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South Korea to donate $200m in aid to poor countriesBy 정주원
Published : Sept. 27, 2015 - 11:11
President Park Geun-hye announced Saturday that South Korea will donate US$200 million in aid to poor countries as part of Seoul's efforts to boost contributions to sustainable development.
South Korea plans to launch the "Better Life for Girls" initiative next year to help provide quality education to girls and strengthen health services for them in 15 countries, including Nepal, Senegal and Bolivia over the next five years.
"Providing health care and education service to future generations, including girls, would be the most certain investment that could guarantee a sustainable future," Park said in a speech at the U.N. summit for sustainable development.
The initiative aims to tackle gender inequality in education and help girls in developing countries unlock their full potential.
Park also pledged that Seoul will shore up its support for education in developing countries, calling South Korea "a vivid testament to all that education can do."
"The establishment of vocational, polytechnic and high-tech institutes will be supported, so as to reinforce higher-quality education in developing countries," Park said at the high-level event of the Global Education First Initiative. "Scholarship programs that bring talented students to Korea will also be expanded."
She also said South Korea will send more teachers to countries that need them, and exchange its know-how and experience as part of its efforts to make sure everyone has fair access to quality education.
"South Korea is a vivid testament to all that education can do, to how much individual lives can be transformed, how far nations can go," Park said.
On Friday, member states of the U.N. adopted a new global agenda at the start of a three-day summit on sustainable development.
The new agenda commits every country to taking an array of actions that not only address the root causes of poverty but also increase economic growth and prosperity, and meet people's health, education and social needs, while protecting the environment, according to the U.N.
Park called on countries to implement goals of the agenda in good faith, describing it as "a grave promise" to future generations.
She also vowed to help developing countries develop their rural areas in cooperation with the U.N. Development Program and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a group of 34 mostly rich nations.
South Korea hopes to spread its rapid economic growth know-how, showcased in the "Saemaeul Movement," or new community movement, as a viable growth policy for underdeveloped countries, mostly in Southeast Asia and Africa.
The initiative -- launched by Park's father, then-President Park Chung-hee in the 1970s -- is credited with helping modernize the then-rural South Korean economy.
Park praised her late father for uprooting corruption from the bureaucracy and for demonstrating his vision and determination, which she said enabled the Saemaul Movement to achieve maximum synergy.
South Korea has became the first former aid recipient to join the ranks of official donors, in a dramatic rags-to-riches success story that has no parallel in recent history.
She also said the Saemaul Movement's model needs to be better tailored to the differing contexts of other countries.
"I very much hope to see a development paradigm inspired by the Saemaul Undong, help end poverty in our world and make development sustainable," Park said in a separate speech at the special high-level event on the Saemaul Movement. (Yonhap)
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