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High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness kicks off in Busan on November 29

Merely a half century ago, the city of Busan served as the main port for containers loaded with aid goods sent from across the globe. Today, the port city has grown into one of the world’s five largest logistics hubs in terms of cargo volume, due to the country’s miraculous economic growth over the decades, in which aid from the international society played a significant role.

From November 29 to December 1, Busan will turn into a platform for meaningful dialogue about the effectiveness of international development assistance, while identifying its challenges and future priorities. The fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness is set to take place in BEXCO under the slogan “Building New Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.”

The plenary session of the third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in 2008, in Accra, the capital city of Ghana (Photo courtesy of the HLF-4 organizing committee)

The Busan Metropolitan City has joined efforts with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to host the forum for its first run in Asia, following the inaugural event in Rome (2003), and of the follow-up forums held subsequently in Paris (2005) and Accra of Ghana (2008).

Nearly 2,500 professionals active in both the public and private sectors alongside experts from NGOs are expected to converge in Busan to provide vital input to the deliberations at the forum. Among the participants are United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria; President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) attend the International Donors' Conference Meeting towards a 'New Future for Haiti' at the UN Headquarters in March 2010 (Photo courtesy of the HLF-4 organizing committee).

President Lee Myung-bak is also set to attend the opening ceremony slated for November 30. The Korean leader will extend the nation’s unstinted commitment to development aid, underscoring Korea's transformation from aid recipient to donor to serve as an exemplary model in eradicating poverty and achieving economic development.

The forum starts on November 29 with a plenary session reviewing the progress since the Paris Declaration, followed by a series of thematic workshops on a wide range of topics from aid fragmentation and transparency to capacity development and public-private cooperation.

During the forum’s three-day run, discussion points will include implications on aid delivery and effectiveness associated with a paradigm shift derived from the rise of new economic powers, the outbreak of the global financial crisis which has overtaken traditional donor nations, and contributions from the private sector. The forum will address the impact of such a transition in aid allocation among regions and sectors leading to a rethinking of the pursuit of development cooperation.

An overview of the issues of gender equality and women’s empowerment emerged as a core subject of the fourth forum with a special session planned for November 30.

Another noteworthy outreach event will take place on December 1, right after the final plenary titled “Towards a New Consensus on Aid and Development.” During the luncheon session, heads of the delegation will participate in an in-depth discussion to achieve synergy between the Busan forum and the G20 in support of the successful implementation of the G20 Development Agenda, included as mainstream issues under the Korean presidency in 2010.

The event will not only assess existing partnerships but also explore opportunities for renewed visions and discuss the importance of the shifting paradigm.

The last day of the forum will draw an outcome of the three-day-long debates containing a comprehensive framework for all stakeholders, calling upon a concerted effort to realize the full potential of partnerships for Effective Development Cooperation.

For more information, please visit the official website at: www.aideffectiveness.org/busanhlf4 (Korean, English, French and Spanish) or Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/busanandbeyond.

By Hwang Dana
Korea.net Staff Writer

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