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South Korea to provide humanitarian assistance to Philippines in wake of volcanic eruption

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea will provide US$200 thousand in humanitarian assistance to the Philippines following the recent eruption of the Taal volcano, beginning on January 12, 2020. The funds will be channeled through the Philippine Red Cross and will be used to help the tens of thousands of people displaced by the eruption. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

South Korea

South Korea's 2020 ODA budget prioritizes humanitarian assistance and implementation of new southern and northern policies in Asia

South Korea’s 2020 official development assistance (ODA) budget was approved by the national parliament in December of 2019. The total budget for 2020 will be approximately KRW3.4 billion (equivalent to US$2.9 billion). This is an increase of KRW226.5 billion (US$194 million) compared to 2019. The proportion that will be used for multilateral development assistance has fallen to 19%. 

Asia remains Korea's regional priority, receiving 39.4% of their development assistance allocation. This reflects the commitment of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to implementing Korea's southern and northern policies, both focused on Asia. KOICA has increased its budget for ODA projects in the Asia Pacific by 32.5% from 2019. EDCF has also announced an increase in budget directed towards the Asian continent, from US$1.4 billion in 2019 to US$2 billion in 2020. 

The budget also includes enhanced provisions for refugees and humanitarian assistance. Korea will contribute US$12 million yearly to international organizations to fund projects combatting sexual violence in conflict as part of the 'action with women and peace initiative'. They have also committed to establishing a formal public-private partnership channel for humanitarian assistance and contributing at least US$50 million to multilateral development cooperation projects in the humanitarian-development-peace nexus between 2019 and 2023. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

News article –Yonhap News (in Korean)

News article – Money Today (in Korean)

South Korea

South Korea hosts academic conference on future of ODA

Korea Association of International Development Cooperation (KAIDEC), South Korea's largest academic association on international development cooperation, held its annual winter conference in Seoul on the theme 'Exploring new directions of international development cooperation'. The conference is one of Korea's largest events focusing on official development assistance (ODA) and was organized in partnership with the ministry of unification, ministry of foreign affairs, the Ewha Womans University [sic] and others.

The conference included 20 sessions, including two organized by the ministry of unification on implementation of the sustainable development goals in North Korea and the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. The ministry of foreign affairs held two sessions on South Korea’s upcoming mid-term ODA strategy and new foreign aid policies and strategies. The vice minister of the unification ministry and director-general of development cooperation bureau joined the event to deliver remarks and urged stakeholders to use the event to discuss and provide ideas on South Korea’s foreign affairs and foreign aid strategies.

Event website – Korea Association of International Development Cooperation (in Korean)

South Korea

South Korea and Romania agree to collaborate on development assistance projects implementing foreign assistance

The Export-Import Bank of South Korea (KEXIM) and the Romanian Agency for International Development Cooperation (RoAID) signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to share knowledge and work together on international development assistance projects. KEXIM manages South Korea’s concessional loans through the economic development cooperation fund (EDCF). It will share knowledge and experience in international development cooperation and identify potential cooperative projects to be implemented in association with RoAID.

The partnership is expected to create synergies as the organizations have similar areas of focus, including health, education, transportation, and energy. Collaboration is also expected on technical assistance from RoAID on three projects implemented using concessional loans from KEXIM .

News article – Financial News (in Korean)

South Korea

South Korea brings together public and private sectors for second Seoul Dialogue on Africa

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea, in partnership with Korea-Africa Foundation, organized the second Seoul Dialogue on Africa under the theme of 'Africa’s integration: legacies and new horizons' as part of Koreas ongoing efforts to further strengthen its partnership with Africa. The Korea-Africa Foundation, an affiliated institution of the foreign ministry, has been implementing activities on private-public exchanges, youth support, and partnerships with entrepreneurs, among others.

The session covered topics from sustained efforts towards peace and conflict resolution, emerging economic trends, climate change, human resource development, and innovative education and partnership strategies with Africa. Attendees included the African Union Commissioner for Human Resources,  South Korean government stakeholders, members of the private sector and academia, representatives of research and policy institutions and of multilateral development banks including the African Development Bank.

