Policy Updates

Each week, Donor Tracker's team of country-based experts bring you the most important policy and funding news across issue areas in the form of Policy Updates.

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South Korea aims to expand ODA to US$10 billion by 2030

June 4, 2024 | South Korea, Climate, International development, Education, Global Health | Share this update

On June 4, 2024, South Korean President Suk Yeol Yoon announced to increase South Korea’s ODA to US$10 billion by 2030 as a catalyst for projects for cooperation with Africa at the 2024 Korea-Africa Summit.

The increase is double the level of South Korea's 2024 ODA budget. At the Korea-Africa Summit, a joint declaration was adopted to support e-government in Africa and proactively promote the KSP for Africa’s economic development and digital-based trade.

The joint declaration presented three priority areas:

  • Shared growth: expand ODA up to US$10 billion by 2030, provide US$14 billion in export financing to Korean companies, and share the lessons learned from the experience of concluding free trade agreements;
  • Sustainability: strengthen international cooperation to create a climate finance architecture responsive to Africa’s needs, advance cooperation for food security and sustainable agriculture, and establish primary healthcare infrastructure and leadership for critical mineral reserves; and
  • Solidarity: support counterterrorism efforts and continue efforts in providing humanitarian assistance, achieve irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and cultivate talented human resources through education and training.
Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs News article - Maeilbusiness (in Korean)

South Korea attends 4th International Conference on Small Island Developing States

May 27, 2024 | South Korea, International development, Climate | Share this update

On May 27, 2024, South Korean Special Representative for Indo-Pacific Keeyong Chung attended the 4th International Conference on SIDS in Antigua and Barbuda.

The conference is organized by the UN Secretariat to discuss issues related to the development of small island developing states. It is held every 10 years, beginning with the 1994 Barbados Conference.

Chung introduced South Korea's expansion of ODA to fulfill its role as a responsible member of the international community. He promoted customized support to SIDS to overcome structural vulnerabilities and improve resilience, reflecting the needs of each region, including Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean.

Chung also emphasized the need to diversify development finances and increase climate resilience to revitalize the economies of SIDS. The Antigua and Barbuda Agenda for Small Island Developing States was adopted at the conference to fulfill common goals in support of SIDS over 10 years.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)News article - Whynews (in Korean)

South Korea, Australia renew development cooperation MOU

March 5, 2024 | Australia, South Korea, Gender Equality, Climate | Share this update

On March 5, 2024, South Korea and Australia renewed their MOU on development cooperation since its first signing in 2019.

The renewed MOU outlined an institutional framework for cooperation on new bilateral development cooperation policies, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and sectors (gender equality, climate change, humanitarian assistance, etc.), and strengthening of cooperation mechanisms. In particular, the document set out guidelines for Director General level-biennial meetings of Development Cooperation Policy Council.

The updated agreement is expected to further strengthen cooperation between South Korea and Australia to contribute to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)News article - Sisamirae (in Korean)

KOICA, USAID announce comprehensive partnerships in India

February 20, 2024 | US, South Korea, Climate, Gender Equality | Share this update

On February 20, 2024, KOICA’s resident officer in India and USAID's India office signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen development cooperation partnerships in India, a key country in the South Korean government’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

The cooperation is intended to support the sustainable development of countries in the Indo-Pacific region through trilateral cooperation between India, the US, and South Korea. KOICA and USAIDare slated to cooperate in four sectors in India:

  • Women’s economic empowerment;
  • Disaster and climate resilience;
  • Digital literacy; and
  • Trilateral cooperation.

KOICA and USAID expressed the intention to explore new development projects in India and bolster joint projects between South Korea and the US. The two countries plan to develop a concrete cooperation plan for the empowerment of female social entrepreneurs in India to support the economic empowerment of women in India.

Press release - Korea International Cooperation Agency (in Korean)News article - Asia Business Daily (in Korean)

South Korea highlights tailored development cooperation

September 21, 2023 | South Korea, Climate, Education | Share this update

On September 21, 2023, South Korean President Suk-yeol Yoon stated in his keynote speech at the 78th UN General Assembly that South Korea will greatly expand its ODA budget and pursue tailored development cooperation with partner countries in the future.

The government has expanded the ODA budget for 2024 by more than 40% compared to 2023, despite 2023's fiscal austerity policy. The ODA 2024 budget will be twice as large as South Korea's 2019 ODA budget.

Yoon highlighted educational and climate ODA as partner priorities. He added the South Korea has a prominent role in reducing digital divide with partner countries given its notable ICT and technological capacity. South Korea will host the AI Global Forum in 2024.

News article - Newspim (in Korean)

South Korea doubles ODA budget for Pacific Island countries

May 30, 2023 | South Korea, Climate | Share this update

On May 29, 2023, President Suk-yeol Yoon hosted the 2023 Korea-Pacific Islands Summit in Seoul with Pacific Islands countries.

Participants discussed enhancing ongoing cooperation in line with South Korea's Indo-Pacific Strategy. They also adopted the 2023 Korea-Pacific Islands Leaders Declaration on a Partnership in Pursuit of Freedom, Peace and Prosperity for a Resilient Pacific. The declaration underscored comprehensive security cooperation in areas such as maritime, climate, energy, cyber, and health. It also highlighted South Korea's plan to double the ODA budget for Pacific Island countries to US$40 million (KRW53 billion) by 2027.

In addition, the summit organized special events addressing digital, forest, oceans and fisheries, and green growth. At the 2023 Korea International Cooperation Conference on Oceans and Fisheries, invited ministers and government officials announced a new plan for oceans and fisheries cooperation called the Korea-Ocean Economy Initiative.

