Innovative Responses to COVID-19: Concrete Examples from Korea

April 24, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic became a huge global challenge that goes far beyond the public health sector. It is important to share some of the early experiences, best practices and lessons learnt. Therefore, UNDP is offering a comprehensive “prepare, respond and recover” approach in dealing with the pandemic.

The Republic of Korea is well known for its policy innovations in the current situation. Since the breakout of COVID-19 in the country on 22 January 2020, the Government and public institutions have been introducing various innovative measures in response. In this webinar series, the UNDP Seoul Policy Center (USPC) shared concrete examples from ROK with public officials with hands-on experiences. The meetings provided examples to spark creative ideas for UNDP practitioners (especially in country offices) and country partners, with the aim of contributing to UNDP’s global efforts to help countries prepare for, respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

(1) First Webinar: How Can the National Police Service Respond to COVID-19: Example of the Korean National Police Agency (Monday, 27 April 2020 at 21:30-22:15pm Seoul time)

The Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) is the leading law enforcement agency in the Republic of Korea (ROK) responsible for protecting people’s lives, health, and properties as well as maintaining public safety and order. In response to COVID-19, the KNPA concentrates all resources on its core tasks: namely strengthening law and order with proactive crime prevention; providing police enforcement to the Government’s disease prevention and control; investigating and countering illegal activities generated from social disorder; and protecting essential public facilities. This webinar shares how the KNPA has quickly taken a systematic approach to COVID-19 in close coordination with relevant government bodies; and thereby serves as a concrete example of how the national police forces can respond to COVID-19.

Related resources:

·       Webinar recording

·       Presentation by Mr. Yong-Jong KIM, Senior Superintendent, Director of Crisis Management Center, KNPA

·       Related resource: Korean National Police Agency, “Policing under and against COVID-19”

·       Questions & Answers

·       Media coverage

(2) Second Webinar: Critical Role of the Local Government in Tackling COVID-19: Example of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (Monday, 4 May 2020 at 17:00-17:45pm Seoul time)

The importance of local governance in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is well known. On COVID-19, the role of local governments is also critical, in terms of delivering the necessary information and services to citizens as well as piloting innovative policies for national-level scale up. In the capital city of Seoul, where some one quarter of the country’s population resides, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has introduced rigorous measures to release the public information, engage the citizens, conduct testing in multiple channels, take care of confirmed patients, and deliver various socio-economic services, in close coordination with the national government and relevant public and private institutions. This webinar presents four concrete measures: public information website, creative testing facilities (i.e. drive-thru and walk-thru), living and treatment support center for less severe cases, and citizen engagement campaign. Seoul’s experience would be relevant not only to other metropolitan cities but to all levels of government.

Related resources:

·       Webinar recording

·       Presentation by Dr. Baeg-ju Na, Director-General of Civil Health Bureau, Seoul Metropolitan Government

·       Related resource: Seoul Metropolitan Government, “Seoul’s Fight Against COVID-19”

·       Questions & Answers

(3) Third Webinar: Creative Response of the Anti-Corruption & Public Complaint Handling Institution: Example of the Korean Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (Wednesday, 13 May 2020 at 21:30-22:15pm Seoul time)

In an emergency situation like COVID-19, it is easy for national anti-corruption and public complaint handling agencies to be excluded in key government responses. Yet, it is critical to ensure an effective feeding mechanism for COVID-19 related public complaints into the government’s decision-making processes. Also, equally important is the earlier efforts to prevent corruption in the public service delivery through provision of concrete guidance to relevant government ministries and institutions. In this context, this webinar presents how the Korean Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) has utilized its online government portal to receive and channel more than 52,000 COVID-19 related petitions within 2 months since the outbreak. ACRC analysed and channeled these petitions to relevant administrative agencies, which took necessary measures accordingly. Based on ACRC's own struggle and lessons learned, the webinar also shares concrete ideas from Korea as to key actions anti-corruption agencies can undertake to help prevent corruption in COVID-19 responses, including a “check-list” to be provided to relevant national ministries and public agencies. The presenter will also share insights on how to effectively channel public petitions and corruption-prevention measures in times of crisis.

·       Webinar recording

·       Presentation by Mr. Jungoh Son, Anti-Corruption Policy Advisor, UNDP (ACRC Secondee)

·       Questions & Answers

·       Related resources:

-        ACRC, “Handbook for the Corruption Impact Assessment

-        ACRC, “Handbook of the improper Solicitation and Graft Act

-        ACRC, “Taking a Big Stride Forward on Transparency & Civil Rights

-        USPC & ACRC “Introduction to Korea’s Anti-Corruption Initiative Assessment

Read the consolidated summary in

English and Korean.