30.11.2011 - ODG

High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness Highlights "Korean Miracle" and Calls on World to Do Better

Opening the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness on 30 November in Busan, President Lee stated that ‘the power of education’ lay behind the transformation of the Republic of Korea from a poverty-stricken nation destroyed by war into a donor country and a vibrant economy and democracy.

"Even when they did not have enough food to put on their tables, Korean parents sacrificed everything to educate their children," said the President. "These children grew up to lead the economic development of Korea. I believe that education is the key to the advancement of individuals, countries and the world….The Korean government effectively utilized the aid it received… These efforts contributed greatly to laying a strong foundation for sustainable growth."

Director-General Irina Bokova joined the United Nations delegation to the High-Level Forum, which gathers some 3,000 participants, including 100 ministers, forty heads of international organizations, parliamentarians, the business community and civil society. They share a single aspiration: to make aid work for development.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that "we are here to ensure that aid reaches the most vulnerable people," four years away from the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. He urged donors "not to let short term austerity deflect from long-term commitment to the world’s poorest people."

But Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD, warned that governments had fallen behind in their efforts to meet the targets of the Paris Declaration on aid effectiveness, and called for collective action. "Making aid more effective… can make a huge contribution in eradicating the curse of poverty," he said

Noting that official development assistance had declined over the past decades relative to overal capital flows, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed that "aid must serve as a catalyst to sustain progress," stating that "we can and must do better."

Throughout her visit to the Republic of Korea, the Director-General has commended the country’s remarkable transformation driven by investment in education, and its commitment to give back what it had received from external assistance. During the High-Level Forum, she participated in sessions on education, capacity development and knowledge sharing, and the impact of internationally agreed norms, goals and standards on aid effectiveness.

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