Press release - Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (in Korean)News article - Kbsnews (in Korean)

South Korea confirms US$3.8 billion 2023 ODA budget

February 9, 2023 | South Korea, Global Health, Climate | Share this update

On February 9, 2023, the 44th Committee for International Development Cooperation finalized the 2023 ODA Implementation Plan, setting the 2023 ODA budget at US$3.8 billion (KRW4.8 trillion).

The allocation comprises an increase of 21.3% from 2022 ODA and a 5.1% increase from the 2023 budget proposal of US$3.6 billion (KRW4.6 trillion). The 2023 ODA budget is the largest ever in the past decade, reaffirming President Yoon Suk-yeol's commitment to making South Korea one of the world’s top 10 ODA donors.

Notable budget line increases included a 27.6% increase in humanitarian assistance to US$317 million (KRW403.6 billion) for strengthening responses to global crises such as conflict, climate change, and infectious diseases. Also, the government committed to doubling ODA to partner countries in Africa to US$850 million (KRW1.08 trillion) by 2030.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) (in Korean)News article - Yna (in Korean)

South Korea to increase 'green ODA' in response to climate crisis

January 19, 2023 | South Korea, Climate | Share this update

On January 19, 2023, President Yoon Suk-yeol shared that South Korea planned to increase support to partner countries via 'green ODA at the 2023 WEF Annual Meeting in Davos.

Green ODA refers to development cooperation in consideration of the environment to support mitigation and adaptation to respond to climate change. South Korea introduced green ODA in 2009 in conjunction with the national green growth strategy.

In December 2020, the 2050 carbon neutrality promotion strategy was announced and green ODA was highlighted. The South Korean Ministry of Environment plans to increase the ratio of green ODA by 2025, in accord with Yoon's announcement.

News article - Business Post (in Korean)

COP27 draft decision indicates progress, conflict on climate action priorities

November 17, 2022 | UK, South Korea, Canada, Japan, US, Netherlands, Australia, Germany, EUI, Norway, Global donor profile, Climate | Share this update

COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties (COP), completed its last thematic day on November 17, 2022, focusing on ‘solutions.’ As the conference entered the penultimate day of negotiations, the release of a draft agreement emphasized both progress to date and the enormity of the task ahead.

Key Statements & Discussions

Keeping with the day’s theme of actionable commitments to decarbonization and reducing global warming, Australia’s bid to host COP31 was met with mixed reception from world leaders. While many applauded the new government’s renewed commitment to climate change, they also suggested that the government would need to stop investing in fossil fuels before a bid would be approved.

As COP27 negotiations neared their scheduled end, a group of representatives from Canada, the EU, and the UK emphasized the need for concrete conference outcomes to the Egyptian Presidency. Delegates stressed that COP27 negotiations would need to produce coherent, actionable outcomes to be perceived as successful, and highlighted a variety of flaws and conflicts remaining in the current draft.

The draft decision in question was 20 pages long as of Thursday, containing many placeholders as negotiations on key issues continued. Tracking from Carbon Brief indicated that the length of the document, as well as the number of remaining issues, would lead to negotiations continuing beyond COP27’s scheduled end on November 18, 2022. While the G20’s support for the 1.5 degree Celsius target somewhat preempted negotiations on the topic at COP, there has been no resolution on major points such as funding for loss and damage and reforming climate finance architecture.

Key financial commitments

Pledges on ‘Solutions’ day primarily focused on sustainable transportation. The UK COP26 Presidency announced several new initiatives aimed at increasing the production and use of zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV), including a ‘Global Commitment,’ backed by the US, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, and the UK, which will provide finance for ZEV transitions in low- and middle-income countries. Specific details on funding flows and amounts were not provided.

Several other pledges from earlier in COP27 were also highlighted, including:

  • €1 billion (US$1 billion) from the EU, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark to support initiatives led by the African Union (AU) focusing on climate risk data, early warning systems, mobilizing finance, and disaster risk finance on November 16, 2022;
  • €60 million (US$62 million) from the EU to support loss and damages on November 16, 2022;
  • €40 million (US$41 million) from Germany to support the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Climate Action Window on November 16, 2022;
  • US$20 million for the World Food Program (WFP) through the World Bank from Germany and the UK on November 16, 2022; and
  • NOK 100 million (US$10 million) from Norway to support the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), on November 9, 2022.


COP27 is scheduled to conclude on Friday, November 18, 2022, but negotiations may extend into the following week.

News article - The GuardianNews article - ReutersNews article - The Guardian Press release - UK GovernmentSpeech - European Commission News article - African Development Bank GroupNews article - Reliefweb

South Korea commits to fighting climate change with technological innovation at COP27

November 8, 2022 | South Korea, Climate | Share this update

On November 7-8, 2022, South Korean Ambassador for Climate Change Kyung-won Na attended COP27, the UN Conference of the Parties’ (COP), in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt.
Na reaffirmed South Korea’s commitment to responding to global climate change with innovations in technology, in accord with the government's Global Pivotal State (GPS) foreign policy agenda. She also shared the South Korea's intent to maintain the previous government's 40% greenhouse gas reduction target.
Na elaborated on South Korea's plans for domestic energy transition, which prioritizes green and nuclear energy production. She also shared that South Korea will support the green transformation of low- and middle-income countries by sharing climate technology vis-a-vis 'green ODA' initiatives.

Press release - Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean) (in Korean)News article - News article – Yonhapnews (in Korean) (in Korean)






US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.

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