Meet the Requirements for Building a Thriving Socialist Nation”, was not posted but will no doubt be offered for sale to Pyongyang tourists before too long. However until I receive a copy, the two KCNA articles below will have to do:

(more…)

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DPRK seeks advice on environmental improvement

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

According to the International Business Times (2012-4-3):

Last month, North Korea invited 14 scientists from eight different countries — five alone from the U.S. — to attend a conference with 75 North Korean scientists, and provide their expertise on restoring the country’s environment and securing domestic food supplies. Dr. Margaret Palmer, executive director of Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland and one of the scientists who appeared at the conference, recently spoke with the New York Times about her assessment of North Korea’s ecological crisis and its government’s capability to deal with it.

“It’s a depressing landscape, especially this time of year,” Palmer told the Times. “Everything is just mud and everything is being farmed, or attempted to be farmed. But their ability to produce food is being dramatically compromised by a cascade of effects caused by deforestation.”

North Korea’s environmental crisis started in the 1950s during the Korean War, which resulted in massive forest fires and widespread deforestation. The situation was exacerbated during the 1990s when droughts and floods destroyed crops and caused a major famine that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Recovering forests were raided by desperate villagers for food and fuel, many surviving by eating grass and tree bark.

Although the major environmental problems were clear to Palmer, she expressed doubts about the North Korean scientists’ approach to them.

“The presentations were almost exclusively about how to promote agriculture … It felt like [the North Korean scientists] had a sense of the direction of the scientific community in the rest of the world but that they lacked the technology and understanding to implement any of it,” Palmer said.

In contrast, Peter Raven, president emeritus of Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, offered praise for North Korea’s efforts to reforest through planting crops alongside trees.

“They had a fine understanding of agroforestry principles and were applying them in a very understanding way to reforestation,” Raven told Science Magazine.

Norman Neuriter, director at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who selected the American experts for the conference, said the gathering was heavily monitored and restricted, and expressed disappointment with the limited communication between the advisory team and North Korean scientists.

“One would like to have had more individual interaction, one-on-one or two-on-two, but that wasn’t possible,” Neureiter told the Atlantic Wire.

“We weren’t allowed to talk informally with the scientists,” Palmer told the Times. “We were escorted to separate rooms during coffee breaks and there was no time to casually chat and ask questions.”

Despite the restrictive atmosphere of the conference, the scientists are hoping to move forward with environmental restoration projects, though it is not yet clear how political tensions over North Korea’s nuclear program will impact future collaboration efforts. It is clear that the government must mobilize quickly if it is to avoid another disaster like it experienced during the 1990s.

Further resources below:
1. Q. and A.: North Korea’s Choked Environment

2. Seeking Cures to North Korea’s Environmental Ills

3. The Environment Is So Bad in North Korea, They’ll Even Let Americans Help

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KCNA: 20-day industrial output value increases over Jan 2011

Friday, January 27th, 2012

According to KCNA (2012-1-25):

The gross industrial output value grew 1.2 times for twenty days of January this year as against the same period last year.

This is the result of the high-pitched drive waged by all the workers of the country since the first day of this year after receiving with excitement the joint calls of the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the joint New Year editorial for this year and the letter of the working people in South Hamgyong Province.

In the period, the Ministry of Light Industry increased the production 1.4 times and the Ministry of Food and Daily Necessities sharply boosted the production.

Thermal and hydropower stations have increased the ratio of operating the generating equipment.

Much effort is being concentrated on supplying coal to the thermal power plants and chemical and metal plants and developing more coal beds.

The Ministry of Coal Industry produced 12,000 more tons of coal than planned for the 20 days.

Iron mills and steelworks also increased the production.

The freight transport volume increased by 12 percent from the same period last year.

Innovations were made in the production of vinalon and fertilizer by the industrial establishments in the field of chemical industry and in the production of custom built equipment and mining machines by the industrial enterprises of the field of machine industry.

The forestry stations and pit wood stations increased the timber production.

Progress has been reported on a daily basis from the important projects including the building of apartments in Mansudae areas and the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station.

For the uninitiated, this is about as close as the DPRK gets to releasing economic statistics. Note there are no base numbers–only [some] % increases. Also, despite the measure being officially named “output value”, it is really just a claim of increased physical production.  There is no value (prices) or mention of “services” included in these measures.

Unfortunately without more solid numbers, and the proclivity to ascribe productivity gains to effective propaganda, these reports cannot be taken seriously.

