Ministry of Foreign Affairs, KOICA successfully hold 15th Seoul ODA International Conference
- As a global pivotal state, Korea seeks ways forward for ODA including the expansion of partnerships to solve development challenges
- Discussions held on new paradigm of global development cooperation following the rise of emerging donor countries
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) held the 15th Seoul ODA International Conference on Sept. 1 at The Shilla Seoul in a hybrid format.
*ODA: Official Development Assistance; government aid that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries (OECD)
The 15th Seoul ODA International Conference was held under the theme “Expanding Horizons for Global Development Partnership” to seek ways for Korea’s role as a global pivotal state and the direction of ODA, in addition to measures to expand inclusive partnerships in the face of transnational challenges.
Participants included President of KOICA Sohn Hyuk-sang, 2nd Vice Minister Lee Dohoon of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director-General Won Do-yeon of the Development Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vice President of KOICA Lee Yun-young (Management and Planning; Asia and Europe), and Vice President of KOICA Hong Seok-hwa (Development Strategy and Partnership; Africa, Middle East, Central and South America).
Opening remarks and welcoming remarks were delivered by President Sohn Hyuk-sang and 2nd Vice Minister Lee Dohoon, respectively. Secretary-General of the OECD Mathias Cormann and President of the Center for Global Development Masood Ahmed gave congratulatory remarks via video, while Executive Secretary of the UN ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana delivered a keynote speech via video. Presentations and discussions followed in four sessions: Global Pivotal State, Charting a New Path for Korea’s Development Cooperation in an era of Global Uncertainty; New Emerging Donors, Changing Landscape; Exchanging Knowledge, Embracing New Experiences; and Incorporating Diversity, Broadening Partnerships.
In his opening remarks, President of KOICA Sohn Hyuk-sang said, “Global threats such as the climate crisis, conflicts, and COVID-19 are rendering development problems increasingly complex. In order to respond effectively, it is important to not only expand development financing, but also include diverse development cooperation actors for a comprehensive and integrated approach.”
President Sohn noted in particular that emerging donor countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Türkiye, and Kazakhstan are strengthening regional cooperation by carrying out human capacity strengthening and development cooperation projects in neighboring developing countries. He added that Korea and KOICA will continue to strive to establish a new global development cooperation system that encompasses traditional and emerging donors.
Second Vice Minister Lee Dohoon of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Secretary-General Mathias Cormann of the OECD also offered words of congratulations through welcoming and congratulatory remarks, respectively.
Second Vice Minister Lee Dohoon said, “In this era of global crises, the concept of development cooperation is undergoing a major shift from a focus on closing the gap between donor and partner countries to inclusive international cooperation for the resolution of global challenges.” He added, “The challenges facing the international community call for diverse actors to cooperate in innovative ways within the iframework of multilateralism.”
Secretary-General Mathias Cormann of the OECD noted “Korea’s role as a global leader in development cooperation” and “remarkable growth and development from former recipient of Official Development Assistance to a major, highly successful, world-leading economy and contributor to Official Development Assistance.”
He added, “As a prominent actor and thought leader, Korea is exceptionally well-placed to contribute, and I look forward to continuing our work together,” and noted Korea’s support as a “valued member of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC).”
President Masood Ahmed of the Center for Global Development (CGD) said, “The global development landscape is seeing very rapid changes. … We live in a world defined by diseases, conflicts, and disasters, which have highlighted the fragility of our progress in fighting poverty, undoing some of the hard-won gains. This is a moment when we need global cooperation to respond to the shared challenges we face.”
In her keynote speech, Executive Secretary of UN ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said, “The Asia-Pacific region has witnessed significant progress over the past decades. Current global crises require transformation of policy measures at the country, regional and global levels.” She added that these issues are “too complex to be addressed by one country alone” and noted “the rise of middle-income countries willing to share their knowledge and expertise through their own assistance programs amid changing dynamics and development cooperation.”
The Executive Secretary also stated that “partnerships need to be broadened and diversified toward more integrated, innovative, and effective development cooperation for sustainable impact,” and remarked that “South-South cooperation has emerged as a key modality to solve transboundary issues.”
Presentations and discussions followed in four sessions: Global Pivotal State, Charting a New Path for Korea’s Development Cooperation in an era of Global Uncertainty; New Emerging Donors, Changing Landscape; Exchanging Knowledge, Embracing New Experiences; and Incorporating Diversity, Broadening Partnerships.
At the first session, moderated by Professor Kwak Jae-sung of the Graduate School of Pan-Pacific International Studies of Kyung Hee University, Director-General Won Do-yeon of the Development Cooperation Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke on Korea’s development cooperation policy under the current government, while Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support Haoliang Xu of the UNDP spoke on triangular cooperation and the role of Korea. Country Representative to Korea and Japan of USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) Heath Cosgrove spoke on the essential role of cooperation between the U.S.’ development policy and donors.
In the second session, moderated by Professor Kim Tae-kyoon of Seoul National University GSIS, Head of Programme for Inter- and Transnational Cooperation Stephan Klingebiel of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) spoke on the global role and direction of development cooperation; Xiaojun Grace Wang, on behalf of the Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) spoke on emerging donors and South-South cooperation; Director Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir of the Development Centre of the OECD spoke on the role of OECD as a platform amid growing global crises.
In the third session, moderated by Ganbold Baasanjav, Head of UNESCAP East and North-East Asia Office, Deputy Director-General Wattanawit Gajaseni of the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) spoke on the role of Thailand as an emerging donor. President Director Tormarbulang Lumbantobing of Indonesian AID spoke of Indonesia as a recipient and donor. Vice President Rahman Nurdun of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) discussed South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation. Chairman of the Executive Board Dastan Yeleukenov of the Kazakhstan Agency for International Development (KazAID) spoke on the Central Asia region and Kazakhstan as an emerging donor.
In the roundtable, presented by Rachael Calleja, Senior Research Associate at the Center for Global Development (CGD), speakers from sessions 1-3 spoke on in-depth cooperation for sustainable development.
Closing remarks were delivered by Vice President of KOICA Hong Seok-hwa.
The Seoul ODA International Conference is an annual platform that brings together various actors in international development cooperation including government, private sector, and academia to discuss the latest issues in development.
Photo 1. The 15th Seoul ODA International Conference is held on Sept. 1 at The Shilla Seoul.
Photo 2. President of KOICA Sohn Hyuk-sang delivers opening remarks at the 15th Seoul ODA International Conference on Sept. 1 at The Shilla Seoul.
Photo 3. Second Vice Minister Lee Dohoon of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs delivers congratulatory remarks at the 15th Seoul ODA International Conference on Sept. 1 at The Shilla Seoul.