Best Climate Practice South Korea: The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement

Best Climate Practice South Korea: The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard South Korea Country Manager Nuriyeva Hatyja


The Korean Federation for Environmental Movement

Environmental issues like habitat destruction and air pollution will have both local and global consequences. While human activity has always had an impact on the environment, technological and globalization advances since the Industrial have contributed to multiplying and amplifying those effects. As a result, the size and complexity of environmental issues accelerated in the twentieth century (O’Neill et al., 2017).

Despite being dwarfed by its neighbors China and Japan, South Korea’s rapid economic development over the past few decades has left it with a huge carbon footprint. In 2015, it had the world’s 13th highest level of greenhouse gas emissions. South Korean policymakers have embraced the concept of green growth as a way of developing the country’s economy but also benefiting the rest of the world. However, the nation’s economic growth over the last few decades has been overwhelmingly dominated by energy-intensive sectors, most of which are powered by coal.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have long been regarded as important players in global environmental affairs. NGOs have gained prominence on the global stage as a result of their participation in issues such as biodiversity and conservation, desertification, transboundary air pollution, and climate change (Betsill & Corell, 2017).

With 85,000 members and 47 local affiliates, the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM) is the largest and most active NGO in Korea, focusing on topics ranging from nuclear power and pollution to global environmental issues such as ozone depletion, deforestation, biodiversity, and climate change.

KFEM’s mission:

  • Create a world of sustainable consumption
  • Protect the environmental rights of biologically and socially vulnerable populations
  • Conserve natural ecosystems and build an ecologically-friendly land use system in Korea
  • Reform laws and institutions to make the public sector more ecologically sound
  • Reorganize the industrial structure and taxation system to produce an ecologically sustainable economy
  • Work towards denuclearization, both in terms of weapons reduction and power generation solutions
  • Build an energy system based on renewable energy and work proactively to mitigate climate change
  • Achieve green local governance through grassroots civil society movements
  • Strengthen international cooperation and solidarity in order to protect the global environment

Since its founding, the organization has achieved a number of important victories, including stopping harmful projects such as the proposed nuclear waste dump on Gureop Island, a dam construction on the Dong River, and a golf course in the Gaya Mountain National Park.

KFEM aims to increase public consciousness about a range of environmental issues and to provide a forum for citizens’ concerns. Campaigns, financing, launching science programs, organising rallies, and directing nature conservation work are among the KFEM’s major activities. Furthermore, KFEM focuses on the conservation of wetlands and biodiversity in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea. KFEM also develops strategies for sustainable development and energy issues and plays a leading role in the international cooperation with regards to global environmental challenges.

Learn More References

Betsill, M. M., & Corell, E. (2017). NGO influence in international environmental negotiations: A framework for analysis. International Environmental Governance, (November 2001), 453–476.

O’Neill, B. C., Kriegler, E., Ebi, K. L., Kemp-Benedict, E., Riahi, K., Rothman, D. S., … Solecki, W. (2017). The roads ahead: Narratives for shared socioeconomic pathways describing world futures in the 21st century. Global Environmental Change, 42, 169–180. 2021. [online] Available at: <



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