Copyright ⓒ 2021 Korea SDGs Network. All Right Reserved.

Title | Korean CSOs Report of SDGs Progress in Korea 2021: Economic and social recovery for inclusiveness and carbon Neutrality after Covid-19_English Summary

Published by Korea SDGs Network(Secretariat: The Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD))

Issued on July 2021

Publishing House | The Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD) (5F, #39, Worldcup-ro 26, Mapo-gu, Seoul, 03969, Republic of Korea / Tel. +82-2-706-6179  Fax. +82-2-3144-4709  Email. Website.

Publishing registration No. | 2018-000123

ISBN 979-11-975350-1-7 (95300) (PDF)

Edited by Denise K.H. Yoon, The Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

Written by (Alphabet order) Green Future, Green Environment Youth Korea(GEYK), Hansalim Cooperative Federation, Korea Environment-friendly Agriculture Association, Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation(KCOC), Korea Seeds Social Coop, The Center for Freedom of Information and Transparent Society, The Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD), SAPE Net 지원센터, 전국씨앗도서관사회적협동조합(Total 10 organizations)

Thanks to volunteers who translate: Denise K.H. YOON, Guri CHO, Jean HUR, Minju KIM, and Sohyun CHO

※ Full report is available only in Korean.

Korean CSOs Report of SDGs Progress in Korea 2021_Summary.pdf
2021 한국지속가능성 평가 시민사회 보고서.pdf


I. Introduction / 03

II. SDGs Progress in Korea
1. Zero hunger & Food security / 12
2. Sustainable management of drinking water quality / 29
3. Low carbon energy based circular economy / 32
4. Integrated and participatory governance & Supportive system for civil society engagement / 37
5. International Cooperation for Sustainable Development / 49

þ Introduction of Korea SDGs Network / 52
þ Member List of Korea SDGs Network / 53

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Attached is the concept note of the program:

If you have any concerns/inquiries, please contact <> or <>

★ ENEA Sub-regional Constituency Workshop in the People's Forum_Nov 27(Fri)

Webex Meeting Link for the ENEA Orientation Workshop

Meeting ID: 158 423 8253

Password: jjXrUjPB832 

For inquiries, please contact to: Denise YOON, Focal Point of the ENEA sub-regional constituency / Korea SDGs Network


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Korean Civil Society Contribution Report for 2020 HLPFis written to respond to the High-level Political Forum(HLPF), July 7~16, 2020 in New York, USA.

This report includes the review of the progress of SDGs implementation in Korea for the past 4 years in line with 6 themes of 2020 HLPF: Human wellbeing and ending poverty, Ending hunger and food security, Relaunching growth and sharing economic benefits and addressing developing countries’ financing challenges, Access to sustainable energy, Protecting the planet and building resilience, and Bolstering local action. In addition, it recommends policies based on the reviews and introduces field actions by civil society groups for SDGs implementation.

The report was co-written by 29 member organizations of Korea SDGs Network and the Korea Federation of Trade Union(KFTU) and the Good Neighbors.


This is the 4th edition that Korea SDGs Network has published since 2017. Like the previous years, the process was going on for more than 3 months: having a preparatory meeting at the end of February, writing a draft per thematic areas in March and April, circulating draft for comments by online in May, and finalizing the draft in June. For this year, 10 member organizations and 2 non-member organizations joined a drafting team.

This report covers 41 targets of 14 goals in the 5 thematic areas of 2020 HLPF except for access to sustainable energy.


41 targets are reviewed comprehensively under 15 issues and policy recommendations are suggested. Furthermore, it includes how Korean civil society sees a political, economic, social, and environmental situation in the COVID 19 pandemic. Particularly, it delivers its social concerns through the voice of the persons with disability who faces social exclusion and their survival.


Korean Civil Society Contribution Report for 2020 HLPF.pdf

Also, you can find the report at the menu of E-library in the UNESCAP's SDGs HelpDesk: 



◈ Executive Summary

◈ SDGs implementation in Post-COVID 19

◈ 2015-2019 SDGs Progress and Actions for 2030 

1. Human wellbeing and ending poverty(SDG 1, 3, 4, 6, 16, 17) 

      1. Enlargement of universal medical services through resident’s participation_SDG3.4/3.8 

      2. Global Citizenship Education Practice Plan through Community Resource Linkage_SDG 4.7 

      3. Water Management for Safe Drink_SDG 6.3

      4. Reinforce Child Abuse Response and Prevention Systems_SDG 16.2 

      5. The inclusive and participatory governance for SDGs_SDG 5.5/6.b/11.3/16.7/16.10/17.17 

      6. Persons with Disabilities: From Exclusion to Inclusion to the Community_SDG 1.3/4.5/4.a/11.1/11.2/11.5/11.7/16.1/16.b 

2. Ending hunger and food security(SDG 2, 3, 17) 

      1. Environmental friendly Food Production and Small Food Producers_SDG 2.3/2.4 

3. Relaunching growth and sharing economic benefits and addressing developing countries' financing challenges(SDG 5, 7, 8, 10, 17)

