The principal aim of the OECD Environmental Performance Review programme is to help member and selected partner countries improve their individual and collective performance in environmental management by:

  • helping individual governments assess progress in achieving their environmental goals

  • promoting continuous policy dialogue and peer learning

  • stimulating greater accountability from governments towards each other and public opinion.

This report reviews Korea’s environmental performance since the previous review in 2006. Progress in achieving domestic objectives and international commitments provides the basis for assessing the country’s environmental performance. Such objectives and commitments may be broad aims, qualitative goals or quantitative targets. A distinction is made between intentions, actions and results. Assessment of environmental performance is also placed within the context of Korea’s historical environmental record, present state of the environment, physical endowment in natural resources, economic conditions and demographic trends.

The OECD is indebted to the government of Korea for its co-operation in providing information, for the organisation of the review mission to Sejong and Seoul (4-8 April 2016), and for facilitating contacts both inside and outside government institutions.

Thanks are also due to the representatives of the two examining countries, Reo Kawamura (Japan) and Cecilia Mattsson (Sweden), as well as Daniel E. Gogal (United States) for his comments on the chapter on environmental justice.

The authors of this report were Anna Drutschinin, Justine Garrett, Jungah Kim, Myriam Linster, Eugene Mazur, Sarah Sentier and Frédérique Zegel from the OECD Environment Directorate. Nathalie Girouard and Frédérique Zegel provided oversight and guidance. Carla Bertuzzi provided statistical support, Jackie Maher provided editorial and administrative support and Rebecca Brite copy-edited the report. Preparation of this report also benefited from comments from Nils Axel Braathen, Jane Ellis and Xavier Leflaive from the OECD Environment Directorate, Randall Jones from the OECD Economics Department, and others members of the OECD Secretariat, including the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration and the Development Co-operation Directorate.

The OECD Working Party on Environmental Performance discussed the draft Environmental Performance Review of Korea at its meeting on 8 November 2016 in Paris, and approved the Assessment and Recommendations.