ODA Watch statement to the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness


“Unbearable lightness of Busan Declaration”


“Donors and Korean government humbly accept their failures

and fully and immediately Implement their pledges ”  




1 DECEMBER, 2011, 16:00




We call on all donor governments to:

1. Fully and quickly implement commitments on increasing volume of ODA and promises made in the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action.

2. Not shift responsibility of the donor countries’ failure on the Least Developed Countries(LCDs), fragile states and developing countries

3. Stop further cuts in international aid and domestic welfare budget that strengthen the economic policies for poor and vulnerable groups

We call on Korean government to:

4. Set an example to implement immediate aid reform by solving ‘fragmented political and institutional commitments’ and act together to achieve internationally agreed goals

5. Establish inclusive and people-centered development policies for vulnerable population to tackle down domestic issues of growing inequality and polarization


1. Achievement and challenges of the HLF-4


ODA Watch values inclusion of various actors and the advanced agenda of different voices addressed in the HLF-4. We note that this is the historical moment building global partnership for development effectiveness. We note the major results of the Busan HLF-4 as below.

1)  Enlargement of participation of various development actors for effective development cooperation

2)   Building a foundation for new global partnership

3)   Promotion of participation and responsibility of civil society & private sector

4) Stressing the importance of equality, human rights, gender equality within shared principles


Even though Busan made meaningful efforts and results building for inclusive partnership, it still has much limitations and problems to be challenged in the future.

1)      Incomplete partnership because of interest among emerging donors such as BRICs

2)    Failure of specifying concrete objectives for implementation, indicators and action plan

3)      Replacing the development financing with private financing without implementation of commitments even reduced aid

4)      Shifting the responsibility of achieving development results to developing countries


We doubt world leaders gathering here are sincerely concerned with the real improvement of people’s lives which are vulnerable and marginalized around the world. Main donors countries showed that national selfishness and shortage of willingness to implement their commitments on the process of negotiating on Busan Outcome Document. They reached a very limited agreement considering emerging donors countries such as China and India, which letting them have differentiated responsibilities on common goals. Busan did not reach a common action plan and specific objectives for inclusive development were not created. Their actions did not fit their promises of dealing with unfinished business and the remaining challenges from Paris Declaration.


2. Growing Roles and significant contribution of Civil Society


We value the role of the Korean government’s active role and contribution to host a successful HLF-4. In particular, the Korean government has shown great leadership to include non-DAC members, CSOs, and business so that various actors can fulfill their common, but differentiated roles and responsibilities. Also, the Korean government played a critical role in shifting aid to the development paradigm. International societies currently pay great attention on the constructive partnership between the Korean government and Korean civil society in the international development arena. President LEE Myung-bak mentioned in his speech in the Opening Ceremony yesterday that not only economic development but also democratization is critical for a country’s sustainable development.


Korean civil society has contributed to host the successful forum based on inclusive and constructive relationship. Over 600 international and 30 Korean civil society representatives hosted the successful CSO forum and contributed in the process of developing an agenda and results. By doing this, the Korean civil society has played significant roles of representing the vulnerable population and their issues of human rights and gender equality in the HLF-4.


3. Challenges of Korean government and Necessity of Aid Reform


Despite the joint efforts made, the Korean government has shown a rather passive role in creating harmony and coherence in development policies of various government bodies in the preparation process of HLF-4.  Busan HLF-4 is shown as an event for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Lack of coordinating capacity between thirty ministries and public institutions that are shown in the HLF-4 is closely related to fragmentation of Korean aid policy. Although economic development and social development based on democratization and human-rights are mutually complementary, different ministries in Korea based on their own mandates failed to collectively address coherent development policies and objectives and these ‘chronic’ issues are shown in the HLF-4. Some of the most visible examples are those of the Ministry of Finance’s stance on issues of untying aid and its great emphasis on economic development of trade, growth and infrastructure, rather than holistic development approach.


4. Call for Institutional Will on Carrying Out the Reform


The Korean government currently faces challenging issues of credibility, and Korean development policies are not coherent with the domestic economic policies. At an international level, the government emphasizes inclusiveness that promotes reducing discrepancies between rich and poor and embracing vulnerable populations, while at a domestic scene, the government continues to implement pro conglomerate, and market oriented economic, social and educational policies.  If Korean government is willing take up a position as a credible and responsible ‘role model’ of development, as it has ambitiously stated, it needs to put its priorities in policy coherence.


It is noted with concern that the rising position of the Korean government in the international development area has been noted with concern. Thus, we the ODA Watch

-Take the responsibilities and duties that meet growing international recognition and expectation for Korea more seriously

-Set an example to implement immediate aid reform by solving ‘fragmented political and institutional commitments’ and act together to achieve internationally agreed goals

-To promptly implement aid policy reform in order to improve Korean aid quality, which is one of the lowest among many donors.

-To establish inclusive and people-centered development policies for vulnerable populations in order to tackle down domestic issues of growing inequality and thus, realize the inclusive welfare state.


It’s time for the Korean government to address the issues of inequality as the center of development. There is urgent need for improving quality of aid in order to address gender equality, reduce discrimination, and enhance transparency and accountability. The world will be watching whether Korea will fulfill its promises that go beyond diplomatic rhetoric.



ODA Watch is a Korean watchdog CSO, monitoring Korean development policy and programs.

We seek to development alternatives to make foundations for people-centered development.

For further information and inquiries,

please do not hesitate contact to

YUN Jiyoung, ODA Watch,odawatch@naver.com, +82 (0)10 3185 8225