      1. Creation of Decent Jobs and Safe Working Environments for All_SDG8.5/8.8/10.4 

      2. Persons with Disabilities: From Exclusion to Inclusion to the Community_SDG 8.5 

      3. Enhancing the Global Partnership through Fair Trade_SDG17.11/17.12/17.16/17.17 

      4. ODA and Partnership_SDG 17.2/17.6/17.17 

4. Protecting the planet and building resilience(SDG 12, 13, 14, 15, 17) 

      1. Management of Chemicals and Hazardous waste_SDG 12.4 

      2. Response to Climate Change in the Education Field_SDG 13.2/13.3 

      3. Ocean Protection and wastes management_SDG 14.1/14.5 

5. Bolstering local action(SDG 9, 11, 17) 

      1. Improvement of System to Prevent reckless Development of Factories_SDG 1.5/3.9/11.3/11.6/11.a/12.4 

◈ Appendix 1 | List of Draft Writers/Organizations 

◈ Appendix 2 | Member list of Korea SDGs Network 


◈ Appendix 3 | Statement on COIVID-19 


Korean Civil Society Contribution Report for 2020 HLPF | 2015-2019 SDGs progress and actions for 2030

Copyright 2020 Korea SDGs Network. All Right Reserved.

Author | Korea SDGs Network(Secretariat: The Korea Center for Sustainable Development)

Tel. 02-706-6179   Fax. 02-3144-4709   Email.   Website. 

Date of Issue | 5 June 2020

Publisher | The Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

5F, #39, Worldcup-ro 26, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Tel. 02-706-6179   / Fax. 02-3144-4709  / Email.   /  Website. 

Registration No. | 2018-000123

ISBN 978-89-960370-9-5(PDF)

Editor | Denise K.H. YOON, The Korea Center for Sustainable Development

Draft Team | Total 12 NGOs: Citizen's Movement for Environmental Justice(CMEJ), Global Citizen Leadership Academy, Good Neighbors, Green Environment Youth Korea(GEYK), Green Future, Korea Disability Forum(KDF), Korea Fair Trade Organization, Korea Federation for Environmental Movements(FoE Korea), Korea Health Welfare Social Cooperative Federation, Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC), The Federation of Korea Trade Union(FKTU), The Korea Center for Sustainable Development


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Korean Civil Society Contribution Report for 2019 HLPF 

- Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality

Korean Civil Society Contribution Report for 2019 HLPF_updated.p

CIATE Korea_2019 HLPF Issue Report_on SDG 4.7_English_FINAL.pdf

2019 ⓒ Korea SDGs Network

Published by Korea SDGs Network

Published in June 10, 2019

In Partnership with the Federation of Korea Trade Union(FKTU), the Korean Government Employees’ Union Policy Research Institute(KGEUPRI), Fiscal Reform Institute, The Center for Freedom of Information and Transparent Society(CFIT)

Secretariat | The Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

Tel. 02-706-6179 / Email. 



◈ Summary / i

1. Introduction / 01

2. Reduce unequal structure: Reforming legal system of Sustainable Development and Institutionalizing Deliberative Public Engagement mechanism / 03

3. SDG 4 | Indiscriminated Public Education, Strengthening Political Learning in Formal and Informal Education / 05

4. SDG 8 | Inequality in Job Opportunity and Labor Rights / 12

5. SDG 10 | The Disabled in Inequality Politically, Economically and Socially / 21

6. SDG 13 | Climate Action through Green Energy and Transportation, and Education for Future Generation / 26

7. SDG 16 | End Violence against the Disabled and Children, and Establish Participatory Governance / 34

8. SDG 17 | Strengthen Global Partnership through Increasing ODA and Fair Trade / 49

◈ Appendix 1 | List of Draft Writers / 59

◈ Appendix 2 | Member List of Korea SDGs Network / 60

◈ Attachment | Report on target 4.7 by CIATE Korea

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Secretariat | the Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

5F, #39, Worldcup-ro 26, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Tel. 02-706-6179 Email.