Although we all talk about the DPRK’s GDP and per capita income as if the numbers are solid, the reality is quite the opposite.  In addition to the general lack of information, there are all sorts of methodological problems with assessing the value of the DPRK’s economy.  Here are some helpful sources if you want to learn more:

1. DPRK Economic Statistics Report

2. G. Warren Nutter papers:

– (JSTOR) “Soviet Industrial Growth”, Source: Science, New Series, Vol. 130, No. 3370 (Jul. 31, 1959), pp. 252-255

-(JSTOR) “Industrial Growth in the Soviet Union”, The American Economic Review , Vol. 48, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Seventieth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1958), pp. 398-411

-(JSTOR) Some Observations on Soviet Industrial Growth”, The American Economic Review , Vol. 47, No. 2, Papers and Proceedings of the Sixty-eighth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May, 1957), pp. 618-630

3. The North Korean Economy by Nicholas Eberstadt

4. Assessing the economic performance of North Korea, 1954–1989: Estimates and growth accounting analysis

5. Bank of Korea’s assessment fo the DPRK economy in 2010.

6. My North Korean Economic Statistics Page

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Russian logging jobs on the wane?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

assn2.JPG

Pictured Above (Google Earth): Tynda Logging Camp in Russia. See in Google Maps here.

 

According to the Daily NK:

Kim, a defector who arrived in South Korea in 2008 after working for 30 years in the North Korean forestry sector, explained to The Daily NK on the 5th, “North Korea’s operations in Russia are now just enough to send timber to North Korea on the birthdays of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il; they provide little real benefit in terms of foreign currency earning.”

In essence, Kim went on, “North Korea is just running the Forestry Mission to maintain its relationship with Russia.”

Following a 1967 agreement between the two countries, logging has at times played a key role in North Korea’s hard currency earning efforts, with more than 20,000 North Korean laborers being involved in forestry operations in Russia by the start of the 1990s.

Under the agreement, Russia agreed to provide the trees, equipment and power, while North Korea would provide the labor, and both countries shared the timber.

However, the deal is no longer beneficial to the North Korean state, as Kim explained in more detail, saying, “At the moment, Russia takes 72% and North Korea 28% of what is felled by these North Korean laborers, but most of the money North Korea earns from selling it on to Chinese trade companies goes on the laborers’ wages, accommodation, food and administration of the Forestry Mission. Now that Russia is a market economy with constantly rising prices, there is hardly any hard currency left to send back to the North Korean authorities.”

“Recently, China has been offering the Russians more money for these felling operations, so the North Korean laborers have no choice but to go home,” Kim added, continuing, “In addition, the scale of the workforce and operations has been decreasing recently partly because those groups of workers who protest about wage delays and whatever else are all dispatched back to North Korea.”

“In the past there used to be trade missions in Tynda and Khabarovsk, but now they is only the one in Tynda, with seven logging businesses underneath it,” he said. “The Khabarovsk trade mission has recently been closed down, and there are now a total of just nine logging operations underway in all of Russia.”

The numbers of loggers has shrunk to “4,000 in Khabarovsk and 2,000 in other remote areas; a total that does not exceed 6,000,” Kim stated.

Even the remaining forestry mission in Tynda is not large, with a president, chief engineer and vice-director working in parallel with a Party chief secretary, organizational secretary and propaganda secretary. Although each secretary has two or three workers under him, even with the National Security Agency staff that keeps tabs on the activities of the workers included in the total, the mission remains small.

Elsewhere, however, there are actually tens of thousands of North Korean laborers in Russia working in fields including construction, agriculture and mining, including around 30% of the 6,000 nominally said to be involved in logging.

The activities of military-run enterprises are on the increase, too. Kim explained, “Following cooperation between the Russian Air Force and the North Korean Air Force Command, there are now farming operations going on around air fields. If you include the General Reconnaissance Bureau, North Korea has sent at least a few tens of thousands of people to Russia.”

Given the ever increasing number of laborers running away from their assigned workplaces, Kim speculated there could also be as many as 600 or more defectors residing in Russia.

“In 2006 the Ministry of Forestry sent some cadres all over Russia to try and lure defectors back home, but these people had grown accustomed to living in Russia and nobody listened. There were 598 at that time, so it’s probably even higher by now,” Kim said.

One other key reason why North Korea has been unsuccessful in its attempts to retrieve the defectors is that the Russian authorities take a sympathetic view of their plight. According to Kim, “Russia does not forcibly repatriate defectors in the same way as China, so they are able to marry and work there. The Russian police have been treating defectors as humanitarian refugees since 2005, aware that forcibly repatriated defectors risk public execution and that their families face punishment, too.”

