The development of the Republic of Korea is one of the most successful stories in the history of international development. From 1945 to the late 1990s, Korea received USD 12 billion in foreign assistance and effectively used it as a catalyst for development.
As the first Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member emerging from the ranks of the least developed countries (LDCs), the Republic of Korea attaches great importance to development as part of the nation’s grand vision of a "Global Korea."
As a recipient-turned-donor, the Republic of Korea is fully committed to supporting the global efforts to alleviate poverty, promote sustainable growth, address global challenges, and achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In 2012, Korea's ODA amounted to USD 1,597.5 million (net disbursement). Korea’s development assistance was comprised of USD 1183.2 million in bilateral aid and USD 414.3 million in multilateral aid.
Grants amounting to USD 714.9 million and USD 468.3 million in loans represented 60.4% and 39.6% of the bilateral aid respectively. The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), a leading implementing agency of grant aid, provided USD 444.5 million in the same year.
Since its accession to the DAC in 2010, Korea has actively participated in the global discussions on international development cooperation. In 2010, Korea took the lead in adopting the “Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth” and its “Multi-Year Action Plan on Development” during the G20 Seoul Summit. The G20 development agenda is tailored to help developing countries build capacity in key areas toward sustainable and inclusive economic growth. In 2011, assuming co-Chairs of the G20 Development Working Group, Korea played a leading role in implementing the G20 development agenda. At the Cannes Summit, the G20 identified major bottlenecks to development in developing countries and provided solutions in key pillars including 'infrastructure' and 'food security.'
In 2011, Korea hosted the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4). The HLF-4 served as an opportunity for the international community to forge a new and inclusive global development partnership which would embrace new actors and focus on more results-oriented and partner country-driven development cooperation. As the host country of the HLF-4, Korea played a key role in shaping the agenda and providing logistical support for the success of the forum.
Although Korea's ODA volume still remains modest, the Korean government is fully committed to fulfilling the pledge to triple its ODA volume to USD 3 billion or 0.25% of its GNI by 2015. Korea is also endeavoring to improve the quality of development assistance by undertaking fundamental reforms in the ODA system including increasing the share of untied aid.
In 2010, the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation went into effect. The act lays out the principles, objectives and coordination mechanism of Korea's ODA. In October 2010, the Committee for International Development Cooperation (CIDC), a coordinating body chaired by the Korean Prime Minister which decides on key policies and plans of Korea's development assistance, adopted the "Strategic Plan for International Development Cooperation." The plan outlined key strategies and plans to strengthen Korea's capacity as a genuine development partner. Three core pillars of strategies included systematically documenting the development contents of successes and failures derived from Korea's development experience, strengthening ODA implementing capacities, and taking a proactive role in addressing global issues.
Making the best use of its unique development experience, the Republic of Korea will exert every effort to make meaningful contributions to the international community by playing a bridging role between developing and developed countries.