* Subway : Exit no. 1, Mangwon Station, Line 6 (10min. walk distance from the subway station)

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서울 마포구 성산동 249-10 시민공간나루 5층 | 한국지속가능발전센터
도움말 Daum 지도
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Members of Korea SDGs Network

※ As of December, 2019, 31 CSOs and national coalitions and 3 individuals

  • Women(3) Kyunggi Women's Associations United, Korea Women's Associations United(KWAU), Korea Women's Hot Line

  • Persons with disabilities(5) Open Network, Korea Differently Abled Federation(KDAF), Korea Disabled Forum(KDF), Disability Discrimination Acts Solidarity in Korea, 한국신장장애인협회

  • Economy(2)   Korea Fair Trade Organization, Korea Social Economy Network(KSEN)

  • Education(3)   CIATE KOREA, Global Citizen Leadership Academy, Joongrang Cultural Institute

  • Housing/Urban Issues(1)   Korea Center for City and Environment Research(KOCER)

  • Health Care(1)   Korea Health Welfare Social Cooperative Federation(KHWSCF)

  • Peace(1)   PEACEMOMO  

  • Governance(1)   The Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)  

  • Environment(9)   Green Environment Youth Korea(GEYK), Green Future, Green Energy Strategy Institute, Green Korea United(GKU), Korean Women's Environmental Network(KWEN), Ulsan's Network for River and Watershed, Korea Federation for Environmental Movements(FoE Korea), Citizen's Movement for Environmental Justice(CMEJ), Korea LOHAS Association

  • International cooperation(2)   Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC), Korea Civil Society Forum on International Development Cooperation (KoFID)

  • Individuals (3) 

Those in bold are the nationwide NGO networks

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The introduction of Korean SDGs Network

To respond to ‘2016 Voluntary National Review (VNR),’ 9 civil society organizations formed SDGs civil network on June 14, 2016, and the number of participating organizations was expanded. The founding assembly was held on April 6, 2017 with 21 civil society organizations and nationwide networks in various areas including economysocietyenvironmentgovernanceinternational development cooperation.


A. Name : Korea SDGs Network

B. Purposes of activities

1) Strengthening the responsibility of the government to achieve domestic and international SDGs and implementing them

2) Capacity building of civil society in the context of SDGs policies

3) Information exchange and cooperation related to SDGs among participants

C. Basic principles

1) Sustaining critical thinking to embody the original purpose of SDGs

2) The activity-driven network operation

D. Major activities

1) Discussions at the National Assembly and the government

2) Drawing up and submission of Korea Civil Society Report on SDGs to UN

3) Position documents/statements on SDGs announced by Korea civil society

4) SDGs seminars/workshops

5) Cooperation with UN and other SDG-related international organizations

E. Major activities

1) ‘Korea Civil Society Report for 2017 HLPF’ submitted to UN: April, 2017 (

2) Capacity-building seminars by SDGs civil network: November, 2016~June, 2018 (6 times)

3) Policy actions

The position statement of civil society for 2016 Voluntary National Review (July 1, 2016)

A speech made by the delegation of Korean Civil Society at 2016 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) (July, 2016)

The side event held by the delegation of Korean Civil Society at 2017 UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) (July, 2017)

The meetings between SDGs civil network and the government/national assembly (from September of 2016 until now)

Establishing the 2018 national SDGs and MGoS participatory system (May~June 2018)

F. Operation

General Assembly: annually held in the first half year

The operating committee: appointed at the general assembly, two-year term, less than 10 members and co-chairs(co-chairs are elected among members)

Audit : appointed at the general assembly, two-year term, an auditor

The secretariat : appointed at the general assembly, an organization among SDGs network members

     ※ 2017-2018 Steering Committee Members and Secretariat

  • Co-chairs(2): Ms. Choony KIM, the Deputy Secretary-General of Korea Federation for Environmental Movements(FoE Korea), Ms. Eunsoon CHOI, President of Korean Women’s Association United(KWAU)

  • Members(5): Mr. Moonhee LEE, Deputy executive director of Korean Differently Abled Federation(KDAF), Ms. Rina LEE, Director General of Korea Disabled Forum(KDF), Mr. Wonho LEE, Director General of Housing Network, Mr. Kidon YOON, Campaigner of Green Korea United(GKU), Ms. Denise K.H. YOON, Executive Directorl of the Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

