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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.