UNDP in the Republic of Korea – 1966 to 2009

BusanAs Korea developed, UNDP lent a helping hand. The city of Busan once hosted aid laden ships. It now boasts the world’s fifth largest port. UNDP trained personnel and supported the Government’s efforts to modernize it.

UNDP: supporting Korea’s development miracle

Korea’s rise from the rubble of the 1950-53 Korean War is a global development success story, a success story many developing countries wish to learn from.

For more than 40 years, UNDP supported the people and Government of Korea on their unique development path, providing over $100 million. 275 programmes were delivered across 20 areas such as industry, science and technology, agriculture and social development.

UNDP support included training personnel and supporting the Government’s efforts to modernize the Port of Busan, now the world’s fifth largest port. UNDP also supported the establishment of research and technology institutes that played critical roles in boosting economic growth, policy making and key industries.

Over the years UNDP worked on a range of other cutting edge initiatives in support of the Government’s development plans and priorities through capacity development, technical assistance and access to knowledge and policy support.

As Korea developed, the relationship changed. By the time the last Country Programme was completed in 2009, Korea was funding the vast majority of UNDP development support. The country had also begun providing technical assistance in developing countries through joint UNDP-Korea development programmes.

UNDP closed its Country Office in 2009 as Korea joined the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), affirming its status as a developed economy and a significant contributor of development aid.

The five-decade-partnership between Korea and UNDP is summarized in the book, The Republic of Korea and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), published in 2009 by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The book reviews and highlights the UNDP's activities and achievements in Korea’s development.

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