  • Auditor (1): Mr. Jaekwang HAN, President of PIDA

  • Secretariat: the Korean Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

    ※ 2019-2020 Steering Committee Members and Secretariat
  • ∙ Chair(1): Ms. Choony KIM, the Deputy Secretary-General of Korea Federation for Environmental Movements(FoE Korea)

  • ∙ Members(6): Mr. Moonhee LEE, Deputy executive director of Korean Differently Abled Federation(KDAF), Ms. Rina LEE, Director General of Korea Disabled Forum(KDF), Mr. Wonho LEE, Director General of Housing Network, Mr. Gyuseok CHUNG, Campaigner of Green Korea United(GKU), Ms. Insuk AHN, Chair of the Executive Committe of Korea Social Economy Network(KSEN), Ms. Denise K.H. YOON, Executive Directorl of the Korea Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

  • ∙ Auditor (1): Mr. Jaekwang HAN, President of PIDA

  • ∙ Secretariat: the Korean Center for Sustainable Development(KCSD)

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Korea Civil Society Report for 2018 HLPF_EN_20180618.pdf

Korea Civil Society Report for 2018 HLPF |

Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies



(Korean version is separately bound.)


Korea SDGs Network 2018


Publisher | Korea SDGs Network

Day of Issue | 18 June 2018

Co-Presidents | Choony KIM, Eunsoon CHOI

Editor | Denise K.H. YOON

Authors | See ‘appendix 1’

Translators | See ‘appendix 1’

Cover design | Yujin NAM

Print | Sudosa Co. Ltd.

This report is supported by the Beautiful Foundation


1. Summary | i

2. Introduction | 01

3. The Progress and Major Issues of Thematic Goals for 2018 HLPF

1) SDG 6 | 03

2) SDG 7 | 08

3) SDG 11 | 12

4) SDG 12 | 21

5) SDG 15 | 31

6) SDG 17 | 36

4. Cross-sector Review: Human Rights and Gender Equality

1) Gender equality | 45

2) Persons with disabilities | 49

3) Youth’s perspective on SDG 11 | 54

5. Position on the Development of Korea SDGs and its Multi-stakeholder Engagement System in 2018 | 65

6. Conclusion and Recommendation | 68


Appendix 1 | List of authors of the draft and translators | 76

Appendix 2 | List of Organizations who sign on <Korean Civil Society Report for 2018 HLPF> | 77

Appendix 3 | The introduction of the Korean SDGs Network | 78




The report is the second one summarizing major issues and activities, and recommendations of the Korean civil society in terms of SDG 6, SDG 7, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 15, and SDG 17-the themes for the overhaul at 2018 UN High-Level Political Forum. The first report, ‘Korea Civil Society Report for 2017 HLPF’ was submitted to UN in April, 2017

The purposes of the report are 1) to record political, social, economic and environmental issues in Korea associated with UN SDGs for comprehensive understanding, 2 ) to build a learning process for capacity building, 3) to carry out the policy campaign to build a participatory, inclusive and integrated implementation system of SDGs in Korea.

The Korea SDGs Network formed a team to prepare the 1st draft on Mar, 13 in 2018. The draft was made public through the homepage of the Korea SDGs network and using the mailing list in order to collect comments and opinions from the network members and public from May 8 to June 1.

The report sums up main issues and recommendations for the goals of 2018 HLPF. The report aims to comprehensively overhaul the goals encompassing gender equality and human rights, the linchpin for UN SDGs implementation in 2018. However, it was impossible to measure how much progress has been made due to the lack of disaggregated statistics related to gender equality, people with disabilities and the youth. Korean civil society strongly urges the government to generate disaggregated statistics as a premise to SDG implementation with no one left behind.

Concerning SDG 6, major issues in Korea are as follows: 1) overdevelopment of dams, 2) water pollution and destruction of freshwater ecosystem due to the fact that more than 70% of rivers are enclosed by banks, obstructing flow of water, 3) bureaucratic water management policies excluding local residents. Thus, the existing water management policies need to be transformed into the policy driven by demand and water quality. In addition, the existing policy excluding sub basins should be modified because most water pollution taking place within watersheds originates from sub basins. Thus, management by sub basin is necessary with community participation building and unified water management.

