United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Institutionalization and implementation of Government-CSO partnership to effectively fulfill and achieve SDGs

KCOC(Korean NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation) (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    The SDGs are a promise made by countries all over the world for sustainable development. The goal also emphasizes the participation and cooperation of various stakeholders, not only governments but also international organizations, civil society, and businesses, not just governments. Korean civil society organizations have participated in the 'Beyond 2015' with the global civil society alliance since 2010, and have tried to make Korean citizens interested in common international agenda such as climate change, poverty, inequality, etc. However, the government's recognition of the role and activities of civil society in the field of international development cooperation in Korea is very limited. In the Framework Act on International Development Cooperation (Framework Act) and its related policy documents, civil society has been recognized as an actor to be supported rather than as a cooperative partner. Besides, the ratio of total ODA through CSOs stood at an average of 2%, which is far below the OECD DAC average (13%). Therefore, Korean civil society recognized the partnership between the government and civil society as a very important agenda in implementing and achieving SDGs and believed that it was important to institutionalize the government-civil partnership so that civil society's participation in international development cooperation activities can be further expanded. Through this process, the institutionalization of government-civil society partnership not only expands the civil space in the developing countries, creates an enabling environment for civil society activities, but also allows civil society to officially participate in the accountability mechanism, Therefore, KCOC has planned this multi-year institutionalization of the government-civil society partnership.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    1. Institutionalization Phase 1 (2017) - Objective: To urge the need for the PARTNERSHIP - Activity: 1) Korea's policies on international development cooperation have been influenced by OECD Development Assistance Committee(DAC)'s policy advice, and 2017 was a time when Korea received OECD DAC peer review. In response, the Korean civil society prepared a civil society report on the evaluation of the government's policy and implementation of international development cooperation. 2) The Korean civil society delivered the civil society report to the OECD DAC and the Korean government and formed a consensus on the need for the PARTNERSHIP. In particular, the Korean civil society emphasized that the Korean government should recognize civil society as a partner, create an enabling environment, and expand their cooperation. 2. Institutionalization Phase 2 (2018-2019) - OBJECTIVE: Establishing an institutionalization of a PARTNERSHIP - Activity: 1) The Korean government has accepted the recommendation of the OECD DAC Peer Review and decided to establish a PARTNERSHIP policy framework (the 31st of the Committee for International Development Cooperation(CIDC) in 2018) 2) The government-civil society has prepared a Policy Framework for Partnership in international Development Cooperation in 2019 in the field of international development cooperation based on six months of mutual discussion and agreement. 3. Institutionalization Phase 3 (2020) - Objective: To create specific implementation tasks for the PARTNERSHIP and to ensure sustainability - Activity: 1) Government-Civil Society has reached 31 implementation tasks through one year of mutual discussion and agreement on January 2021. 2) Civil society required the government to create a policy foundation for continuous implementation of the PARTNERSHIP over the next five years, including government-civil society partnerships, in its five-year master plan for international development cooperation. 2) Civil society requires the government to establish a policy foundation for continuous implementation of the PARTNERSHIP over the next five years by including the PARTNERSHIP in the 3rd Mid-Term Strategy for Development Cooperation(2021-2025). 3) The government and civil society decided to hold a government-civil society policy meeting twice a year and monitor the degree of implementation of the PARTNERSHIP. 4. Institutionalization and monitoring Phase 4 (2021-2025) - Objective: To monitor and improve the degree of the PARTNERSHIP - Activity: 1) To organize a civil society monitoring working group on PARTNERSHIP and to prepare and share a civil society monitoring report. 2) To submit the monitoring results in the 2021 Korean Civil Society Contribution Report for HLPF.


    1. The institutionalization of PARTNERSHIP contributes to the implementation and achievement of SDGs in the following areas: 1) Securing institutional mechanisms for civil society to participate and contribute to the implementation and achievement of SDGs 2) Securing institutional justification for civil society to monitor transparency and accountability in the government's international development cooperation activities 2. Detailed results for each phase are as follows: 1) Institutionalization phase 1 (2017) - Results: a) the importance of civil society's participation in the implementation of Korea's international development cooperation activities and SDGs, and the need for PARTNERSHIP, and civil society's assessment and its opinion on Korea's international development cooperation activities; ※ OECD DAC Peer Review 2017: Korean Civil Society Report(English) http://www.ngokcoc.or.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=paper01&wr_id=116&&sfl=… b) As a result, the OECD DAC included a recommendation for PARTNERSHIP. ※ 2018 DAC peer review recommendation No. 12 (p22): "Korea’s government should clarify and deepen the partnerships it seeks with civil society through a normative framework acknowledging the different roles of civil society, including as an implementing partner and as an independent development actor in its own right") https://www.oecd.org/korea/oecd-development-co-operation-peer-reviews-k… 2) Institutionalization Phase 2 (2018-2019) - Results: a) Korean Government's approval of institutionalization of PARTNERSHIP; The 32nd National Development Committee documents - including civil society partnerships in OECD DAC follow-up documents (Korean) https://www.odakorea.go.kr/hz.blltn2.ODACmtRsltSlPL2.do?brd_seq=24&bllt… Partnership Results Document http://www.ngokcoc.or.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=paper01&wr_id=160&&page… 3) Institutionalization Phase 3 (2020) - Results: a) Government's five-year Mid-Term Strategy for Development Cooperation(2021-2025) for sustainability includes PARTNERSHIP(Korean) https://www.odakorea.go.kr/zz/pdf/plan/plan210120.pdf b) Establishment of regular government-civil society policy meeting twice a year(Korean) https://www.odakorea.go.kr/mz.blltn.PolicySl.do?brd_seq=34&bltn_seq=528… c) The 31 implementation tasks through mutual discussion and agreement between the government and the civil society; (Same as b) 4) Institutionalization and monitoring Phase 4 (2021-2025) - Result: 1) Government-Civil Society Policy meeting (twice a year) to examine the progress of implementation tasks (scheduled from the second half of 2021) ※ After establishing implementation tasks, the Korea International Cooperation Agency(KOICA), an ODA agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea, introduced AND establishment the implementation and a monitoring plan in the meeting with civil society

