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UNDP official: What is Korea’s secret in overcoming poverty in 1 generation?

UNDP official: What is Korea’s secret in overcoming poverty in 1 generation?

Posted October. 09, 2013 06:52,   


“Many developing countries are curious to know how Korea was able to overcome poverty and illiteracy in a matter of one generation (30 years). We will study the secret and spread it to developing countries.”

In an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo on Tuesday, UNDP Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan made the remarks on the reason her organization is paying attention to Korea’s Saemaeul (New Community) Movement. The UNDP signed on September 27 a memorandum of understanding on collaboration with the Foreign Affairs Ministry in New York, where the U.N. General Assembly took place, and agreed to develop the Saemaeul Movement into a flagship model for rural development projects in the international community.

Rural development and narrowing the gap between urban and rural communities is the area that is lagging behind the most among the tasks for the eight-point Millennium Development Goals” as set by the U.N. As developing countries made a flurry of requests to transfer experience from Korea’s rural development, the UNDP accepted their demand and signed the agreement with Korea.

Grynspan, former Vice President of Costa Rica, is visiting Korea to attend the “Seoul Post-2015 Conference,” an event aimed at setting up next-generation, international development goals to replace the MDGs that will terminate in 2015. “Korea is the first country that transformed from an aid recipient to a donor,” Grynspan said. “If Korea can ‘clone’ this experience in other developing countries, it will contribute to sustainable development.”

On her organization’s humanitarian aid to North Korea, Grynspan said, “Although (the aid) is relatively small, we have difficulties mobilizing the resources needed to assist the North, and we have growing difficulties due to international sanctions against the North. I hope that related countries such as the Republic of Korea (South Korea) will contribute to our funding.”

“UNDP has interest in maternal and child health, and environmental issues such as forestation,” Grynspan said. “Since we are helping North Korean people, not the Pyongyang government, I urge the international community to pay attention to providing humanitarian aid to North Korea.”