With regard to SDG 7, main issues in Korea are: 1) energy demand and its effective management, and 2) transformation into the renewable-energy driven policy. As of 2013, the energy intensity of Korea is 0.25toe/$1,000, which is much higher than 0.14toe/$1,000 of the OECD average. The current energy pricing system needs to reform because of its irrationality that the rate of electricity, the 2nd energy source is set lower than that of the 1st energy source. Adequate pricing by energy source based on social consensus is required taking into account external costs such as the environmental tax or the carbon tax. On the other hand, the plan to increase power generation by renewable energy up to 20% is encouraging, given the circumstance that the proportion of renewable sources in the energy grid of Korea is only 2.2% as of 2015.

Regarding SDG 11, the limitations have been pointed out as in the following: 1) high cost of housing and lack of measures to deal with informal residential areas including ’gosiwon,’ infringement of human rights in the facilities accommodating persons with disabilities and social exclusion, 2) lack of universal public transport including mobility of people with disabilities, 3) the superficial participatory city-planning process, 4) the policy of safe city for women only focusing on the physical expansion of facilities.

In the case of housing, to secure a stable tenure of tenants and reduce their burden of housing costs, there is the need for regulating the rental period agreement and rent fee increase. The government should arrange generation of the statistics about informal housing such as ‘gosiwon’ or vinyl greenhouses and should take proper response measures. Also, it is required to stop the housing policy against human rights, supporting separate facilities accommodating persons with disabilities because the separation makes them excluded from the society. Strengthening welfare service is required to help persons with disabilities being integrated into the society.

In relation to mobility of people with disabilities, the number of low-floor buses should be expanded and people with disabilities need to be involved with the process of transport infrastructure building.

With respect to SDG 12, resource-circulating economy and social economic aspects have been overhauled. 1) To achieve resource-circulating economy, a comprehensive plan for resource circulation beyond waste management is require because of the absence of a plan for resource circulation encompassing the entire stages of consumption and production from the economic perspective. The incentives need to be introduced for the active participation of businesses, the main actor in the resource-circulating economy. 2) From the perspective of social economy, despite that all the seventeen SDG goals are associated with social economic aspects, the study on parties of social economy, government, civil society as well as the effort to raise awareness are recommended because there have been insufficient analyses and studies in the policy context.

Regarding SDG 15, major issues in Korea are as below: 1) designation of reserved areas and their expansion, and protection of habitats for threatened species with local resident participation, 2) the forest destroyed at Mt. Gariwang due to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and its restoration, 3) restoring the forest in North Korea. A good case is the designation of Hwapo wetland in Bonghwa, Gyungnam Province, a habitat of an endangered species, a White Oriental Stork in 2017, which is the outcome of constant communication among the government, environmental organizations and local residents. To the contrary, a bad case is also introduced, which involves destruction of half of the reserve to build the Alpine ski slope for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics although it was the protected area for forest genetic resources. The policy applied to protected areas is reproached in that it is susceptible to economic development. In the meantime, resuming the restoration project of the destroyed forest is proposed as part of inter-Korean exchange.

In relation to SDG 17, it is criticized with the following reasons: 1) lack of comprehensive and transparent information of international development, 2) the percentage of ODA/GNI lower than that recommended by UN and of the OECD average, 3) the high proportion of credit assistance and low proportion of grant aid, urging the faithful implementation of SDGs and Busan Partnership.

For actual citizen participation in city planning, the participatory planning process should be institutionalized, and appropriate financial and human resources need to be allocated to facilitate information supply and deliberation processes. Building disaggregated statistics is required in the areas of migration, refugees, gender minority, people with disabilities and North Korean female defectors in order to establish the policy for a safe city for the vulnerable including the female-friendly city.

The MGoS engagement system like UN MGoS system in the process of Korea SDGs development in 2018 is introduced by Korea government as an additional participatory channel for multi-stakeholders. It is welcoming that the government introduced an innovative participatory platform embracing the proposal by civil society. However, it is concerning that the actual participation of major groups is not easy and that adequate information is not provided at proper time, which may eventually lead to collecting opinions with no substance, given that 9 months are too short period to establish ‘the national SDGs.’ It is meaningful to introduce an innovative participatory system, but the system should enable the national SDGs to be continuously rectified and supplemented on the basis of MGoS system.

To boil down, the political regime change in 2017 served as an opportunity to transform the polices related to water, energy and resource circulation from the perspective of quantitative growth and management to the perspective of qualitative growth and management. However, the policies related to human rights protection including housing rights, universal mobility and safety for the vulnerable are still problematic. The policy for protected areas is unsettling because of its susceptibility to development and conflicting local interests.

Recently, MGoS that introduced by the government in the process of establishing ‘the national SDGs’ is operated against its original purpose because of the government’s tendency to focus on project outcomes rather than a political consensus.

