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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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International development cooperation and partnership building

Adaptation to the Principles of International Development Cooperation and Partnership Building

1. Implementing the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action
Membership in the DAC has allowed Korea to actively participate in the international society’s efforts to address global problems such as poverty, the need for sustainable development, and devastation from large scale natural disasters, while at the same time enhancing Korea’s national prestige as an advanced donor nation.

In particular, KOICA is adopting DAC principles and participating in one of DAC’s main activities; enhancing the effectiveness of international development cooperation by focusing on the 2005 Paris Declaration (PD) and 2008 Accra Agenda for Action (AAA). In 2009, KOICA chose the following as priority tasks for adopting the PD and AAA and has been continuously implementing them: ‘expansion of the partner country’s public budget management system and procurement system, heightening of the predictability of international development cooperation, increasing the percentage of untied aid, expansion of program international development cooperation method, and calculating the effects of aid through transparent evaluation policy.’

From 2009 to 2010, KOICA established a trial ‘Country Partnership Strategy for adopting the PD/AAA’ in Ethiopia and Mongolia to execute different policies regarding different issues in accordance with the PD and AAA and as a blueprint for implementing the principles of aid effectiveness KOICA is endeavoring to expand its participation in DAC working groups and to adopt related regulations. In accordance with the DAC regulation which states that member states must partake in more than one working group and network, KOICA designated personnel for 6 working groups and networks in the first half of 2009. These personnel were tasked with understanding and analyzing major trends within DAC working groups and networks and finding ways for KOICA to adopt them. Furthermore, in order to participate more vigorously in DAC network activities, KOICA issued papers for each network and hosted seminars in cooperation with related government departments and domestic organizations. Through such activities, KOICA plans to continue advancing the Korean government’s position in different networks.

2. Gender Mainstreaming
Currently, the phenomenon of ‘poverty taking on a female face’ or the‘ Feminization of Poverty’is intensifying and six out of every ten of the world’s poor are women. In respond to this, the international community has been actively discussing the relationship between poverty and gender inequality. It is strengthening efforts to reduce poverty and to seek development by solving gender inequality in various sectors such as education, health, economic participation, social safety nets, political capacity, and women’s rights in conflict affected and weak countries.

Gender equality is not only a development goal in itself, but is also a major tool that can be used to effectively and efficiently achieve other development goals. In line with UN Millennium Development Goal three; ‘Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women,’multilateral development related organizations such as the UN, the OECD, and the World Bank are prioritizing policies which support education, health, and capacity building of women and girls and are utilizing gender equality as a breakthrough strategy for solving mounting development problems.

The DAC special Peer Review, the board created to evaluate Korea’s eligibility for DAC membership in 2008, recommended that the Korean government consider the crosscutting issue of gender equality as a priority in major policies when implementing international development cooperation.
The 2008 Plan for International Development Cooperation outlines the order of priority among KOICA’s ODA project procedures, sectors, and regions. The 2008 Plan for International Development Cooperation set the goal of focusing aid in sectors in which Korea has a comparative advantage, such as human resource development, health and medicine, rural development, strengthening administrative capacity, and information and communication development. The 2008 Plan for International Development Cooperation also stipulated that the national development plans of partner countries must be taken into account and worked with during project implementation.

One gender mainstreaming tool that KOICA has adopted since 2007, is the gender evaluation report. The objective of the report is to analyze the different impacts that a policy has on women and men and to make adjustments and improvements so that policy effects are equally distributed. KOICA has been carrying out gender evaluations in selected projects as part of its mission to implement gender mainstreaming in its ODA projects.

[Figure 2-1] The 8th KOICA Development Cooperation Forum
The 8th KOICA Development Cooperation Forum
 
  • The 8th KOICA Development Cooperation was held under the theme o‘f Gender in conflict afflicted fragile states’
 
In June 2009, KOICA started participating in Gendernet, one of the six policy networks under the DAC. Donor countries, partner countries, international organization, civil society, and other professionals in the international community participate in Gendernet to discuss the issue of gender equality in international development and share experiences from the field in order to effectively pursue gender equality Through the‘ Mid-term Strategy for Untied International Development Cooperation (2008-2009)’in 2008, KOICA chose women as a major target for focused aid and designed projects to benefit them specifically.

