Photo credit: DiasporaEngager (www.DiasporaEngager.com).

Seoul, Republic of Korea – Civil society organisations in Republic of Korea (ROK) have long played a vital role in the field of humanitarian aid to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) accumulating valuable expertise over the years. However, diverse challenges have emerged due not only to strained inter-Korean relations, but also to various international sanctions imposed on DPRK in the last decade.

In order to bolster the engagement of ROK CSOs in international dialogues on humanitarian aid to DPRK, IOM ROK and the Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea (KNCCK) jointly hosted the ‘Seminar and Workshop on Humanitarian Assistance to DPRK and Engagement of ROK Civil Society’ on 1 to 2 April 2021.

The seminar sought to share the latest updates on humanitarian assistance to DPRK provided by various international actors and explore the possible pathways for ROK CSOs to go beyond existing restrictions through strengthened international coordination and active partnership. Experts from domestic and organizations shared their knowledge and experiences to  international promote the understanding of the needs and priorities of humanitarian aid to DPRK and to foster the strengthened foundation to overcome current challenges and move forward.

“IOM is dedicated to facilitating stronger global partnerships for ROK CSOs, not only to raise their capacity in ROK but also to make use of their accumulated expertise in raising capacity of CSOs in other countries,” said IOM ROK Chief of Mission, Steve Hamilton. “We hope that we will lend support to organizations providing assistance in DPRK and closer collaboration in a forum such as this, provides a strong base for expansion of humanitarian assistance to DPRK.” He added.

The first day started with a session on international aid to DPRK within the global development and humanitarian cooperation frameworks. Information sharing and peer-to-peer learning sessions were organized afterwards to facilitate discussions on strategies adopted for humanitarian assistance to DPRK. Participants were encouraged to discuss on ways forward for the ROK CSOs to deliver principled and uninterrupted humanitarian aid to DPRK based on their comparative advantages and accumulated experiences from the past.

On day two, the working-level workshop on the engagement of the ROK civil society in international humanitarian assistance to DPRK was organized as a back-to-back event to the seminar held on the day one. The workshop was designed to provide participants with the socioeconomic situation in DPRK and further discuss practical steps and ways for ROK CSOs to overcome existing challenges and increase their contribution to DPRK humanitarian aid.

The seminar and workshop were attended by 27 practitioners from ROK NGOs engaged in humanitarian assistance to DPRK. Considering the sensitivity of the topic, the first day’s program was a closed-door session. Due to cross-border travel restrictions posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the workshop combined online live lectures by the foreign experts combined with on-site lectures and discussions.

Since 2015, IOM ROK has been providing capacity-building support for ROK humanitarian actors with financial support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The seminar and workshop were organized as part of this capacity-building support program.

For more information, please contact Eunice Jieun KIM, IOM Republic of Korea Mission, Tel.: +82 70 4820 0291, Email: [email protected]

Source of original article: International Organization for Migration (www.iom.int).
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