The National Natural Heritage Center project in Eulsukdo, Busan, is one step closer to becoming a reality. The Bill on the Protection and Utilization of Natural Heritage has passed the National Assembly’s Committee on Culture, Sports, and Tourism and now only awaits a plenary vote. If the bill is approved, the project is expected to be completed by 2028, with the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism serving as the lead agency.
The National Natural Heritage Center is being positioned as an institution equivalent to the world’s leading natural history museums, such as the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in the United States. The establishment of the center is part of a larger overhaul by the Cultural Heritage Administration, which will replace the term “cultural property” with “national heritage” and reclassify cultural assets into cultural heritage, natural heritage, and intangible heritage in line with international standards.
Eulsukdo was selected as the location for the National Natural Heritage Center in 2018 and 2020 after a nationwide competition by local governments. The area is mostly home to migratory birds and is the largest natural monument habitat in Korea, with the Eulsukdo Artificial Wetland, Nakdong Ganghwa Eco Center, and the Eulsukdo Migratory Bird Park and Ecological Park already in place. The National Natural Heritage Center is envisioned as a research institute and control tower for natural heritage, with the goals of protecting and utilizing natural heritage, enhancing international and public awareness, and accumulating natural heritage information.
The city of Busan and local politicians will play a crucial role in securing the legislation and budget necessary to make the National Natural Heritage Center a reality. The Cultural Heritage Administration should also focus its efforts on establishing the center as a way to manage and protect the country’s national heritage.