About us

The UNDP Seoul Policy Centre for Global Development Partnerships is part of the United Nations’ global development and knowledge network. We advocate for change and connect countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build better lives.

The UNDP Seoul Policy Centre began its work in January 2011. It is the new form of cooperation between the Republic of Korea and UNDP to promote global development and knowledge for poverty reduction and sustainable human development, following almost five decades of successful joint work on Korea’s development.

The Centre:

  • Is a knowledge hub for cutting edge development research, policy dialogue, publications and knowledge sharing, in particular through South-South and triangular cooperation.
  • Builds bridges between Korea, new development partners and developing nations on key development issues and contributes to building capacity in developing countries.
  • Helps to capture and share Korea’s development experience with other countries.

Our Staff

Our Director

Balázs Horváth took up his post as Director of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre in June 2016.

Prior to joining the Centre, he served as the Country Director in UNDP's South Sudan Country Office since 2012. Prior to that, he worked in the Europe and CIS Regional Center of UNDP as Poverty Reduction Practice Leader, then as Acting Director. This followed 18 years in various positions in the International Monetary Fund. He has dealt with diverse aspects of economic policy and complex development situations, including poverty and inequality reduction, social programmes, global climate change, good governance and rule of law. He is an experienced leader with a strong analytical economic and development background and has a compelling record in management and resource mobilization. He was the lead author of flagship publications on Human Development, on MDGs and Sustainable Development, and well-received papers on the impact of global crises on human development, on the role of governance in development, and on the causes of South Sudan’s crisis. Balázs is Hungarian, speaks English, Russian and German, and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Our Policy Specialist

Artemy Izmestiev works on research, policy dialogue and sharing Korea’s development experience with developing countries to help their own efforts to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable human development through UNDP's networks.

Artemy has worked for UNDP for over eight years, supporting the coordination and management of development assistance in a number of countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and CIS and the Arab States. His previous posting was with UNDP in Tajikistan, where he served as aid coordination specialist. He has also worked with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning in Ghana on preparations for the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra in 2008. His work has focused on the development of aid policies, joint development assistance programmes and in promoting knowledge exchange for development results between developing countries.

Artemy has MA in Economics from Moscow State University and MA in European Studies from the Institute of European Studies “Alcide de Gasperi” in Rome, Italy.

Our Policy Specialist

Ahjung Lee works on various aspects of the Centre’s knowledge sharing work, including on the development and solidification of knowledge partnerships with key stakeholders in Korea and abroad. With her expertise on governance issues, she has worked for UNDP in different capacities for almost seven years, including for UNDP Indonesia Country Office and the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub before joining USPC.  

Outside of UNDP, Ahjung worked on research and policy analysis for effective development cooperation in Korean Government institutions; managed a training programme on the rights-based approach to development at a Korean NGO; and worked as a research consultant at the University of Oxford. She has edited and (co-)authored a number of publications and institutional reports. 

Ahjung holds a Master's Degree from the University of Oxford in the UK, and an Honours Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in Canada. She has lived and/or worked in Korea, Canada, Hong Kong, UK, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Our Policy Specialist

Sarwat Chowdhury works as Green Economy, Natural Capital and Productive Capacities Policy Specialist. Her portfolio covers a mix of global topics for the BPPS Sustainable Development Cluster, including the Partnership for Green Economy (PAGE) initiative, and USPC specific issues. She has worked on climate change and sustainable development for 15 years. Her previous portfolios at Vietnam and Bangladesh country offices included Green Economy, NAMA, INDCs, gender-environment, disaster management, climate adaptation and mitigation. As UN Rio+20 and SE4All focal point, she co-led joint Post 2015 Task force with Bangladesh government.

At UNDP NY, she focused on regional programming and was energy & environment focal point for Asia Pacific region. Also in NY, she worked with UNDP-GEF and Sustainable Energy Programme on various publications including 2010 Handbook for Technology Needs Assessment for Climate Change.

As former World Bank staff, she led 2000 Grey Cover report Bangladesh: Climate Change and Sustainable Development; authored WB studies on adaptation, NRM, ground water management. Previously, she managed Climate Change Dossier at SciDev, UK; conducted research at DfID, Grameen Bank, Greenpeace.

Sarwat has a PhD from University of Maryland, MA from Baylor University, BA in Economics from Berea College, USA. She has worked in Bangladesh, UK, USA, Vietnam and Zambia.

Our Communications Analyst

Hye-Jin Park is responsible for executing UNDP and the Seoul Policy Centre’s internal and external communications through a variety of knowledge dissemination and awareness-raising methods.

She comes with over ten years of global work experience, producing communication materials for multilateral institutions, foundations and research institutes. She has written for an array of channels including books, articles, policy reports, newsletters and press releases, and was directly involved in field projects in Indonesia, Brazil, Senegal, Tanzania and Nepal, among others. Previously, as programme officer at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Hye-Jin co-authored, produced and disseminated a number of policy publications; organized global policy outreach events engaging partners from governments, international organizations, civil society and research groups; and oversaw web content management and the production of outreach tools, all focusing on the field of international education development. Prior to her UN experiences, she also worked for the Korea Democracy Foundation, the Council on Security Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and the Asia-Europe Meeting.

Hye-Jin holds Master’s degrees from Duke University (USA) and Yonsei University (Korea) in international development and international relations, and has also studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (France) and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (USA).

Our Operations Associate

Heejung Kim, our operations associate, is responsible for leading and managing the overall administrative work in terms of finance, budget, contract and HR for the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre. She holds a B.A. in French and worked for the U.S. Embassy Seoul and multi-national companies as an Administrative Officer for 14 years with expertise in finance and contract management.

Our Logistics and Protocol Assistant

Joong Chul has worked for UNDP for over 22 years, both for the former UNDP Country Office and for the Seoul Policy Centre since its establishment in January 2011. He has also worked for the Malaysian and Brazilian embassies. In 1996 Joong Chul was awarded a plaque from the Minister of Science and Technology in recognition of his support for UNDP and the Government of the Republic of Korea.