Saemaul Initiative: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Communities

The Saemaul Udong initiative, or the New Village Movement, aims to update, integrate and scale up proven successful elements of the initiative and its application into an exemplary systematic approach and effective platform for development cooperation.

The expanded initiative is intended to:

(1) identify proven approaches and policy options for inclusive and sustainable local development, drawing on the expertise of Saemaul and other relevant solutions from development partners, including those from the South;

(2) achieve impact of the integrated local development approaches known as Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities at both the local and national policy levels through its application to an initial set of countries; and

(3) facilitate South-South and Triangular cooperation and knowledge exchange through support to centres of excellence to disseminate evidence-based results and experiences from the initial applications, with the aim of achieving impact at the regional and global levels.

Overall, this project will demonstrate how various development cooperation modalities, oversea development assistance, domestic resource mobilization, and South-South and Triangular cooperation can effectively complement each other in one development initiative and will provide substantive evidence to inform the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

Special High-Level Event

Localizing the SDGs Through New Rural Communities 

Sep 27, 2015

New York - During the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, more than 150 world leaders came together at the UN headquarters in New York to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda. This historic agenda will serve as the launch pad for action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for the next 15 years and beyond...more.


Event materials

Concept Note



Event videos

Watch the UN Webcast recording of the High-Level Session

Watch the UN Webcast recording of the Professional Session


Presentations and Speeches


Simona Marinescu, Director and Chief Development Impact Group, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP


Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD

- Carl Dahlman, Head of Thematic Division, OECD

Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre


President Lee Ju Young, of the Korean Parliamentary League on Children, Population and Environment(CPE) & the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarians’ Conference on Environment and Development(APPCED)

- KIM Young-mok, KOICA President 

-  Prof. Eun Mee Kim, Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies, Ewha Womans University of the Republic of Korea

Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University and Director of The Earth Institute 



Our Featured Video

High-level Event - Localizing the SDGs Through New Rural Communities, 26 September 2015


UNDP, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea and OECD, will convene a high-level event in New York entitled "A New Rural Development Paradigm and the Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities Model inspired by the Saemaul Undong" during the United Nations Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Citizens worldwide living in rural areas demand our attention in any discussion on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Though most countries will have larger urban than rural populations by 2050, rural populations will continue to face specific vulnerabilities and challenges with widespread ramifications for all. Any momentum toward more balanced and inclusive development as embodied in the SDGs cannot ignore rural communities. That is why promoting rural development continues to be a priority in the post-2015 agenda, giving us an opportunity to craft a new rural development paradigm.

In the spirit of leaving no one behind that is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda, citizens living in rural areas with their specific challenges demand particular consideration in order to become partners for development and beneficiaries of the progress.  

H.E. Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea, during this event, will highlight the importance of translating the SDGs into national agendas through learning and scaling-up successful rural and local development initiatives. This includes elements of the Saemaul Undong - a successful rural and local development model practiced in the Republic of Korea in the 1970s and later updated and adapted to various developing country contexts.

Learning from the Saemaul Undong initiative and other relevant rural development approaches in developing countries from Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, UNDP and the OECD will also share research findings and progress in advancing a New Rural Development Paradigm and an integrated local development approach – “Inclusive and Sustainable New Communities”. The event will also discuss the use of various development co-operation modalities, including South-South and Triangular cooperation, domestic resource mobilization, and community in-kind contributions – all of which complement ODA – to deliver development results at local level and benefit communities.

For more information, please contact and  

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