Beginning in prehistoric times, and particularly more so since the Industrial Revolution, mankind has excessively pursued economic growth. While economic growth has contributed to incredible human comfort, it has also irrevocably damaged the environment where humans live. Thus, a problem arose in the late twentieth century: How do we reconcile economic growth with conservation of the environment? The question becomes more problematic as cooperation among private corporations, governments, and the public becomes increasingly necessary and national boundaries become irrelevant.
The 27th Annual Conference of IAIA, with the main theme of "Growth, Conservation and Responsibility," sought to answer that urgent problem. IAIA07 explored the compatibility of economic growth with conservation/sustainability. By doing so, we aimed to find common interests among private corporations, governments, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and practitioners. But since a nation alone cannot account for environmental damage, the conference also addressed the perspectives of global responsibility. We hope that the conference developed a new rationale by which economic growth and environmental conservation/sustainability can coexist. Numerous practitioners from across the world added fresh perspectives to transboundary/global environmental issues.
Korea has experienced rapid economic development for the last forty years. With the economic development, however, environmental damage has ensued. In order to minimize the side effects of economic growth, Korea has made assiduous efforts to implement impact assessment (IA). By holding the conference, we hope that Korea's own experiences of economic growth and IA practices offered practitioners fresh insights.
conference covered the traditional core topics such as SEA, SIA, HIA, biodiversity, disasters and so on, it also examined regional issues of Asian countries such as the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) and transboundary issues of the Yellow Dust and Mekong River contamination. Technical visits explored the issues of economic growth and sustainability through industrial facilities, ecological sites, urban redevelopment projects, and stream restoration projects. Special tours and events were arranged to see the city of Seoul where tradition and the future mingle together.
The IAIA Annual Conference is an important venue where diverse practitioners discuss and debate their ideas, suggestions, and experiences. And it offers diverse courses by which students learn to do impact assessment. The Program Committee thanks those who attended for their enthusiastic participation and appreciates their sharing and exchanging of knowledge, with the result of a very successful and memorable IAIA07.
IAIA07 Program Committee Chair