NATIONAL

[Newsmaker] S. Korea to host 2023 World Scout Jamboree

By Jung Min-kyung
  • Published : Aug 17, 2017 - 17:18
  • Updated : Aug 17, 2017 - 17:18
Tens of thousands of scouts and leaders from around the world will converge in South Korea, near the world’s largest seawall, in 2023 for the 25th World Scout Jamboree. 

The South Korean delegation celebrates winning its bid to host the 25th World Scout Jamboree in 2023 in a vote held at the 41st World Scout Conference 2017 in Baku, Azerbaijan, Wednesday. Yonhap

South Korea on Wednesday won the bid to host the international quadrennial event in Saemangeum, North Jeolla Province, at the 41st World Scout Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Saemangeum competed with Poland’s coastal city of Gdansk and won 607 to 365 in a ballot held among the 168 members of the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Each member nation was allowed six votes.

President Moon Jae-in shared a congratulatory message via Facebook saying, “I’d like to thank the President of the Korea Scout Association, Ham Jong-han and all who (made this possible).”

“I hope the effort of North Jeolla Province leads to the development of Saemangeum,” he said.

Moon also vowed to back the event with full government support and said he is personally looking forward to watching the “grand spectacle” of the global gathering.

About 5,000 youth scout members from 168 countries are expected to gather in the area for the 12-day event.

A government think tank report shows the event is capable of generating about 79.6 billion won ($70 million) in economic impact and 1,054 jobs at a national scale.

The North Jeolla Province government unveiled plans to establish special laws and a committee for the event, along with measures to secure funds. It is also preparing to build sustainable infrastructure dedicated to global youths, with accommodation services and camping grounds.

Despite South Korea entering the race almost a year later than Poland, North Jeolla Province officials campaigned rigorously. The delegates personally visited scout associations in major continents to ask for support.

The Korea Scout Association has been actively pursuing the 2023 event in order to mark 100 years since its establishment in 1922.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also attended the Baku conference to join the campaign and meet with key scout officials there.

The Saemangeum area spans 40,200 hectares and is home to the world’s longest man-made seawall at 33.9 kilometers. The seawall was completed in 2010 to attract businesses mostly in the agriculture and renewable energy industry. It was also certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest man-made sea barrier in the world, in the year of its completion.

On the other hand, it has also financially burdened the South Korean government for decades, as both environmental and political issues slowed the construction process. A total of 7.3 trillion won is believed to have been invested in the project so far.

The Moon administration has been ramping up efforts to invigorate Saemangeum by building roads connecting the area to other key cities. The first phase of the two-tier construction project is slated to be finished by 2022.

The 2023 jamboree coincides with the WOSM’s goal to enter China and expand its membership to 100 million.

South Korea hosted the World Scout Jamboree in 1991 in Goseong, Gangwon Province. The event is believed to have contributed to the local community through cultural development and road expansion, with 19,000 scout members from 135 nations participating.

The World Scout Jamboree was first organized by The Boy Scout Association in London in 1920. The event is attended by scouts aged between 14 and 17.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)