CANCELLED! 25 Years of International Assistance to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK/North Korea): Assessing the Humanitarian ‘Arena’
Since the mid-1990s international aid actors – ranging from United Nations agencies to private religious organisations – have been providing humanitarian aid and ‘light’ development assistance to North Korea. The complex nature of a largely functioning but repressive state, limited capacities to deal with a protracted humanitarian crisis and the regime’s constant weighing of risks versus benefits shape the space in which aid activities are implemented.
The decades-long interaction between the DPRK government and international aid organisations has mainly been examined from the angle of institutional constraints such as strict state control, domestic regulations, restrictions of access to vulnerable groups and limited availability of data as well as international sanctions. While these factors continue to impact on the aid organisations’ activities in North Korea, this presentation focuses on new actors, structures and policies that emerged as part of the operational space in the country. The presentation also includes an overview on status and trends concerning the (mostly) pre-2020 humanitarian situation in the DPRK.
Sabine Burghart, PhD, is University Lecturer and Academic Director of the Master’s Degree Programme in East Asian Studies at the University of Turku. Before joining the Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS) in Turku, she was lecturer and researcher at the Department of East Asian Studies of the University of Vienna. Between 2018 and 2021, she was also a Co-Researcher at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Her current research interests concern foreign aid and institutions and ownership in development partnerships. She spent more than five years of her professional career in Korea, and facilitated various capacity building projects and three EU-DPRK workshops in North Korea.