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DPRK senior government officials train at AIT

Ten senior officials from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) this week began a highly specialized four-week training program on integrated watershed management and reforestation at the Asian Institute of Technology.

DPRK senior government officials train at AIT

Participants from DPRK

The training course from 16 May to 10 June on Integrated Watershed Management (IWSM) and Reforestation is part of the project "Promoting Regional and Economic Cooperation in North-East Asia with particular focus on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)” implemented by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

Delivering the opening remarks for the course on 16 May 2011, Prof. Said Irandoust, President, AIT, welcomed the participants to the AIT campus and said that they were all now a part of the “AIT family”. He said the objectives of the training course to benefit sustainable development and the environment in the DPRK were very much aligned with AIT’s purposive approach to learning, research, outreach and capacity building.

“Unlike other universities, capacity-building here is a key,” said President Irandoust, stressing the appropriateness that the training for DPRK officials takes place at AIT.

The course, conducted largely by AIT faculty and implemented by UNESCAP, has been tailor-made for government officers and technical personnel from North Korea. The training aims to develop capacity of officials and experts in implementing projects related to watershed management, project appraisal, and to conduct studies and project development for sustainable and holistic development.

The curriculum has been jointly prepared by UNESCAP and AIT and is based on the requirements for staff training prepared by the Ministry of Land and Environment Protection and the State Academy of Sciences, Government of the DPRK.

President Irandoust expressed his delight and thanks that such a unique program has been developed with UNESCAP, whom he called a “great partner” of AIT. The partnership has been spearheaded Dr. Mukand Singh Babel, Coordinator, Water Engineering and Management (WEM) Field of Study, School of Engineering and Technology (SET).

Representing UNESCAP, Mr. Hongpeng Liu, Officer-In-Charge, Energy Security and Water Resources Section of the Environment and Development Division, said water and land are two vital resources that impact each other and require an integrated approach to manage. Watershed management and hydropower are important for mitigating the impacts of climate change, and are a part of green growth and sustainable development, he said.

Dr. Babel said the training stresses linking theory and practical application. It is designed to equip DPRK administrators, project planners and engineers to build up their knowledge and skills in project identification, definition, planning and implementation. Participants will learn through a combination of lecture, discussions, exercises, case studies, demonstrations, workshops and field visits. The North Korean officials will also pay study visits to Thailand’s Huay Sai Royal Development Study Center and the Monkey Cheek Physical Model for Sanam Chai-Mahachai Canal Project, a project of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Both are located in Petchaburi province.