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Development Overview

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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Development Overview
Official Aid Multi-Sector

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Multi-Sector

Major cases of international aid

Technological Aid from the UNDP
 
 
1 Overview
 
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) was established in 1961 upon the declaration of the UN Development Decade. It is responsible for UN projects aimed at promoting development worldwide through the coordination of knowledge, experience and resource-sharing among countries.

The UNDP today serves as the center of a global network encompassing 166 member states of the UN, including developing countries, and particularly focuses on assisting 50 or so low-income countries whose gross national income (GNI) per capita is less than USD 750 per year.

The five main concerns of the UNDP are good governance, poverty reduction, crisis prevention and recovery, energy and the environment, and HIV/AIDS. The organization spearheads the progress and contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)[1] announced at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000.

Since its establishment, the UNDP has been providing diverse forms of aid and assistance for Korea, mostly in the form of free-standing technological aid. This aid has reached a wide range of sectors and has been used for a variety of purposes, including, development of public sector policies and institutions; expansion of development capacity and human resources; and advancement of soft small and medium-scale projects and programs that involve creating the basic institutions for industrial, technological, social, and environmental development.

The one-way contributions of technology and other resources from the UNDP to Korea ended long ago. Today, the two sides rather work together to provide assistance and cooperation on other international projects of development, including the Tumen River Development Project, promoting South-South technical cooperation, as well as on projects in which Korea shares its experiences with other countries in the area of science and technology development.

The UNDP first established the Country Cooperation Framework (CCF), a basic strategy to ensure the increased participation and contribution of Korea in UNDP projects for two years, in 1998. The agreement provided evidence of the UNDP’s changed perception of Korea as no longer being a beneficiary country but a partner for international cooperation.

The second UNDP CCF was established in 2001, spanning the period from 2001 to 2003, indicating the UNDP’s willingness to maintain relations of cooperation and partnership with Korea, a country which by this point had completed its transformation from recipient to donor of international aid.
 
 
2. Projects and programs 

The aims and details of UNDP-sponsored technological assistance for Korea have continued to change and evolve over the last four decades in pace with the shifts in the socioeconomic conditions and needs of Korea. UNDP projects for Korea in the 1960s focused on enhancing the productivity of the nation’s major industries (i.e., agriculture and fishery), and on satisfying basic necessities in the areas of health, education, and other such social services. In the latter part of the decades of development, the UNDP provided policy and technical consultation, and other resources, to help Korea develop its own basis for research and development, and its own blueprint for economic and social development. Main examples of assistance during this latter period include support for the establishment of various R&D organizations, and consultation on the development of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Five-Year Plans for Economic and Social Development. Increasing support was also provided for environmental management, social development, and industrial restructuring.

UNDP projects these days mainly involve cooperation programs that promote government and governance innovation, employment, social protection and health improvement, gender equality, the peaceful reconciliation between the two Koreas, and other such goals. The following is a chronological summary of the major UNDP projects (with budgets of USD 500,000 or more each) undertaken for Korea’s development.
 
<Early Part of the Decades of Development (1961 to 1975)>
〮 Soil fertility and soil research, 1963 to 1971, USD 1,027,000
〮 Deep sea fishing training center, 1964 to 1971, USD 2,877,000
〮 Soil survey, 1964 to 1971, USD 1,672,000
〮 Expanding services department in medium industry banks, Phases I and II, 1966 to 1977, USD 1,630,000
〮 Fine instruments center, Phases I and II, 1966 to 1974, USD 2,984,000
〮 Nakdong River basin delta and tributary studies, 1966 to 1981, USD 2,733,000
〮 Uplands and watershed development, 1967 to 1976, USD 2,156,000
〮 Forestry survey and development, 1968, USD 499,000
〮 Tubewell irrigation project, 1969 to 1974, USD 2,097,000
〮 Coastal fishing training center - skipjack fishing, 1968 to 1982, USD 3,317,000
〮 Central vocational training institute, Phases I and II, 1968 to 1982, USD 2,622,000
〮 Regional physical planning, 1970 to 1974, USD 552,000
〮 Strengthening plant protection research and training capacity, 1972, USD 1,130,000
〮 Disease and insect control for plants, 1969 to 1973, USD 990,000
〮 Food processing center, Phases I, II, and III, 1973 to 1982, USD 1,387,000
〮 Establishing a hotel management school, 1973 to 1982, USD 576,000
〮 Shipbuilding industry technical services, 1974 to 1984, USD 2,035,000
〮 Korean Ocean Research and Development Institute, 1973 to 1983, USD 954,000
 
