Korea to Host Development Aid Conference

      November 07, 2011 14:02

      The 4th OECD High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which starts on Nov. 29 in the southern port city of Busan, is expected to adopt guidelines using Korea as a model for a former recipient of global aid developing into a donor nation. The HLF is an international conference looking for effective models for development assistance.

      Recipients and donors of global development assistance as well as international organizations and non-governmental organizations gather to discuss the effectiveness of aid. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair are among the 2,500 dignitaries scheduled to attend the forum, as are OECD chief Angel Gurria and around 70 other heads of international organizations and NGOs.

      From left, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and OECD chief Angel Gurria

      The HLF was launched in 2003 due to concerns that few recipients of global development assistance have been able to emerge from poverty over the past 60 years of its history. The second HLF in Paris in 2005 led to the Paris Declaration, containing the five principles of effective global aid, and the third HLF in 2008 in Ghana saw the establishment of an action plan to implement those principles.

      The reason why the OECD chose Korea to host the fourth HLF is that it is one of a handful of countries that have been able to make the transformation. Korea was one of the world's poorest countries just after the end of the 1950-53 Korean War with a per capita GNI of just US$67 but became an official donor nation after joining the OECD's Development Assistance Committee last year. Only three among countries that were designated as the world's poorest by the UN in 1971 have been able to emerge from that status.

      The OECD intends to wrap up its discussion on the effectiveness of global assistance during this HLF and shift the focus to development effectiveness at the next meeting.

      But Korea has a lot of work left to do because its official development assistance is still low compared to gross national income. When it signed up to the committee last year, Korea's ODA stood at 0.1 percent of GNI, placing it last out of the 23 member nations. The average was 0.32 percent. The government intends to boost Korea's level to 0.25 percent of GNI by 2015.

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