Naturally though, surveillance and control of the laborers is as severe as it has always been at the logging sites. Every week the workers are forced to participate in Party-led activities including mutual criticism sessions. The authorities are trying to limit the number of defectors by encouraging them to spy on one another, and the NSA has an intricate system of investigation to maintain order. Nevertheless, workers are sufficiently unhappy with their situation that defections continue to occur.

According to the Russians, there were 32,000 North Koreans working in the country in 2010. Here is a link to the source of this number and previous posts on North Koreans logging in Russia.

Read the full story here:
Logging in Russia: Not What It Used to Be
Daily NK
Kim Yoinh-hun
2011-8-8

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DPRK forests continue to shrink

Friday, June 17th, 2011

UPDATE (2011-6-23): Today the Nautilus Institute sent out more interesting resources on the state of the DPRK’s forests.  Check them out below:

“Forest and Other Biomass Production in the DPRK: Current Situation and Recent Trends as Indicated by Remote Sensing Data”
Power Point Presentation by  Seung-Ho Lee (June 2006)

“Unbearable Legacies: The Politics of Environmental Degradation in North Korea”
Peter Hayes, August 30, 2009

ORIGINAL POST (2011-6-17):

letsplantmoretrees.JPG

Pictured above (Google Earth): A North Korean propaganda slogan on a mountain-side urging “Let’s plant more trees!”

This should be nothing new to regular readers of this site, but according to a recent article by Yonhap:

Deforestation in North Korea is taking place at a rapid pace as people cut down trees for fuel and turn forest into farmland, a report by a state think tank here said Friday.

An average of 127,000 hectares of forest in North Korea have been destroyed on average every year for the past two decades, the Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI) said in the report based on data by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

I have not been able to locate the report on the KFRI web page.  If any readers are able to locate it, please send it to me.

An earlier report found that in two adjacent biosphere reserves across the border of China and North Korea, over one half of primary forest landscapes have been deteriorated by exploitive uses, including seed harvesting and systematic logging.

You can read a number of previous posts on similar topics here: Ministry of ForestryForestry, and Lumber.

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DPRK sees massive forest fires for agriculture

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

NASA released this satellite image (dated April 13, 2011) of the DPRK that shows a number of forest fires:

Click thumbnail for larger image

According to NASA:

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite detected several fires in North Korea on April 13, 2011. The fires are marked in red in the image. The fires stop at the country’s borders with China and South Korea, a sign that they were probably deliberately set. Fire is frequently used throughout the world to clear land for agriculture and other purposes, but rules governing the use of fire vary from country to country.

Clustered along the east coast, many of the fires are producing thick smoke, blanketing the Sea of Japan with haze. Though some of the smoke may be coming from far eastern Russia, the densest plumes extend east from the Korean peninsula.

The fires appear to be taking place straight down the east coast.

This is the second time NASA has documented the spread of forest fires for agricultural purposes in the DPRK.  Here is a previous post on the same topic from October 2009 (with picture).

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DPRK looking to solve problems with trees

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

According to Voice of America:

Deforestation has contributed to major floods while also worsening chronic hunger problems in North Korea, but now the communist-led government is supporting a small but growing effort to recover the hillsides with fruit and nut trees.

For more than four decades after its creation in the wake of the Second World War, North Korea relied on its communist ally, the Soviet Union, to provide fertilizer for its farms. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, food production in North Korea plummeted.

Environmental mess

Deputy Director Marcus Noland of the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics has studied North Korea since 1995. He says as food production fell, forests in mountainous areas were cleared to grow more crops.

“And as trees were cut down on the hillsides, that contributed to soil erosion, river silting, which exacerbated the seasonal flooding problems,” says Noland. “So, the North Koreans have ended up with a real environmental mess on their hands.”

Major floods hit North Korea in 2007 and again this summer. But the environmental issues first got the government’s attention in 1995, when catastrophic floods damaged about 40 percent of the country’s rice paddies and contributed to a famine that killed an estimated two million people.

“Then the government said, ‘Okay, we need to do something,'” says Xu Jianchu, a senior scientist at the World Agroforestry Center, a global research institution.

According to Xu, different government ministries had different ideas concerning what to do about the floods. In many places, people had cut down trees to grow their own food. Xu says the agriculture ministry wanted trees back on the mountainsides and people’s crops off them.

Trees and crops together

But the environment ministry took a different view. Working with the Swiss aid agency, it started a small pilot project in 2002 to plant fruit and nut trees and medicinal bushes on the sloping hillsides, alongside people’s crops.

“We get the tree cover back, and, second, also, we do provide the needs of the local people for food,” says Jianchu.

