South Korea will focus on seeking inclusive growth of fragile countries and innovative partnerships with the private sector as Seoul joins the international community's implementation of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, a vice foreign minister said Wednesday.
"The ratio of people living in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 per day vis-a-vis the overall population of the globe fell from 36 percent in 1990 to 12 percent in 2015," Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul said during the 10th Seoul ODA International Conference in Seoul.
"However, the progress has been uneven across countries, regions and social classes, and problems still persist, such as climate change, gender inequality, and the gap between the rich and the poor within and among countries," Cho said, referring to challenges the international community is facing in the global development front.
Last year, the United Nations adopted a new set of agenda items for global development -- the Sustainable Development Goals -- for the period of 2016-2030.
"We need to increase our support for fragile states and vulnerable groups to achieve inclusive growth across the globe,"
Cho said, pointing to the fact that the recent progress in poverty eradication has failed to trickle down to the most vulnerable nations.
The awareness of inclusiveness was at the core when South Korea launched the Better Life for Girls Initiative, Cho said, introducing the country's assistance program to support girls in developing countries.
"Under this initiative, the Korean government will allocate $200 million for the next five years to provide wider education opportunities for girls in developing countries, build a girls-friendly health and hygiene environment, and support efforts of the local communities to promote gender awareness," Cho said.
"We believe that providing quality education for girls in developing countries is the best investment for securing a sustainable future."
Innovative partnerships with the private sector is also important in securing financing for the successful implementation of the SDGs, the vice foreign minister said.
He noted that global official development assistance in 2015 amounted to only $132 billion, while financial resources needed to achieve the SDGs is estimated at $3.3 to $4.5 trillion.
"Therefore, an innovative approach that goes beyond business as usual is critical," he said.
In a partnership with South Korea's national ODA agency KOICA, local conglomerate CJ Group planted chili peppers in Vietnamese farms, helping raise up the income of Vietnamese villagers, Cho said this tie-up is an example of a partnership with the private sector.
"Such partnerships will not only create value for the companies but also contribute to improving the economic and social environment of their partner developing countries," he added.
"Above all, a governmentwide, integrated approach is necessary to ensure that the policies of all government agencies are well-coordinated to contribute to the implementation of the SDGs," he stressed.
The two-day ODA conference kicked off in Seoul on Wednesday under the motto "Looking Back and Moving Forward," to gather together global leaders, experts and civil groups to share visions and experiences on global development. (Yonhap)