Citizens’ University in Seoraksan National Park

Korea National Park Service
Published: 03 December 2020
Last edited: 04 December 2020
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Citizens’ University in Seoraksan National Park aims for park managers and local residents to objectively examine national park policies and their realities together and understand each other (the goal is to conserve national parks while making nearby villages into more livable places). Through the program, local residents will begin to see their communities as being happier because of national parks, and national park authorities will be able to create national parks that are managed through the support of local residents and their pride. The program has enhanced the partnership between national park authorities and local communities to coexist and prosper together.


East Asia
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Temperate deciduous forest
Local actors
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated


Seoraksan National Park
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  • Citizens' University programs (ecology and history education, village tour programs, etc.) have formed a consensus that the national park has a great contribution to the region. Especially, the programs strengthen local communities' competencies and enable residents to become active. For these achievements, the National Parks Citizens’ University Program was certified as a UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development program for its local community environmental leader training sessions.
  • Started by Seoraksan Office in 2008, the National Parks Citizens’ University has been recognized for its intent and performance. Today, the program has expanded to all 22 national park offices across Korea.
  • Graduates of the Citizens’ University Program actively communicate with each other, participating in volunteer activities such as invasive species control, ecosystem monitoring, local events, and various educational programs in national parks.
  • Most participants were initially residents and merchants in the national park regions, but the program later expanded to include residents and office workers living in nearby cities (understanding of the national parks is increasing as the program expands to include more diverse people).
  • With sessions at least once a year, Seoraksan Office has graduated 600 Citizens’ University graduates so far. Some graduates continue to participate in volunteer programs to this day.

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Korea National Park Service - KNPS Korea National Park Service