“The Republic of Korea shows that a country can emerge from conflict and poverty through hard work, good strategies, and smart policies,” UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said today in the capital, Seoul, at the start of a three-country Asia trip. “I am thrilled to be here at this transitional moment for UNDP's partnership with Korea.”

The agreement signed with the Government will establish the Policy Centre on Global Development Partnerships in Seoul, which will promote global learning, networking and dialogue to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development.

It will also set up a Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Trust Fund, managed by UNDP, to support activities in developing countries aimed at achieving the globally agreed targets to slash poverty, hunger and other social ills, all by 2015.

UNDP's partnership with the Republic of Korea dates back to 1965. It has evolved from strengthening agricultural productivity and providing basic health care and primary education in the 1960s-70s, to promoting environmental protection, gender equality and social security systems in the 1990s.

While in Seoul, Miss Clark met today with President Lee Myung-bak, the Vice Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Kim Jung-hyun, and the Chair of the Presidential Commission on Green Growth, Kim Hyung-kook.

Aside from discussions on the changing nature of the partnership between the country and UNDP, their meetings focused on the lead-up to next month's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and the MDG Summit planned for next year.#