The core principle of SDGs implementation, ‘no one left behind’ means the process of political consensus among various actors, which is consistent with the national agenda of the current government stressing citizen participation. Besides, the fundamental principles of SDGs such as ‘the precautionary principle,’ ‘the principle of common but differentiated responsibility,’ and ‘the principle of integrated decision-making,’ which are universal principles agreed by 193 nations in the world to achieve sustainable development, should be reflected in the future policy-making process.

For policies to be sustained regardless of regime change, universal principles for sustainable development should be reflected in each individual policy making. To this end, the open, transparent, formal and systematic participation process in which various actors can take part must be built from policy making to evaluation. For the voluntary and active participation, information provision and promotion should be carried out in advance. In other words, the administration-driven governance should be transformed into the participatory governance.

It is not too much to say that the sustainable development in Korea depends on the success of ‘MGoS engagement system’ pursued by the government this year. Civil society hopes that the government effort in the process of establishing ‘the national SDGs’ is meaningful, and we can give a positive evaluation about the outcome in ‘the 2019 civil society report.’


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 Position Paper on Final Draft of VNR of Korea.pdf

Korean Civil Society Network for SDGs

Position Paper on the final draft of Voluntary National Review of Korea for HLPF

July 1 2016



This position paper is to officially deliver comments on the final draft of 'Voluntary National Review(herein VNR)' prepared by Korean government for High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development(herein HLPF) to be held on 11-22 July 2016, and to offer suggestions on 'national implementation of the SDGs and reporting system' to the government.

This paper was created through a review meeting, after receiving English draft of report from the government on the evening of 24th June 2016, and around of opinion gathering through email and SNS.

Korean Civil Society Network for SDGs(herein KCSN) is composed of local and national CSOs encompassing women, people with disabilities, economy, society, environment and governance, and officially launched on June 14 to work together on addressing Korean VNR's content and procedural problem as well as following-up a participation system for SDGs implementation by Korean government after HLPF. A meeting of CSO activists held on March 10 2016 for domestic and foreign tendency of SDGs information interchange was the starting point of the KCSN.

This document consists of two parts: 1) A general comments on VNR, 2) Suggestions and calls for the establishment of participatory implementation system of SDGs. Attached separately is opinion on details of VNR.


General Comments on VNR

SDGs adopted by UN on 25 September 2015 is an objective that each government would agree and implement while recognizing the importance of responding to economic, social and environmental challenges each government and global society are facing.

Ahead of HLPF to be held this July to discuss construction of international implementation system of the SDGs, our government has diligently prepared VNR as a chairman country of HLPF. Unfortunately, however, it seems that the government's preparation of VNR is very insufficient. Above all, based on the draft report up to now, we doubt whether the government is aiming to implement the SDGs and whether they have the will to implement as a matter of content and form.

The report has nothing to do with SDGs overall, or is invalid, or is cobbled together from the government policy retreated. That is 'The 3rd Master Plan for National Sustainable Development', 'The Three Year Plan for Economic Innovation', 'national political agenda', 'The Second Five Year Plan for Green Growth', and 'The Second Master Plan for International Development Cooperation'.

These plans do have partial relationship with SDGs, but they are not for national implementation of SDGs. The true content is far from implementation of SDGs. For example, according to the VNR, the 3rd Master Plan for National Sustainable Development (2016-2020) was developed after considering the success and limitation of the 2nd Master Plan for National Sustainable Development and seeks to resolve issues such as climate change, biodiversity, social polarization, and low economic growth. The review links its actions to SDGs implementation plan and policies; however, the stated issues are still not resolved or even exacerbated. Furthermore, the national task or economic innovation in practice was reduced from the initial promise of the current government, and many of these are not properly implemented or ineffective.

On the other hand, the UN guideline requires the VNR to contain present implementation status, problems, pending issues, and follow-up measures. But the review draft does not state the economic, social, environmental, and governance problems that South Korea faces, and consequently lacks relating policies and follow-up implementation plan. In addition, despite the importance of domestic implementation, it concentrates on global co-operation and development rather than domestic implementation plan.

