S. Korea vows to back developing nations rural growth
2014-08-06 10:39:06

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea pledged Friday to support growth projects in developing nations based on its past experiences as part of efforts to effectively implement its overseas official development aid (ODA).

During the 18th meeting of the commission on the international development cooperation, the Seoul government decided to choose up to 10 countries and to launch the so-called "Saemaul Undong ODA" project modeled after South Koreas key development movement decades ago.

The former Park Chung-hee government led the campaign of Saemaul, or new community movement, in the 1970s to modernize rural areas through which it aimed to achieve self-reliance and boost overall economic growth.

Under the plan, Seoul plans to support developing countries with their efforts to improve living circumstances and to build capacity of each citizen to increase their income and to eradicate poverty, according to the Prime Ministers Secretariat.

"We will firstly come up with diverse customized projects for the chosen countries, and either send our officials and volunteers or invite them from the recipient nations to exchange opinions to draw practical and useful outcomes," said Kang Joo-hong, a Secretariats official in charge of the program.

"We will also continue to push small-scale basic projects for the well-being of the people in other developing countries," he added.

In a move to boost transparency of its overseas assistance and to provide more information on the overseas aid to the people here, the government decided to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), according to the Secretariat.

The IATI is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve the transparency of aid in order to increase its effectiveness in tackling poverty. It has over 37 members, including 22 international organizations, according to its website.

After marking a decision on when to join the entity in the first half of next year, the Seoul government is scheduled to officially announce its plan at the Post-2015 meeting due in New York in September 2015.

"The Saemaul movement can be a very effective model to tackle poverty in developing countries," Prime Minister Chung Hong-won said while presiding over the meeting.

"Key to success is to push the project in a way that delivers the philosophy of the campaign of self-reliance and is in accordance with each countrys circumstances," he added.

South Korea has sought diverse measures to return what it received from the international community to rebuild its war-torn economy decades ago.

For 2014, it earmarked a total of 2.27 trillion won (US$2.14 billion), or some 0.16 percent of the countrys gross national income (GNI), for its ODA, up from last years 2.04 trillion won, or 0.15 percent of the countrys total income.

With the help of international aid, the country has risen from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean War to become a vibrant democracy within the ranks of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  


14 March 2014