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Posted 7/21/2014

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Representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and K-Water visited the National Capital Region office of IWR on 14 July 2014 to discuss opportunities for continued and new collaborations between various Korean water management agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) through the Pacific Ocean Division (POD), and USACE’s Institute for Water Resources (IWR) and its International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM).  Mr. Sang-heon Lee, Counselor from the Korean Embassy and previously with the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), and Mr. Yong-hoon Chang, an employee of the Korean Water Resources Corporation (known as “K-Water”) who is on an extended detail with the World Bank, participated in the discussions. 

The Korean representatives discussed the roles of the the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) and the Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-Water):  

  • MOLIT was first established in 1948 as the Ministry of Transportation. Later, in succession, it was re-named the “Ministry of Construction,” “Ministry of Construction and Transportation,” and the “Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.”  In 2013, the Ministry was reorganized and re-named the “Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport” (MOLIT), and was now tasked with overseeing Korea’s future-oriented territorial development of safe, sustainable, and convenient public works infrastructure and transport systems.  
  • MOLIT’s Water Resources Policy Bureau is pursuing a strategy based on the theme “Sustainable Water Management for Humans and Nature”, with four underlying objectives: (1) Supply of Clean Water for People and Nature, (2) Streamlined Water Resources Information and Technology Development, (3) Strengthened Protection Against Floods, and (4) Restoration of River Environment with Harmony Between Humans and Nature. 
  • K-Water is the Korean government’s instrument for comprehensive water resource development, providing both public and industrial water throughout  the Republic of Korea. K-Water has more than 40 years' experience managing water resources and regional water supply systems, focusing on environmental sustainability and optimizing the long-term performance of water resource utilization through efficient management and the development of core technologies. K-Water's research and development arm is the Korea Institute of Water and Environment (KIWE) - the Republic of Korea's leading water specialized research institute.

The Korean representatives also emphasized MOLIT’s interest in international cooperation, outlining the Republic of Korea’s involvement in hosting the next World Water Forum in April 2015, and Korea’s active participation in the activities of the World Water Council, the U.N. Secretary General’s Advisory Board (UNSGAB) High Level Expert Panel on Water and Disasters (HLEP), the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program (IHP). 

IWR’s Dr. Joe Manous served as the coordination POC for the engagement, and USACE’s Pacific Ocean Division (POD) was represented by Mr. Jim Ligh, Chief of POD’s Business Management Division. 

During the exchange, IWR Director Bob Pietrowsky provided an overview of USACE and IWR water resources programs and capabilities, while Dr. Will Logan, Deputy Director of USACE’s Institute for International Water Resources (ICIWaRM), briefed on ICIWaRM’s relationship within UNESCO’s IHP and summarized ICIWaRM’s global IHP activities.  Also contributing to the discussion were members of IWR’s international outreach team, Dr. Jerry Delli Priscoli and Dr. Michelle Haynes, as well as representatives of IWR-USACE’s coastal engineering team including Mr. Charles Chesnutt, Ms. Marriah Abellera, and Ms. Lauren Leuck.

USACE IWR Director Bob Pietrowsky commented, “It’s clear that Korea’s MOLIT and K-Water share many of the same interests and perspectives in water resources technology and environmentally sustainable development as USACE and IWR-ICIWaRM, particularly with regard to our respective roles in the International Hydrological Program (IHP), the activities of the UNSGAB’s High Level Expert Panel on Water and Disasters, and their role in hosting the 7th World Water Forum in 2015.”