SEOUL, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- The southwestern provincial county of Wando was designated Wednesday as a UNESCO biosphere reserve, the environment ministry said.
The designation was decided during an International Coordinating Council session of the 33th UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Program currently under way in Nigeria via virtual links, the ministry said in a release.
A biosphere reserve is a protected area recognized by the U.N. organization for its excellent ecosystems and conservation of biodiversity, where local communities participate in various projects, such as ecotourism, for sustainable development.
Wando, located in South Jeolla Province, about 470 kilometers southwest of Seoul, has an area of 403,899 hectares, including 55 inhabited islets and 210 deserted islets.
Wando is the 9th place in South Korea to have earned the UNESCO biosphere reserve status, after Mt. Seorak, Jeju Island, Shinan Dadohae, Gwangneung Forest, Gochang, Suncheon, Gangwon Eco-Peace and Yeoncheon Imjin River.