    Enabling factors and constraints

    We believe that the international community's support for civil society partnerships and the government's commitment to institutionalizing PARTNERSHIP as well as continuous advocacy efforts of our civil society are enabling factors. However, in the process of institutionalizing PARTNERSHIP, three points have not been agreed upon due to differences between the government and civil society's perspectives. 1) The expansion of the government-citizen social cooperation budget - Korean civil society requested to target the ratio of PARTNERSHIP budget at least 6% of expansion from current 2%, just half ratio of OECD DAC donor countries, but the government ended up missing to specify a specific rate. 2) Expanding the scope of public disclosure of information to enhance transparency and accountability - The government is sticking to its current position that it partially discloses information on international development cooperation. 3) Cooperation for the application of safeguard policy obligations and implementation - The government's safeguard policy varies by ministries or government agencies participating in international development cooperation activities. The civil society demanded the establishment of a complaints mechanism from on-site residents in developing countries, but the government has not accepted it yet. Therefore, there is still a gap between the implementation of our government and the demands of civil society, so this remains a limitation.

    Sustainability and replicability

    This PARTNERSHIP has been included in the 3rd Mid-Term Strategy for Development Cooperation and has secured the continuity of the partnership implementation for 5 years. KCOC continues to make efforts to share in various floors** so that other civil society organizations can refer to Korea's experience in the process of institutionalizing PARTNERSHIP. *2019 & 2020 HLPF side Event, Korea-Japan Civil Society Forum, 2021 Forus** Meeting, etc. ** Forus is a vibrant global network of National NGO Platforms and Regional Coalitions making a major collective contribution to development, peace, democracy, sustainability, and justice. -2020 UN HLPF side event (English) https://youtu.be/oQHakSAZZFw

    Other sources of information

    See links already shared above. Other additional links are as below; 2017~2020 Korean Civil Society Contribution Report for HLPF(English) 2017: https://sdgforum.org/13?category=735548 2018: https://sdgforum.org/55?category=735548 2019: https://sdgforum.org/104?category=735548 2020: https://sdgforum.org/131?category=735548 http://sdghelpdesk.unescap.org/e-library/korean-civil-society-contribut… Press Release on KCOC Appeal(Korean) https://search.naver.com/search.naver?where=news&query=kcoc&sm=tab_opt&…

    COVID-19 Impact

    KCOC has issued two times of appeals for the joint efforts of the international community to support developing countries related to COVID-19. The first appeal issued on April 8, 2020, requested close cooperation through the establishment of a consultative body between the government and civil society and a special fund for humanitarian assistance and rapid response. On May 28, 2020, KCOC announced in its second appeal that its member organizations planned to provide 60 billion won to vulnerable people in 64 countries facing the immediate danger of life and survival with Covid-19. Besides, we proposed the need for cooperation with governments, businesses, and private fundraising agencies in response to these civil society activities. As a result of these efforts, KOICA provided 10 billion won in additional funds for the Covid-19 Support Project for Developing Countries through Civil Society Cooperation. 51 civil society organizations have been supporting health and medical vulnerable countries in 30 countries, strengthening infectious disease management capabilities and strengthening global solidarity using Korean experience. This project will be closed by December 2021. This program was an unprecedented special budget, which was also the result of the institutionalization of PARTNERSHIP, so we expect a lot of interest in the outcome of this project. *the 1st appeal of KCOC (English) http://www.ngokcoc.or.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=covid01&wr_id=1098&&pag… *The 2nd appeal of KCOC (Korean) http://www.ngokcoc.or.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=covid01&wr_id=1156&&gr_…

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    17 April 2017 (start date)
    31 December 2025 (date of completion)
    KCOC (Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation)
    Other beneficiaries

    More than 150 civil society organizations, including KCOC's member organizations and KoFID, an advocacy network of Korean civil society organizations. - Institutionalization Phase 1: organizations participating in the preparation of the Korean civil society report: # of 10 - Institutionalization Phase 2: Organizations participating in policy document preparation: # of 13 - Institutionalization Phase 3: Organizations participating in preparing documents for implementation tasks: # of 5 - Institutionalization Phase 4: Monitoring team will be formed during March of this year. Government : Office for Government Policy Coordination of Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Mistry of Foreign Affairs, EDCF(Economic Development Cooperation Fund), KOICA(Korea International Cooperation Agency)

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    Republic of Korea
    Republic of Korea
    Contact Information

    Sangpill, Manager