Prior to the dialogue, the Korea-Africa Foundation also hosted the second Korea-Africa Youth Forum with a specific focus on startup enterprises in Africa.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Event website – Korea-Africa Foundation

South Korea

South Korea holds 2019 Busan Global Partnership Forum

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea held the 2019 Busan Global Partnership Forum from December 4 -5, 2019 in Seoul, Korea. The Forum brought together a number of stakeholders on development and development cooperation from both global north and south, civil society organizations and parliaments. With the theme of 'revitalizing the global partnership for the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs)', the forum covered a number of issues including:

  • Reflecting on the relevance of development effectiveness for the attainment of the SDGs;
  • Outcomes of the latest 2018 global partnership monitoring results;
  • South-south and triangular cooperation;
  • SDGs and the private sector engagement; and
  • Outreach for the development effectiveness agenda.

Representatives from China, India, and BRICS Policy Center joined the Forum to share their perspectives on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and the development effectiveness agenda.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

Event website – Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation

South Korea

South Korea seals contribution to Global Fund for 2020- 2022

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of South Korea concluded its contribution to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria for the sixth replenishment of 2020-2022 by signing the memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU states that South Korea will contribute US$5 million to the global fund in 2019. At the same time, South Korea pledges to double its contribution in the next three years to US$25 million from the previous US$13 million. It will also support the global fund’s goal of eradicating major infectious diseases by 2030.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Press release – The Global Fund

South Korea Global health

South Korea seeks to improve governance and effectiveness of its international development cooperation

The Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee of the South Korean National Assembly has drafted an amendment to the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation to address governance problems including development assistance fragmentation, lack of comprehensive development assistance strategy, and limited linkage between grants and concessional loans. The bill was sent for deliberation to the legislation and judiciary committee of the National Assembly in late November, 2019 but has not been deliberated on yet.

The amendment contains a number of components aimed at: 

  • Enhancing the role and authority of the committee of international development cooperation (CIDC) and its supervising ministries, executing agencies and embassies;
  • Clarifying the role and purpose of the CIDC to improve its ability to deliberate and decide policies, and play a stronger role in developing partnership strategies with priority partner countries;
  • Establishing a secretariat to support and facilitate the CIDC's work; and
  • Promoting gender equality on the CIDC by limiting the proportion of either sex to 60%.

Bill Information - South Korea National Assembly (in Korean)

South Korea

UN designates September 7 as International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies

The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution to designate September 7 as the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies as part of an effort to improve air quality, enhance global awareness of air pollution, and promote necessary action. Improving air quality and reducing air pollution will have a positive impact on people’s health, climate, and ecosystems worldwide. At the same time, it requires the kind of immediate, integrated and decisive actions to which national governments have so far proven averse.

Proposed by President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, the approved resolution also includes observance of the day by the UN member states, UN agencies, and civil society as well as the role of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote the observance of the international day. The global community will observe the international day from 2020. As part of its contribution, South Korea established the national council on climate and air quality.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

South Korea

South Korean partnership with ASEAN members strengthened at 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit

The South Korean government hosted the 2019 Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit and the First Mekong-ROK Summit in Busan from November 25- 27, 2019. Alongside, President Moon Jae-in held bilateral summits with the leaders of 10 ASEAN member states including Singapore, Brunei, and Malaysia. These events provided an opportunity to strengthen and solidify South Korea’s partnership with ASEAN member countries and India as part of the administration’s new southern policy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a 2019 International Development Cooperation Day which included individual meetings with the secretary-general of ASEAN and the foreign minister of Cambodia. As part of this, South Korea signed memorandums of understandings on implementing new southern ODA, one of the main pillars of the new southern policy, with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam. These agreements commit to cooperating across five flagship programs:

  • 1) Digital partnership for inclusive development;
  • 2) Higher education for a prosperous future;
  • 3) Korea-Mekong future peace community;
  • 4) Smart cities for the people and planet; and
  • 5) Inclusive transportation for balanced growth.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held the 2019 Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) Project Plaza and the 2019 ROK-ASEAN CEO Summit. This was an opportunity for MDBs including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Development Bank, and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to discuss opportunities for the private sector to implement MDBs’ projects.

Event website - 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit

Press release – Cheong Wa Dae (Blue House)

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Press release – Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (in Korean)

South Korea