This emphasized the fact that the education and health sectors in particular are closely related to the issue of empowering women and protecting women’s interests. The project plans of 2009 were able to form a twin-track strategy wherein gender mainstreaming tools were applied across the board in all ODA projects. This was done in addition to projects specifically for women being continuously carried out. This twin-track strategy had the effect of increasing women’s participation in project implementation and ensured that the benefits of development aid went directly to women. The twin-track strategy aims to include both a gender analysis and a gender equality perspective in all stages of the project implementation process; project discovery, planning, execution, evaluation and monitoring. Accordingly, KOICA established a quota system to ensure women’s participation in training programs and institutionalized the requirement that 30% of trainees from each country must be women. KOICA created professional programs for women, such as‘ Gender and Development,’ while creating gender sensitive budget lines within training programs with the aim of implementing gender sensitive projects. In addition, KOICA’s gender mainstreaming research explored the organization’s effective gender mainstreaming methods.
In 2010, efforts were made to establish gender sensitive implementation strategies and project plans, such as expanding the gender sensitive budgets to more projects, improving the quality of gender evaluation reports, and continuing to pursue the previously mentioned twin-track strategy.
In December 2010, KOICA established the ‘Guideline for Furthering Gender Equality and Empowering Women’and created a legal basis for setting gender equality goals and strategies. The ‘Guideline for Furthering Gender Equality and Empowering Women’expounded gender equality as one of the goals of KOICA’s international development cooperation projects and strove to weave gender mainstreaming into KOICA’s structure and policies. In this way, KOICA is continuously endeavoring to realize its goals for attaining gender equality and to prepare policy and strategies for effective implementation of gender sensitive international development cooperation.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.

  ##PAGE##  3. Mainstreaming the Environment for Sustainable Development
In the 2008 special evaluation, the OECD/DAC recommended that the Korean government gradually expand its attention to ODA projects concerned with cross-cutting issues, including the issue of the environment. In the past, the DAC proposed the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) as major tools for mainstreaming environmental protection. Accordingly, the Korean government has been strengthening support for addressing such overarching issues and has made institutional reforms to mainstream cross-cutting issues throughout the entire process of project selection, implementation, and evaluation.
Since its foundation in 1991, KOICA has been gradually increasing the share of its ODA projects in the environment sector. In 2008 in particular, support for environmental protection and preservation increased greatly following the announcement of the ‘East Asia Climate Partnership’at the 2008 G8 Summit. To meet the Korean government’s policy of having ‘Green ODA’and to strengthen the capacity of developing nations in Asia to respond to climate change, KOICA has been supporting large scale projects in the five areas of water management, establishment of low-carbon city, forestry, low-carbon energy, and waste management. In addition, capacity building projects for sustainable development were continuously implemented through small and medium sized projects that supplement the East Asia Climate Partnership and projects for preventing environmental pollution.

Additionally, to comply with the international norm of environmental mainstreaming for sustainable development, KOICA has been systematically improving the related institutions and policies in its project implementation process. In 2008, environmental guidelines were established and the procedures for conducting environmental evaluations were defined. Furthermore, KOICA launched the environment officer system in 2010 for establishing environmental policies, mid and long-term strategies, and plans within KOICA.

In order to transform Korea into a good model country for green growth, the Korean government has been seeking green growth in different sectors. As stated in the ‘National Strategy and Five-Year Plan for Green Growth,’the Korean government made plans in 2009 to increase the percentage of green ODA to 30% of Korea’s total ODA by 2020. The Korean government will be perusing its plan to expand the ODA/GNI ratio up to 0.25% by 2015, while at the same time increasing the quantity and quality of its green ODA, according to the East Asia Climate Partnership.

KOICA must seriously consider the issue of environmental protection across policy establishment, organizational structure, implementation, and the evaluation processes in order to meet the international trend of environmental mainstreaming and the domestic demand for expanding green ODA. KOICA is conducting research on ways that environmental issues have been effectively incorporated into general policy in the past, establishing environmental guidelines, testing the application of environmental analysis guidelines, and making policy reforms such as appointing an Environment Officer and joining the East Asia Climate Partnership. Such measures will allow KOICA to expand its aid quantity.

In addition, KOICA plans to achieve green growth from the policy implementation level up to project implementation and evaluation by developing comprehensive green international development cooperation strategies. These new strategies will combine the previous green ODA projects and participation in the East Asia Climate Partnership.
 
4. Management of Innovative Financial Resources for
Development (Global Poverty Eradication Contribution) Since 2004, international society has been discussing ways of ‘developing innovative financial resources for development’in order to eradicate poverty in least developed countries. France suggested the ‘Air-ticket Solidarity Contribution’system in June 2005, as one of the ways to supplement existing funds for development. This system was first implemented in France in July 2004, and is currently being employed or reviewed by 20 countries. In addition, countries such as the UK, Norway, Brazil, and Spain are participating in this system by donating funds (mainly airport taxes) to UNITAID.

In September 2005, 79 countries adopted the New York Declaration which urged the development of new sources of funds to promote progress towards the achievement of the MDGs in developing countries. The Korean government stressed Korea’s commitment to fulfilling its responsibility as part of the international community and, during the president’s address at the UN General Assembly, reiterated its promise to increase aid to Africa three-fold by 2008 through ‘Korea’s Initiative for Africa’s Development.’This plan was originally announced during the president’s visit to Nigeria in March 2006.

