DACnews Special Alert - 26 November 2009
OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) welcomes Korean
On 25 November, the DAC welcomed South Korea as
its newest member. The Committee made its decision in a special
session, during which Mr. Oh Joon, Korean Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs, noted Korea’s eagerness to share its development experience
– and success.
“Half a century ago,” said Oh Joon, “Korea was one of the poorest
nations in the world, endeavouring to emerge from the ashes of the
Korean War to rebuild itself.”
Korea relied heavily on foreign assistance to rebuild its economy,
receiving a total of USD 13 billion between 1945 – when it became
independent – and the late 1990s. Today, it is a major global
economy. Next year, the country will chair the G20. And its aid to
other countries – in particular in Asia – was USD 803 million in
2008, up from USD 696 million just one year earlier.
Korea’s story demonstrates the changing face of international
development assistance. “Making good use of this assistance,” said
Oh Joon, “we worked hard to overcome poverty and achieve
development. For many Koreans, including myself, it happened in our
own lifetime. As a child, I went to an elementary school where we
drank milk and ate corn bread that came in containers marked ‘United
Nations’ or ‘US Government’. A few months ago, I visited a
kindergarten in Mongolia where children were studying with textbooks
marked as gifts from the Republic of Korea.”
“This is happening in the middle of an economic crisis,” remarked
OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurrķa, “when many countries are
holding back, Korea is signalling the way forward, as it has done in
Korea joined the OECD in 1996 and a decade later began motions to
join the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.
A team of experts from the DAC Secretariat visited Korea in June
2009 to verify that its aid programme meets DAC standards. Based on
their report, DAC members unanimously agreed to extend a warm
welcome. They noted, among other things, Korea’s sound aid volumes,
strategies, policies and institutional frameworks, as well the
country’s reliable system for monitoring and evaluating performance.
Welcoming Korea to the DAC, the Committee Chair, Eckhard Deutscher,
remarked: “We have had many opportunities to observe Korea’s great
progress, as a nation, as an economy and as a provider of aid to the
world’s poorest countries. Korea’s joining us today has paved the
way for a more open and inclusive Development Assistance Committee.”
Yesterdays’ welcome by the members of the Committee was met by solid
commitments from the Korean government: it has pledged to increase
its aid from the present 0.09 per cent of its GDP to 0.15 per cent
of GDP by 2012 and 0.25 per cent by 2015.
In 2011, Korea will host the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid
Effectiveness, where progress on global efforts to make aid more
effective in reducing poverty and promoting economic growth will be
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