Busan forum backs sustainable growth
President Lee Myung-bak, center, walks with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, left, and Secretary General Angel Gurria of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to attend the opening ceremony of the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness at the BEXCO Convention Center in Busan, Wednesday. / Yonhap
By Park Si-soo
BUSAN ㅡ Policymakers from some 160 countries pledged Wednesday to work together for the “shared goal of poverty reduction and sustainable development” in a joint statement issued at an ongoing international forum on aid development in Busan.
Participants, including President Lee Myung-bak, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said in the statement that amid the quickly changing economic landscape, they will forge more “inclusive partnerships that embrace diversity, recognize the roles of all actors and broaden our perspective through multilateral learning.”
They also declared a new form of partnership which they believe will lay the foundation for strong, shared and sustainable growth.
“We stand united in our aspirations that the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness meets the ambitions and expectations of the global community, in our hope that poverty will be defeated in our lifetime,” the statement said. “This work could not be more urgent.”
It said the world has changed profoundly since development cooperation began roughly six decades ago and during the period of time new modalities and sources of development finance have emerged.
“To harness the opportunities and challenges presented by this new development landscape, we seek to forge more inclusive partnerships that embrace diversity, recognize the roles of all actors and broaden our perspective through mutual learning,” it said. “Under this new partnership, development cooperation should play a catalytic role in directing diverse resources, tools and technology in ways that support the priorities of developing countries and make development happen.”
The leaders also pledged to commit themselves to follow a list of action plans and principles aimed at maximizing effectiveness of aid development.
They said their investments and efforts “must have a lasting impact” on eradicating poverty and reducing inequality, on sustainable development, and on enhancing developing countries’ capacities.
To that end, they shared the view that partnerships for development can succeed only when they are led by developing countries, implementing approaches that are tailored to country-specific situations and needs.
“Openness, trust and mutual respect and learning lie at the core of effective partnerships,” they said in the statement. They also underscored the importance of each actor’s transparency and accountability, saying it was “critical to delivering results.”
Earlier in the day, President Lee called on advanced nations to make sure they carry out their aid commitments to developing nations.
“We are living in an era where various difficulties each nation faces cannot be resolved by any country alone but can be overcome when all of us living in the global community unite in strength,” he said during an opening speech for the high-level forum.
Lee took the 2008 global financial crisis as an example, saying that active policy coordination among advanced and developing nations led the world economy to pull itself out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“In that course, I was able to reconfirm that developing nations are not simply recipients of help, but important partners that we have to move forward hand-in-hand with for sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy,” he said. “I believe that in spite of the economic crisis, developed nations must keep their aid pledges.”
Korea will also make sure to implement its aid commitment, including a pledge to double the amount of its official development aid from this year over the next four years, despite a series of domestic difficulties the country faces, such as unemployment, Lee said.
The President highlighted the importance of education, saying Korea’s dramatic rise from the 1950-53 Korean War was possible because of the “power of education.”
He said that development aid should be used to strengthen the capacities of recipients to get on their own feet, and said Korea is “trying to become a true development partner while sharing our experience of success and failure.”
He also said democratization is another key to realizing sustainable development.
On the sidelines of the conference, Lee held a summit with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and also met bilaterally with Clinton, Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Secretary-General Angel Gurria of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.