The World Agroforestry Center joined the project in 2008. Earlier in the decade, Pyongyang had begun loosening its tight controls over the country’s food production. Xu says the government organized households into user groups which were given autonomy to choose what kinds of trees to grow. That was important, Xu says, because for one thing, the government had been offering only pine, poplar and larch trees for hillside planting – three species the farmers didn’t want really don’t want because they were not related to their food security.

The user groups were allowed to establish their own fruit-tree nurseries to expand production. With help terracing the steep hills and improving their farming practices, Xu says food production has increased, and farmers are even selling their surplus in local markets.

However, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of how much they are producing. According to Xu, people tend to say they grew less than they did because they believe the government will take away their surplus.

“They try to always under-report what they harvest because sometimes they are still afraid the government will take away if they produce too much,” he says.

A good start

While the policy remains controversial, Xu says it’s gaining support in the government. He says the best indication that the project is working is that it’s growing.

What started with just three groups is now up to about 60, covering several hundred hectares of land.

That’s a small fraction of the more than one million acres of deforested hillside being farmed, according to a report Xu co-wrote on the subject.

But it’s a good start, says the Peterson Institute’s Marcus Noland.

“I’m not sure whether the policies they’re now pursuing on these projects are the most optimal, but the idea that at least they’re trying to plant trees and reverse some of this process is a good sign.”

But Noland adds that deforestation is just one of the major food production problems North Korea faces. He says it will take a revival of the country’s overall economy to end the country’s chronic problems with hunger.

The Taedonggang Fruit Farm and Kosan Fruit Farm have received heavy attention in the DPRK media recently.  Although the North Koreans have never admitted to receiving assistance to set up all of their new fruit farms, I am willing to bet that some of these international organizations played a role.

Read the full story here:
Trees are North Korea Latest Weapons Against Hunger, Floods
Voice of America
12/14/2010

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More DPRK loggers reportedly running away

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

According to the Daily NK:

According to a former North Korean logger in Russia, instances of forestry workers running away from a “Forestry Mission” program organized by North Korea’s Forestry Ministry in the Russian Far East are increasing due to excessive salary deductions currently being imposed by the North Korean authorities.

Song Ki Bok, a 48-year old former logger who now lives in South Korea told The Daily NK on November 18th, “The Forestry Mission takes 70% of monthly salary in the name of Party funding. Who would want to work there when all the money you earn from working yourself to death is taken from you?”

Prior to 2008, North Korea took 30% of the North Koreans’ wages for “Party loyalty funds”. However, after sanctions put in place by the international community following the first North Korean nuclear test began to bite, the amount was increased to 70%.

The North Korean forestry workers do hard physical labor. Depending on the intensity of their work, they receive just $40 to $100 per month.

Therefore, once 70% is deducted as Party funds, the take-home pay of the worker is between $12 and $30. As a result, workers cannot even dream of wiring sums back to family in the North. They just deliver what cash they can gather via colleagues returning home.

Worse yet, with this kind of swingeing monthly deduction, many workers cannot even recover the bribe they had to offer Party officials in order to be sent to Russia in the first place. For example, the total amount Song ended up paying was nearly $400.

Before escaping from the forestry program, Song saw a monthly salary of $30, meaning that even if he had saved every penny he earned for a year he still would not have recouped the $400 he paid out in bribes.

In the beginning, he was buoyed by the ‘Russia Dream’. The family of a worker in a foreign country traditionally lives in better conditions than most people. Therefore, Song went to Russia in the belief that if he worked hard for three years, he could make 10 years of a North Korean working man’s salary; however, the reality was as harsh as the bitter cold of Siberia.

The Forestry Mission in Russia; Kim Jong Il’s hard currency provider

According to Song, there are 17 forestry sites in Russia which employ North Koreans. Depending on the size of the camp there are differences; however, approximately 1,500~2,000 North Koreans work at each.

The major activities of the Party Committee in each camp are surveillance and the collection of Party funds. A manager, Party secretary and an agent from each of the National Security Agency and People’s Security Ministry are assigned to each site, and 15 administrative officers below them manage operations.

The life of workers is the same as it would be if they lived in North Korea. They must partake of weekly evaluation meetings, and food is provided by distribution. They plant potatoes and wheat in cleared areas near their digs to supplement the insufficient state provisions.

If workers leave without permission, they are punished upon their return. If the crime is grave, the worker might be summoned to North Korea for reeducation.

Song commented, “Sometime people leave the camp to go hunting to earn money. They can only escape punishment by bribing the management.”

In total, the amount gathered in the name of Party funds by the North Korean authorities from each camp can exceed $140,000 per month. Calculations suggest that the annual North Korean government take from the program exceeds $25 million.

However, this harsh Party policy is driving escapes, according to Song, “Since most of their monthly salary began to be taken away as Party funds, the number of workers escaping started to increase. Just from those I know, the average has reached 30 workers per a year.”

