Strategic framework for cooperation between the United Nations and the Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 2017-2021

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This UN Strategic Framework (UNSF) sets out the agreed priorities for the UN's country-level work in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the five year period 2017-2021. It replaces the previous framework, which covered the period 2011-2016. It has been agreed and co-signed by both the Government and the UN's Country Team, led by the Resident Coordinator. All parties have committed to implementing the provisions of the Strategic Framework in good faith.

The objective of the UN's work in DPR Korea is to support and reinforce national efforts to improve the well-being of the people, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable groups. The UNSF should be viewed as a framework to guide the UN's work, not as a programme as such; more detailed programmes will be formulated by the individual agencies of the United Nations system, especially those resident in the country (FAO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO). The Framework should also be seen as an agreement between the UN and the Government on what should be done through joint efforts; ability to implement will depend on support from both the Government and the international community. It has been prepared with a keen appreciation for the larger geopolitical, as well as the national context within which the UN must work, and of the constraints which result.

The essence of the UN’s work in the DPRK is not principally about resource transfer but about sharing and transferring international principles and values, standards and know-how. The Strategic Framework has therefore applied a generic six part model of the UN's country-level work (Page 11) to the DPR Korean context. It embodies a comprehensive view of the UN's work in the country, encompassing the work of both resident UN agencies as well as non-resident specialised agencies, and it adopts a holistic approach, integrating humanitarian considerations with longer term development. In this it takes the view that, while short-term humanitarian needs should always be addressed, the best long-term strategy for reducing such need, i.e. increasing the resilience of the population, is to strengthen national development capacity. Bearing all these considerations in mind, the UNSF identifies four strategic priorities, which the UN will seek to address at the country level, working in support of Government programmes:

  1. Food and Nutrition Security
  2. Social Development Services
  3. Resilience and Sustainability
  4. Data and Development Management

The document summarises the current situation in each of these thematic priorities, as well as the UN's approach. It further identifies a series of fourteen national outcomes to which the UN will contribute. These are summarised in Annex 1.

In addressing these four strategic priorities in collaboration with the Government, the UN will apply a number of cross-cutting approaches throughout its work: it will seek to localise the new Sustainable Development Goals, to accord with the specific situation in DPR Korea; it will apply a human rights-based approach, which puts people at the centre, throughout its programmes; it will support the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women; it will pursue both environmental sustainability as well as institutional sustainability; it will seek to increase the resilience of the people of DPR Korea; and it will do all this with an attention to results-based management and achieving value for money. This is why the overall, uniting theme of this Strategic Framework is "sustainable and resilient human development".