<Latter Part of the Decades of Development (1976 to 1990)>
〮 National Institute of Labor Science for Occupational Safety and Health, 1975 to 1985, USD 812,000
〮 KIST mechanical engineering research institute, 1975 to 1986, USD 1,017,000
〮 Forestry training institute for fire control, 1975 to 1983, USD 446,000
〮 Outdoor hydraulics laboratory for irrigation, drainage, and flood control, 1975 to 1985, USD 1,569,000
〮 Drainage improvement, 1975 to 1987, USD 1,081,000
〮 Shipbuilding welding and steel fabrication, 1975 to 1984, USD 523,000
〮 KIST semiconductor materials technology, 1979 to 1985, USD 938,000
〮 Korea Electrotechnology and Telecom Research Institute, 1978 to 1985, USD 854,000
〮 International Management Institute, 1977 to 1982, USD 2,465,000
〮 Reliability and environmental test center, 1982, USD 499,000
〮 Support for the development of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Economic and Social Development Plans, 1975 to 1988, USD 1,345,000
〮 Support for the Korea Institute for Energy and Resources, 1979 to 1986, USD 620,000
〮 Productive forest resource management, 1983 to 1989, USD 588,000
〮 Strengthening meteorological research activities, 1983 to 1988, USD 551,000
〮 Civil aviation training center, 1984 to 1988, USD 566,000
〮 Toxicology research center, Phases I and II, 1983 to 1990, USD 796,000
〮 Korea Energy Management Corporation (KEMCO), 1985 to 1994, USD 555,000
〮 Improving agricultural production through the aid of nuclear and related technology, 1985 to 1990, USD 644,000
〮 Support for the Korea Electrotechnology and Telecommunication Research Institute, 1985, USD 1,036,000.
〮 Establishing a CAD section within the die and molds department, KIMM, 1986 to 1993, USD 572,000
〮 Training of science and engineering professors, 1988 to 1993, USD 732,000
〮 Providing improved industrial management computers, 1987 to 1992, USD 1,194,000
〮 Support for the Center of Science and Technology Policy (CSTP), 1988 to 1994, USD 472,000
 
<Transition period (1990 to 1999)>
〮 Integrated pest management development and training program, Phases I, II, and III, 1993 onward, USD 1,540,000
〮 Strengthening of government capability for science, Phases I, II, and III, 1988 onward, USD 735,000
〮 Establishing the Technology and Financing Information Center (TFIC), 1993 to 1994, USD 539,000
〮 Promoting scientific and technical information services, 1993 to 1997, USD 400,000
〮 Detailed study and proposal for the ESSD in northern Gyeonggi Province, 1996 onward, USD 600,000
〮 Korea Environment Information Network System (KEINS), 1994 onward, USD 404,000
〮 NGO activities promoting the sustainable development network concept, 1994 onward, USD 400,000
 
Korea has received UNDP aid with respect to almost all sectors of society. Such aid can be divided into six main categories: General development (GD); Energy and the environment (En); Agriculture/forestry/fisheries (Ag); Industries (In); Social development (SD); and Science and technology (ST). The six categories are further divided into 20 subcategories.[2]
 
<UNDP Aid by Decade and Category>
 
Category 1962-1971 1972-1981 1982-1991 1992-2003 Total
Ag 16,227 3,259 2,661 1,540 23,687
Proportion (%) 59.5 12.5 11.4 8.2 24.8
No. of programs 12 7 8 3 30
En 833
3.0
5
4,503
17.3
13
4,400
18.8
16
3,399
18.2
12
13,135
13.8
46
GD 4,310
15.8
5
1,437
5.5
5
2,604
11.1
16
8,602
46.0
22
16,953
17.8
50
In 4,006
14.7
8
13,347
51.3
21
9,800
42.0
31
1,446
7.7
3
28,599
30.0
63
SD 1,652
6.1
5
2,388
9.2
7
1,805
7.7
8
2,831
15.1
21
8,676
9.1
41
ST 235
0.9
1
1,080
4.2
8
2,094
9.0
7
895
4.8
3
4,304
4.5
19
Total 27,263 26,014 23,364 18,713 95,354
Proportion (%) 100 100 100 100 100
Number of programs 36 63 86 64 249
           
 
Note: The proportion represents the share of each category in the total UNDP aid provided for each given decade.
Source: UNDP Projects (1962-2003), UNDP Korea, January 2004.
 
It is not easy to arrive at an uncomplicated conclusion and assessment of the UNDP’s technological aid for, and its impact on, Korea, given the variety and far-reaching scope of the aid concerned. Importantly, though, Korea was recognized as a net contributor country (NCC) in 1992 at the UNDP’s executive board meeting,[3] which meant that Korea was no longer exclusively reliant on technological aid and cooperation from abroad. This attests to the success and effectiveness of UNDP aid for Korea overall. Yet more in-depth studies are needed on the details and impact of each UNDP technological aid program so as to draw more accurate and relevant conclusions and implications.
 
 
[1] The UN Millennium Summit, part of the Millennium Conferences, was held at UN headquarters in New York City from September 6 to 8, 2000. The meeting redefined the UN’s roles for the 21st century, and determined the MDGs, hoped to be achieved by 2015. There are eight MDGs in total, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, and the reduction of the amount of the world’s population subsisting on one dollar or less a day to half of what it is presently.
[2] (1) Political affairs, (2) General development issues, (3) General statistics (“GD” so far); (4) Natural resources, (5) Energy (“En” so far); (6) Agriculture, forestry, and fisheries (Ag); (7) Industry, (8) Transport, (9) Communications and information, (10) Trade and development (“In” so far); (11) Population, (12) Human settlements, (13) Health, (14) Education, (15) Employment, (16) Humanitarian assistance and disaster management, (17) Social development, (18) Culture (“SD” so far); (19) Science and technology (“ST”); and (20) Environment (“En”).
[3] In 1989, Korea’s GNP per capita exceeded USD 4,700 a year, which was the threshold dividing NCCs from recipient countries. After a three-year trial period, Korea was officially recognized as an NCC in 1992.

Source: Korea International Cooperation Agency. 2004. Study on Development Aid and Cooperation for South Korea: Size, Scope and Exemplary Effects. Seoul.