Korea has been participating in the ‘Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development’since April 2006, performed the duties of group chair from March to September 2007, and hosted the 3rd general assembly in Seoul. As part of the international effort to eradicate poverty and fight disease in poorest countries of the world, Korea started the ‘Global Poverty Eradication Contribution.’KOICA has been managing this fund to improve the health and medical sector of developing countries, specifically in Africa. Around 50% of the Global Poverty Eradication Contribution is going to UNITAID’s projects for fighting diseases in Africa while the rest is being channeled through domestic NGOs working on the same issue.

Korea is proud to contribute to realizing the global mission of the MDGs and expects this to heighten the country’s reputation as a humanitarian leader. Furthermore, the implementation of this fund enabled Korea to expand assistance to sub-Saharan Africa where the developmental needs existed the most. Korea is now involved in the mission of eradicating poverty and fighting diseases in Africa where more than 68% of the world’s poorest countries are located.

[Figure 4-1] The MOU signing ceremony of Global Poverty Eradication Fund with the NGOs
The MOU signing ceremony of Global Poverty Eradication Fund with the NGOs


Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.

  ##PAGE##  5. Expansion of Triangular and Joint Cooperation
Triangular cooperation refers to the financial and technological support for cooperative projects between developed donor countries and partner countries. In contrast, joint cooperation refers to projects implemented with close collaboration between more than two international development cooperation entities based on the spirit of division of labor.

Various forms of joint cooperative projects are being used by donor countries to effectively achieve Aid Harmonization, one of the principles of the Paris Declaration for improving aid effectiveness. KOICA implemented triangular cooperation in the form of joint training in Singapore, Chile, Egypt, and Israel, prior to 2009. Triangular cooperation expanded greatly after requests for cooperation increased in June 2009. These requests largely came from emerging donor countries and nations in the southern hemisphere who wanted to benefit from Korea’s successful development experience.

In 2009 through the ‘Seed Potato Project in Algeria (2007~2009/ 1,800,000 USD),’KOICA supported the dispatch of Peruvian experts on seed potatoes to Algeria, where they carried out research in cooperation with Korean experts to develop potato breeds that could adapt to Algeria’s climate. As a result, the project maximized the ripple effect of using comparative advantage (Korea: Technology for producing seed potatoes, Peru: Genetic potato resource), enhanced sustainability, and built a cooperative system between three countries in the area of potato farming. In 2010, agreements were made to continue cooperative relationships with countries such as Mexico, Qatar, South Africa, and Argentina. Additionally, Korea made an agreement with Columbia to implement the plan,‘ Triangular Cooperation for Strengthening Vocation Training in Central America and the Caribbean.’ KOICA has been endeavoring to establish mechanisms, such as continuous information exchange and a clear division of labor, to minimize the cost of problems in communication and initial partnership building with partner countries. These challenges have been pinpointed as the main hurdles to pursuing triangular cooperation. A synergy effect was created when efforts were made to respect the national development plans of partner countries, the comparative advantages of donor countries in the South, and previous areas of cooperation.

KOICA needs to cooperate closely with donor countries in order to follow DAC guidelines and is pursuing joint cooperation with various development entities.

KOICA carried out joint training for developing Asian countries in cooperation with Japan and Singapore, and implemented a joint evaluation of vocational training projects in Laos with Germany. In addition, KOICA carried out projects for rural development and rebuilding water ways in Cambodia in cooperation with Japan in 2009.

[Table 5-1] KOICA Triangular and Joint Cooperation (1991-2010)
KOICA Triangular and Joint Cooperation (1991-2010)

KOICA is exploring options for expanding triangular cooperation by supplementing the current North-South cooperation or utilizing the cultural and social backgrounds of the countries involved. It is also increasing its capacity to implement projects by learning from other countries, such as Japan, that have more experience in triangular cooperation and by strengthening the capacity of field offices.

As part of a major effort to pursue joint cooperation, KOICA held the 1st cooperation meeting with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in December 2010. At the meeting, Korea and Japan evaluated pervious cooperative projects and selected future areas of cooperation. They reached a consensus on the importance of communication and information sharing, ensuring enough time to implement projects, and continuously improving project methods to meet the needs of partner countries. The future areas of cooperation that were chosen are joint training, joint evaluation, support for the safety of volunteers in the field, efficient support, and joint workshops on research results. KOICA and JICA plan to find new areas for cooperation after implementing projects in the above mentioned areas and evaluating their results at the next cooperation meeting.

In order to pursue joint cooperation with a more strategic and long term perspective, KOICA is establishing cooperative principles and directions for each partner country and agency. It is improving development efficiency by diversifying the areas of cooperation to include joint investigation, joint country analysis, joint budget support, and technical cooperation. Finally, KOICA is responding actively to demands from the international society for a division of labor based on comparative advantage.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2011. 20 years of KOICA 1991-2010, Translated by Institute for Development and Human Security, Ewha Womans University. Seoul.