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Development Overview

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Overview of Korea’s development experience

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Strengthening external relationship and harmonization

1. Raising Public Awareness on International Development Cooperation

As a government agency, it is important that the EDCF gain public consent to a certain extent in order to scale up the ODA volume. However, public awareness on the government’s ODA activity was rather low. According to a survey result of the MOSF in October 2005, only 44% of the Korean people were even “somewhat aware of ODA,” and 46% had “heard about it but were not fully aware of ODA.” The survey also showed that 18% of those surveyed were strongly in favor of increasing the ODA levels, 35% supported a moderate increase, 28% thought the current level was appropriate and 13% wanted a decrease in ODA. Recognizing the need to put more weight on enhancing public awareness to successfully scale up its ODA volume, the EDCF began to exert efforts to this end.

To strengthen public support for its ODA activity, the EDCF devises action plans to raise public awareness on an annual basis, focusing on: 1) advertising EDCF activities through the media, 2) providing indirect experience of EDCF activities to the public by releasing related information and publishing case studies of EDCF projects, and 3) enhancing the relationship with various EDCF stakeholders such as lawmakers, government officials, civil societies, and academia by providing opportunities for lawmakers or government officials to participate in the EDCF project evaluation process, or by contributing to domestic and international seminars or workshops organized by civil societies or the academia.

The media can be a very powerful tool for the EDCF to deliver its opinion or related information to the public. Since 2005, the EDCF contributed seven special reports and eight professional opinions to the newspapers, sent out press releases, and broadcasted three TV documentaries. The documentaries were especially an indirect, yet effective means, providing the people with a clear picture of what the EDCF is doing and how the EDCF’s ODA activities contribute to the economic growth of developing countries.

Lawmakers and government officials are the main stakeholders to the EDCF in terms of budgeting and policy making. So, it is important for them to have knowledge on the mechanism of EDCF activities; how the EDCF addresses development issues in developing countries, the EDCF’s past achievements, and the EDCF’s future goals. To enhance the relationship with lawmakers and government officials, the EDCF engaged them in the project evaluation process, which is also expected to greatly enhance their understanding on EDCF activities.

Another major stakeholder to the EDCF is the civil society, who helps to reinforce accountability and transparency of ODA activities. They collect various opinions from the society and deliver them to the government through seminars or workshops. The EDCF has tried to enhance communication with the civil society by participating in or organizing seminars or workshops, so that civil societies interested in EDCF activities could express or deliver their opinion. In 2007, an international conference under the title of “Promoting Aid Effectiveness among Donors,” was held by the EDCF, as well as a workshop and seminar. Also, the EDCF participated in 28 seminars or workshops organized by various civil societies, institutions, and other government organizations. The EDCF’s interaction with the civil society in the ODA context is expected to grow further in the future.

The academia also plays a significant role in the government’s ODA activities by providing theoretical grounds for such aid and helping to set the directions. About 200 members consisting of professors, specialists, and civil society staff members launched the Korea Association on International Development and Cooperation (KAIDC) in October 2007. KAIDC, as the first academic association in the Korean ODA society, is expected to contribute to the development of good contents on Korea’s own development experience and provide its professional opinion to the government. These efforts will help to balance the domestic voice on any ODA disputes or controversies that may occur. The EDCF highly welcomes such efforts and will actively support their activities.

In addition, the EDCF has also established its own website under Korea Eximbank’s homepage (www.koreaexim.go.kr) to communicate more effectively with the public.
 

[Picture 1-1] EDCF International Conference in Commemoration of its 20th Anniversary in 2007
[Picture 1-1] EDCF International Conference in Commemoration of its 20th Anniversary in 2007

Source: The Export-Import Bank of Korea. 2008. EDCF Your development partner 1987-2007, History book. Seoul.