I am in Busan as part of the US Delegation to the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. We are meeting in the cavernous Bexco Convention Center, in a city that was heavily bombed 50 years ago and sustained with American humanitarian aid for the recovery years after the Korean War. It is now the 5th largest port globally and proudly hosting this conference with announcements that the Republic of Korea will meet its commitment to double Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) by 2015 as part of their repayment of kindness and support in their times of need.
While here, I am especially focused on three issue areas: democracy, rights and governance; fragile states, and disaster resilience, all of which are being highlighted here as vital to effective development. I am heartened by this new emphasis, stemming from an increased, collective realization that the MDGs cannot be realized without inclusive democratic governance, greater resilience to shocks and a pathway out of conflict and fragility for the bottom one and a half billion living in conflict affected states.
We know that nearly 30% of ODA is spent in fragile and conflict affected states and that these countries are the furthest from accomplishing MDGs. We have been actively working with a coalition of donors and self-proclaimed fragile states to develop a “New Deal” that provides a mutually accountable platform for helping these states climb out of fragility. Or, as colleague from South Sudan proclaimed, support their aspirations to move from fragility to agility.