Song, describing the harsh working conditions at the site, said, “In 2006, a wood cutter from Dukcheon in South Pyongan Province who had frostbite in both feet at work didn’t receive treatment in time. In the end, they had to cut off both his legs. His co-workers, who could not ignore the situation, raised it with the Party Committee there; however, not only was this opinion ignored, but the wood cutter was sent home with the explanation, ‘It was an accident caused by my own carelessness’.”

“The life of a forestry worker fighting against cold which can reach -40˚C in winter is unspeakably tough,” Song said. “Meanwhile, they don’t even receive a proper month’s salary, which reduces their will to work.”

“If a worker escapes, in the end he has no choice but to head to South Korea. When I think about those of my colleagues who couldn’t come to South Korea with me, it is still hard to sleep at night.”

Read more about logging camps in Russia (including satellite imagery) here and here.

Read the full story here:
Runaway Loggers on the Rise Due to Wage Cuts
Daily NK
Kang Mi Jin
11/22/2010

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Agroforestry a success in DPRK

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

According to Medical News Today:

In a country where good news is scarce, a pioneering agroforestry project in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is restoring heavily degraded landscapes and providing much-needed food for communities living on the sloping lands.

Jianchu Xu, East-Asia Coordinator for the World Agroforestry Centre, which has been providing technical expertise and training for the project since 2008, said agroforestry – in this case the growing of trees on sloping land – is uniquely suited to DPR Korea for addressing food security and protecting the environment.

“What we have managed to achieve so far has had a dramatic impact on people’s lives and the local environment,” Jianchu explains.

“Previously malnourished communities are now producing their own trees and growing chestnut, walnut, peaches, pears and other fruits and berries as well as medicinal bushes,” Jianchu explains. “They have more food and vitamins and are earning income through trading”.

Following the collapse of the socialist bloc in 1989 and a lack of subsidies for agriculture in DPR Korea, famine and malnutrition became widespread in rural areas.

DPR Korea is a harsh mountainous country where only 16% of the land area is suitable for cultivation. In desperation in the 1990s, people turned to the marginal sloping lands but this had a price: deforestation for cropping land and fuelwood left entire landscapes denuded and depleted of nutrients.

In an effort to reverse the situation, an innovative and pioneering project began in 2002 involving the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Korea’s Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection. The World Agroforestry Centre was later brought in to provide technical advice.

Suan County has since expanded to 65 user groups in seven counties, with several hundred hectares of sloping land now under sustainable management. And the project is still growing.

A system of establishing user groups with one representative from each family has enabled demonstration plots to be set up and a large number of households to benefit from knowledge about growing multi-purpose trees. Such trees can improve and stabilize soils as well as provide fertilizer, fodder or fruits.

Most of the people farming the sloping lands are pension workers with little agricultural experience. The agroforestry systems they are now implementing and the techniques they have learnt are significantly increasing tree cover on the slopes as well giving them a diversity of crops.

Several of the user groups have started their own nurseries so that they can be self-sufficient and produce their own planting materials.

Initially a European consultant was engaged to provide advice on sloping land management, but in 2008 SDC brought the World Agroforestry Centre’s China office into the project.

“With similar experiences and history, our Chinese staff were well-placed to work in DPR Korea,” explains Jianchu. “It was important to have people with an understanding of the technical, institutional and socio-political context.”

There are very few international organizations operating in DPR Korea, and most of these are providing emergency relief. “With our strong focus on capacity development, we have established a good reputation,” adds Jianchu. So much so that the Centre is now negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the government and there are plans to establish an office in the country.

According to Jianchu, one of the most important aspects to ensuring the project is sustained is capacity development at all levels.

“As well as the user groups, we are providing training to multi-disciplinary working groups comprising representatives from the national academy, agricultural universities, forestry research and planning institutes, and staff of the Ministry.”

“There is an enormous need to improve knowledge and skills in DPR Korea in the area of natural resource management and to nurture young scientists,” says Jianchu. SDC is now investing in this area. Each year over the past few years, a handful of students from DPR Korea have undertaken studies with the Center for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, jointly run by the World Agroforestry Centre and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and hosted by the Kunming Institute of Botany in China. Some could be considered for a doctoral program in the future.

To further support the up-skilling of DPR Korea scientists and the up-scaling of agroforestry, the Centre will soon publish an agroforestry manual. Work is also underway on an agroforestry policy for sloping lands management and an agroforestry inventory.

Read the full story here:
Agroforestry A Success In North Korea
Medical News Today
Kate Langford
8/31/2010

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