The following is a transcript from a lecture held on March 3 under the theme, “Korean Development Co-operation: the New Horizons” by Richard Carey, Director of the Development Co-operation Directorate (DAC) of the OECD.
I thought I would call my lecture today “New Horizons for Korean Development Assistance” for two reasons.
One is that Korea became a member of DAC last year. In 1960 Korea was poorer than most African countries. For most experts Korea was quite a hopeless case. But now of course you can see the transformation and that it can be possible. It is inspiring for countries who are in the beginning of the development process.
Of course, the process was much more complicated than it sounds. To come from being one of the poorest countries in 1960 to becoming a member of the donor community is a huge achievement. Now Korea will have a growing program of development assistance — it is going to be scaled up from 1 billion dollars to 3 billion dollars.
The second major event is that Korea is the chair of the G20, a very recent development which emerged in the situation of crisis. It is a very appropriate chairmanship to have one of the emerging powers to be in that role.
One of the distinguishing features of the OECD and DAC as international organizations is that it is dedicated to the process of “collective thinking.”
We do not have a lot of money to conduct programs for developing countries; the OECD is an organization with unities of policy makers from right across a whole spectrum of governments. We have 40 committees and each of these committees meet throughout the year to think together about the key policies of that area. Without that upstream process of thinking through issues and doing cross-national or comparative analyses of issues, the global society would not have a collective brain.
The DAC is the committee, the collective thinking for the aid and development process and how best donor countries can assist developing countries. Now, that collective brain sometimes fails. And we’ve just been through an economic crisis which one could call a collective failure of the world brain. But the collective brain is also needed to recover from the failure.
In the DAC, the key area for making aid work better is the area of “aid effectiveness.” We do have a set of networks on aid statistics, evaluations, effectiveness and an international network on contract and fragility which looks specifically on the issue on how to provide aid effectively in fragile states. We also have a network on governance which deals mainly with corrupts governments and peer-evaluations every 2-3 years.
For Korea to become a member, it went through a special review in 2008. Canada and Australia were examiners on Korea’s aid efforts. With another special review last year Korea did become a member. Our last new member was ten years ago and Korea is the first of what we call the emerging powers to become a member of DAC.
Korea will need to build up the capacity to manage a bigger aid program and build human resources to run programs in developing countries and to interact with other donors and other initiatives.
There is also a big question of Korea’s NGOs and what role will NGOs take in being a critic of the aid program which is very important; otherwise there is no control mechanism needed in the civil society.
There is also the question of mobilizing Korean expertise and how it can be employed in the aid programs. It is a very exciting challenge which will bring new opportunities and take Korea into a new role in the international society and aid effort. Korea is going to be the hope of the next high-level forum on aid effectiveness.
After the lecture, Carey said that the mission of DAC is to bring governments together to make aid work better.
“I believe very much in the power of collective thinking to identify good practice. This is what has driven me and my career for over 30 years,” said Carey. I would like to tell Ewha students that they also can make a difference. You never know.