The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the World Food Programme (WFP), held the fourth Republic of Korea-World Food Programme policy consultation in Rome on October 26. The ROK and WFP head delegates to the meeting were Director-General for Development Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry Oh Hyun-joo and Director of the Government Partnerships Division Chris Kaye, respectively.
The policy consultation focused on the ROK-WFP cooperation projects, such as emergency relief operations, humanitarian assistance, development projects; how the ROK’s surplus rice was being used for food assistance to developing countries; the WFP’s humanitarian assistance to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; and ways for ROK nationals to expand their presence in the WFP. Amid the deepening global humanitarian crisis, the two sides agreed to further step up strategic cooperation in a way that took into account the expertise of the WFP and matters of mutual concern.
Director-General Oh, in particular, noted with appreciation that the ROK and the WFP were faithfully carrying out their cooperation projects, including by providing increased food assistance to refugees through the WFP, which had expertise in the field of humanitarian assistance. She went on to suggest that the ROK and the WFP work more closely together during the former’s service on the WFP Executive Board, starting from early 2019.
Director Kaye, bringing attention to the fact that the year 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the ROK-WFP “Basic Agreement concerning Assistance from the World Food Programme,” extended appreciation to the food aid recipient-turned-major donor (No. 12 donor in June 2018) ROK for actively providing assistance for vulnerable people across the world through the WFP. The Director, calling the ROK a model country that achieved “Zero Hunger,” stressed that the country was a sending a message of hope to the entire world.
Prior to the policy consultation, the ROK delegation visited on October 23 and 24 a refugee settlement camp in Saveh near Tehran, the Islamic Republic of Iran, where the ROK government was contributing through the WFP to “the project designed to improve food security and livelihood of Afghan refugees in Iran.” During the visit, the delegation met with officials of the immigration office of the Iranian Ministry of Interior and those of the refugee settlement camp.
° Director-General Oh reviewed the progress in educational and livelihood support projects for Afghan refugees on the Shaid Nasseri refugee camp. She also met with the head of the Iranian immigration office, during which the two sides discussed the outcome of the projects conducted with the support of the ROK and agreed to bolster ROK-Iran-WFP cooperation in a way that would help those on the refugee camp become self-reliant.
- The ROK delegation’s visit to the largest Afghan refugee settlement camp in Iran carried significance as an opportunity to demonstrate the ROK’s commitment to contribute to and attention to the global refugee issue, as well as the fact that by helping Afghan refugees, the ROK and Iran had sought out a new, specific area of cooperation.