UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi visits KOICA to discuss strengthening of cooperation



- President of KOICA Sohn, Hyuk-sang meets with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who visited KOICA headquarters to discuss measures to strengthen partnership

- The meeting was held as part of strategic cooperation to support refugees in developing countries and support Korean youths in pursuing careers at international organizations 

President Sohn, Hyuk-sang of KOICA, Korea’s representative development cooperation agency, met with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi to exchange views on the KOICA-UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) partnership on Nov. 11 at KOICA headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do.

At the meeting, KOICA shared the Korean government’s strategy for multilateral cooperation* and KOICA’s alignment with such aims in identifying projects for 2024, as a development cooperation implementing agency. KOICA plans to strengthen strategic cooperation with UNHCR, based on the UN agency’s expertise, in support for refugees. 

*Korea’s strategy for multilateral cooperation: ▲Strengthening youth’s digital capacities ▲ Systematically protecting vulnerable groups against all types of violence

The two sides also agreed to review measures to expand the dispatch of KMCO* to UNHCR, with the aim of allowing Korean youths to experience and develop careers at international organizations. KOICA anticipates many more Korean youths to become aware of the global refugee issue through the program.

*KMCO (KOICA Multilateral Cooperation Officer): KOICA’s program which dispatches officers to international organizations to strengthen global networks and foster global professionals in the development cooperation field. Forty-six Koreans are currently dispatched as KMCO to international organizations and their offices.  

The refugee issue can be a strain on neighboring countries as well, while most countries that receive refugees are developing countries. Due to a shortage of financial resources available for the support of refugees in developing countries, it becomes more difficult for refugees to become self-reliant. Regarding refugee-related projects, there is also a gap between the recipient country and the beneficiaries, which is why it is necessary for donor countries to cooperate with international organizations with expertise in refugee-related issues.

Beginning with the project to support Colombian refugees’ resettlement in 2014, KOICA and UNHCR have jointly implemented $46.5 million (around 52.5 billion won) in projects. Together with UNHCR, KOICA is implementing projects to support refugees, contribute to the social integration of countries that receive refugees, and provide support for refugees’ jobs and livelihood.  

The two sides expressed agreement on the need for international solidarity in solving the refugee crisis, a current issue in the international community.

“We are proud to call UNHCR, which has strived to solve refugee-related problems and protect the human rights of refugees, a key partner of KOICA,” said President Sohn, Hyuk-sang. “KOICA looks forward to continuing cooperation with UNHCR for vulnerable refugee groups in projects to improve the education environment of refugee children and adolescents and develop refugee camps in refugee-receiving countries.”  

“We thank KOICA, which is an important partner of UNHCR, for its continued support,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “We will actively cooperate with KOICA for measures to strengthen partnerships in multilateral projects and the KMCO program, and look forward to inclusive understanding and attention regarding refugee issues from the Korean people.”

KOICA is currently implementing 6 multilateral projects with UNHCR with a total budget of $30 million (33.9 billion won). KOICA is actively cooperating with other international organizations that possess expertise in sectors and a network of human resources.

Photo 1. President of KOICA Sohn, Hyuk-sang (right) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi meet at KOICA headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do on Nov. 11.

Photo 2. President of KOICA Sohn, Hyuk-sang and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi discuss issues of mutual interest at KOICA headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do on Nov. 11.