Currently Korean society is faced with structural crisis and pending issues that betray our expectation for sustainable society. Korea has revealed many problems such as civil safety issue (Sewol ferry tragedy, humidifier sterilizer, defoliant contaminated army base, anthrax testing, MERS illness, safety in work environment), failing industrial structure innovation and economic recession, peaking youth unemployment rate/elderly poverty ratio/household debt, skyrocketing monthly housing rent, deficiency in provision of rental housing, taxation policy that simply focuses on increasing taxation but far from fair taxation, mass production of temporary employee and discriminatory treatment, economic industrial policies favouring large companies, government’s block and control of access to information, governmental institution’s collection and surveillance of personal information, restriction of people’s basic human rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association, doubts about justice of jurisdiction, threat to peace and ideological conflict due to confrontation between South and North Korea, energy (extension of coal-fired electrical power plant plan), fine dust, cancellation of Greenbelt, etc. This indicates that past and present government has serious limitations and problems. Therefore, VNR should disclose the causes of these problems and present effective solutions and implementation plans.

More specifically, the 3rd Master Plan for National Sustainable Development’s contents is less inclusive than past two master plans. The past National Master Plans were established by the Presidential Commission on Sustainable Development(PCSD) as a control tower based on the active participation of multi-stakeholders including civil society groups. However, after the enactment of the Framework Act on Low Carbon and Green Growth Law in 2010, PCSD fell under the Ministry of Environment as an advisory committee, the Committee on Sustainable Development, diminishing its authority and function. Additionally, the participation of major groups and stakeholders in decision-making process of national sustainable development has become very limited. Therefore, there are fundamental problems in the 3rd master plan in terms of integrative issues, inclusive implementation system, and practical means of implementation. In other words, it is described as more concentrated in range and content that the Ministry of Environment can accept rather than as a plan that prepares overall nation’s sustainable development. This also means that the 3rd Master Plan for National Sustainable Development’s relationship to SDGs’ goal is very unnatural and unreasonable.

In the contents of ‘3-year plan for economic innovation’, although this year is the last year of the plan, we have lack of implementation in three strategies: fair and efficient economy, growth through innovation, and balance between exports and domestic consumption. Expected outcome has been off the social and economic status. Even though the plan selected stabilizations of household debt, housing market, and lease market, we can find debt and average price of housing market went up. In spite of this, VNR ambiguously mentioned as if ‘3-year plan for economic innovation’ gives a positive effects on welfare and income for youth, women, and elderly. In reality, however, Korean society broke the record on youth unemployment rate in 2015, has not reduced income gap between women and men, and has deepened inequality to non-regular workers. It should not indicate hopeful expected outcomes but our challenges, and should have suggested a direction for a solution. Since ‘3-year plan for economic innovation’ ends in this year, we need to start a discourse for the next sustainable economic policy. For that, we need to re-interpret SDGs in the context of Korean society as a priority. To set an initiative for sustainable economic growth, government should include two contents in the VNR: 1) what process the government has had to share opinions on policies with labor groups, enterprises, CSOs, and scholars until now and 2) how governments effectively have developed sharing system for the implementation of SDGs during 2015.

In the contents of international development and cooperation, governments proposed ‘Better life for girls initiative’ and ‘Safe life for all initiative’ as a major plan for implementation of SDGs. However, Korean government does not clearly indicate the linkage between initiatives and SDGs (including targets), and prepare detailed and proper policies as well. And government should delete the description about Saemaul Undong in which only positive side is narrated saying that it is the ROK’s unique rural development case in the 1970s. In the paragraph describing influences on farming villages, this report does not embody the controversy and a counterargument on Saemaul undong such as outflow of rural population and balancing income gap between urban and rural areas. It is not appropriate to apply a country’s past development experience to today’s developing countries without considering political and social context. Especially, it cannot be suitable to initiate developing country into a developing policy designed by a dictatorship without evaluation from a variety of aspects. When we take these issues into account, it is difficult to have support and agreement from international society on the contents of Samaul Undong as a main initiative for SDGs implementation

Gender equality’ is specified in SDGs as 5th goal out of 17 goals by raising serious and urgent issues such as economic power and capacity empowerment of women, violence against women and reproductive rights. Targets of other SDGs (1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, and 17) reflect gender issue by specifying that it belongs to not only gender issue but also cross-cutting issues and emphasizing the importance of statistics on gender segregation. However, VNR does not explain how the goals, outcomes and challenges are connected with gender equality even if the report describes a master plans which have a variety of policies current governments are carrying now. Furthermore, in some part it has factual errors in a description of detailed policies. And it does not have any policies for improvement of female human right and current situation such as violence against women and femicide. The report also remains silent on the issue of Gender Gap shown by the ratio of women in the population living in poverty, gap in the working hours of domestic work, major proportion of women in elderly poverty, wage gap which is ranking top among OECD countries for many consecutive years. Special recognition on these issues and plans for improvement at the policy level as well as proper gender statistics are lacking. The vision of SDGs to adopt gender perspectives as a cross-cutting issue is not being properly reflected. It is required to evaluate existing policies for the implementation of the 10 gender-related goals and targets and to complete remaining tasks in the Korean context.

According to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and the reporting guideline for Voluntary National Review, the government shall keep the entire process of implementing open, inclusive, participatory and transparent and support reporting by all relevant stakeholders. However, the Korean government’s approach to a limited range of CSOs casts this principle into the shade. There were no opportunities of participation for workers who are struggling with the flexibility of labour, farmers groaning with the failure of agricultural policies, the youth as future generations, women’s group working to mainstream gender issues. The report mentions CSOs’ inputs in the process of review and its efforts to promote ownership of multi-stakeholders such as parliament, local governments, private sector, and civil society. Nevertheless, these efforts were either made in a very narrow sense or exaggerated from activities independently conducted by various actors. Even with the limited range of participation, the information was not sufficiently shared in a timely manner. This all led to producing a report that is far from the reality. 



The civil society is deeply concerned of the initial state of the government’s plan for the implementation of the SDGs after reviewing the VNR report. The government’s policy itself cannot be directly deemed as the plan for SDGs implementation without a will to go through internal transformation. The implementation of SDGs should be major national tasks, not just empty rhetoric. The Korean government should show its will to substantially implement the SDGs through consultations with the civil society before it is late any longer.

With this point of view, we demand the government to comply with core principles of SDGs as follows:

1. ‘Leave no one behind’: ensure broad, inclusive, predictable and official participation

The theme of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) adopted at the UN General Assembly in September 2015 is ‘Leave no one behind’ which represents the core principle of SDGs that is based on universal participation and equity. Various mechanisms should be established to ensure participation of all, from the local level to national level with major groups and other stake-holders, especially vulnerable groups and the minority groups. In order to make this possible, an independent accountability mechanism should be introduced at the local and central governmental level. That is, we need a system that can impose the government responsibilities for regular mandatory evaluation and collect reports of the local authorities. Most of all, all stake-holders should be able to participate in the entire process of planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating when the central and local governments set up the strategies for SDGs implementation. Especially, regular consultations with marginalized groups are essential. The evaluation must take place at the highest political level.

2. Transparent innovative and accountable monitoring and review

Monitoring and reporting are critical elements for enhancing accountability of the government. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) clearly states that the actors should review the progress based on data which is high-quality, accessible, timely, reliable and disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnicity, migration status, disability and geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts(para. 74). To this end, a transparent and participatory reporting system should be put in place and be recognized as a duty of the government and a right of citizens. We need to develop an adequate ambitious set of indicators that can address agenda from local level to national level without leaving a single issue behind.

The monitoring and reporting process should not only focus on the implementation of SDGs itself. Key principles of SDGs, such as redistribution of wealth, intergenerational fairness, and respect of the global environment should also be the part of evaluation as well as contribution for international implementation of SDGs.

Civic data produced by the civil society or other stakeholders should be reflected in the national report. This can lead to taking further steps by narrowing the gap between data and the reality and broadening the scope of data collection. Above all, shadow reports of the multi-stakeholders should be recognized as a legitimate part of the process of reviewing SDGs. Without this, the participation of multi-stakeholders is likely to be seen as a mere formality.


Call for Participatory Process for SDGs Implementation in a Formal, Predictable and beforehand manner

Based on the principle 'leave no one behind', KCSN calls for the followings to the government in order for major groups and other stakeholders to actively participate in building implementing infrastructure; level of government's implementation will be a barometer reflecting their will to implement the SDGs.

1. Hold a public meeting within one month after the HLPF meeting in July to share results of HLPF and further implementation plans for major groups and stakeholders including civil society, particularly, individual meetings for vulnerable groups of the society including women, people with disabilities, and youth.

2. Hold a formal dialogue with major groups and stakeholders, in particular, individual dialogue with women, people with disabilities, and youth, to discuss national indicators of SDGs in developing process of national indicators that will be completed until the late of October this year.


Korean Civil Society Network for SDGs:

Citizen's Coalition for Economic Justice, Korea Civil Society Forum on International Development, Green Future, Korean women's Environmental Network, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Korean Disability Forum, Korea Institute Center for Sustainable Development, Korean Federation for Environmental Movements

Posted by Korea SDGs Network

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